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The new Sportiva Baruntse


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Since everyone from Parks Canada employees, to my wife, have publically accused me of a climbing boot fetish here is my firsthand report on the Baruntse. And a dbl post at that from the grear critic section.




Just found them available on line yesterday not at Zappos.com as expected but locally at http://www.whittakermountaineering.com/ in Ashford, WA. About a 75 mile one way drive for me. But I really wanted to know how they would fit. I called, open 7am to 8pm. They had a full size run in stock...along with full size runs of Nepal EVOs and Spantiks. No one in Seattle and may be even WA has a similar assortment of boot styles and sizes.


Chad at @ Whittaker mountaineering was kind enough to allow me play time with a range of sizes and compare a pair of Spantiks to the newest Baruntse. I was at the Summit Haus in Ashford a good hr or more fitting boots today.




Hey, also worth noting there is a BIG party at Whittaker's next weekend (9/12&13) with food, beer, free lectures, slide shows and a big gear sale...might be worth a trip:)

Heck, you could even try on some boots :)




OK the boot? First think of a super warm Nepal Evo.

Then let me pick apart Sportiva's comments.


...I emailed Sportiva about the overall size and they said: "The Spantik is going to be warmer and with a lower volume fit for a more technical boot.....The Spantik and the Baruntse overall have the same mass, so they are overall the same size..... They both have the same outsole, so they are equally "hikeable.... The Baruntse is going to be lighter than the Spantik."


As you can see in the pictures I seriously doubt actual volume of the Spantik is any greater than the Baruntse or that it is a warmer boot. I have the Spantik, been using it for 2 years with the Intuition liner. With the after market liner it may be warmer than the Baruntse but not a lot is my take on it. Normal liners in both boots and the Spantik may be a tiny bit warmer only because the Spantik has more insulation in the sole and less lace exposed to trap snow on top of the boot.




No question the lower volume fit of the Baruntse will make it a BIG hit with anyone looking for a more user friendly technical boot. The Baruntse is going to be the BOMB as a cold weather technical boot. Again..think way, way, warmer and a slightly bigger for the size Nepal EVO.


The out side volume of the Spantik and the Baruntse is the same but the Baruntse fits a bit smaller. Not the best pictures but trust me virtually same volume on both boots if not the Baruntse having the bigger volume toe box.




Good shot of the mid soles here. Yellow on the Spantik is a hard foam...warm and light. The gray/yellow mid sole on the Baruntse is hard rigid platic. Bit heavier but way more rigid.





I take a 46 in the Spantik and a 45 in the Baruntse....same sox combinations. I wear a 45 in all the other Sportiva mtn boots. The over all size of the boot is smaller because I can wear a 45 instead of a 46...a good thing on difficult terrain.


Some details? The Baruntse lacing system both on the inner boot and the outer boot is superb...better imo and easier to use than the Spantik. Single lace with a velcro closure on the inner boot. Super easy to adjust. Slick system and an improvement over the Spantik. Certainly the lace system is less prone to failure on the Baruntse. I went through three pairs of Spantiks with broken eyelets on inner and outer boot the first year. Old school laces on the Baruntse so you can crank on the outer boot and a simi- modern inner boot lace system still much easier to use and a much better fit for me (narrow heels) than the Spantik inner boot. Inners are marked 44.5/45 in the 45 shell and 45.5/46 in the 45.5 shell. I choose the tightest inner boot with the smallest shell...a 45..using two pairs of liner sox as I have been using in my Spantiks previous. I suspect by the inner boot markings that the shells are actually made in full sizes only....so beware when fitting. Full sizes only with the same inner boots. 44.5 and 45 get the same liner and a 45 shell, 45.5 and 46 get the same liner and a 46 shell. I'd guess 3/8" to 1/2" differenece in shells between the 45 (true 45) and 45.5 (really a 46). That also leads me to believe the full size shells only. Koflach did the same thing. Sucks as the inners pack out with use if your shell ends up being too big. I want heel hold down first and formost so I'll go to the smaller shell. Toe bump is less likely in a dbl if you fit the boot right and more easily fixed with a boot press if you are close like I am on my longer foot. (Sturdavants in Bellevue is THE boot fitting place)


Check out the inner boot marking ...mondo point sizing as well.




Gone is the extra foam insulation in the Spantik sole that collapses when fit with a really tight crampon binding. That is another good thing imo. A thicker mid sole as well in the Baruntse. Thicker than the rigid Nepal Evo. A good thing imo for a size 45 (12 USA) boot or bigger and that added leverage. Going to make the smaller boots very rigid in the sole and a little harder to walk in than the Spantik I suspect.


I had wished the Baruntse would have been slightly less volume and warmth than the Spantik. It isn't. You still have a really big pair of boots with the Baruntse but it will climb better than the bigger volume dbl boots. Still the Barunste looks to be warm enough to easily summit Denali in decent late spring weather without overboots if you are paying attention.


The Spantik has the flex of a ski mountaineering boot, like none side ways, and pretty stiff for and aft as well. Not the best boot for French technique in 'pons. The Baruntse is more like...again.. the Nepal Evo. Some side ways flex and progessive flex forwards and back. Easier to walk and more importantly to climb hard technically in or do a little French technioque on that long moderate ice to save your calfs.




As you can easily see in the above picture the "last" on the Barunste has a wider toe box. The narrower heel can be laced tighter at the ankle with ease to have great heel hold down. Nepal last compared to the Nupste last I suspect. I'd bet the Baruntse will fit more people easier than the Spantik. Useful gear loops on shells and inner boots of the Baruntse as well. Hate to drop chit when it could get painful :(


Check out the additional tongue material in the Baruntse...less shin bang in a softer flex and better padded inner boot than the Spantik. Sportiva learns from every previous boot model to our benefit.


I have been looking for a boot that was "warm" enough (Canada winter), could easily be dried out on over night trips, stiff enough for long sections of hard, moderate alpine ice, still climb technical stuff well with some ankle flex and offer a superb fit. There are some good boots out there that will do almost everything I am asking for. Just not one that would do everything. Hence the boot fetish. The oldest white Kolfach's did it all 30 years ago and weighted less than the the best of the current crop of dbl boots. It only lacked a bit of warmth. The Baruntse is getting close and may just be a tiny bit better than anything else currently available for my own needs. No question it is warmer than an early Kolflach and the weight is coming back down.


I suspect the Baruntse will also be the more durable of the three Sportiva's I mentioned.


Don't get me wrong. The Spantik still has a place....high and cold, with no over boot required. And obviously it climbs technical terrain very well. A quick look at what the Spantik has climbed should convince anyone of that. But just as obvious the Baruntse isn't just a "de-tuned" Spantik either.


Since someone is sure to ask..

The Batura is a even more technical boot (read flexible ankle and smaller physical volume) but a single boot and hard to dry out on multiple day outings and no where near the larger volume (read additional warmth) or support of the Baruntse. Think LWT single boot and super gaiter for the Batura and no where near as warm as the other two boots in the discussion. The Batura is pretty much a tie for warmth with the newest Nepal Evo....the edge for warmth going to the Batura, for the most ankle support (good or bad depending on conditions and type of climb) the winner is the Nepal Evo.





Big winner here? US!





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Wow. Nice post. Surprised no else has commented on this.


So would this be a good boot for winter cascades climbing? Such as Hood or possibly Rainier? I have the red Trango S Evo's right now for summer climbing and I'm looking to add something that's warmer for non-summer conditions and that would work well for multi-day trips. The Nepal's seem like they would be great for a lot of what I do but it seems like maybe the Baruntse + Trango combination might cover a wider range of conditions?


Thanks for any advice.

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Baruntse is a HUGE boot. Every bit the equal of the Spantik.


For the Cascades and over one night out in the Canadian Rockies I would still stick with the Batura or the more durable Nepal Evo. Which is how I still judge which boot to use unless it is just bear ass cold out. Like -25C or lower.


Multi day technical winter trips or for Denali it would be a great boot. It is not the boot I want to walk a long ways in.


Will Sims just did a great review as well of the Batura on the UK Climbing web site. It is worth looking at.


Glad you enjoyed the review!

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Thanks for the advice Dane. I ended up going with the Nepal Evo. It seems like the Nepal should be great for about 90% of what I want to do. For the rest I figure I can just borrow or rent plastics until I can get Spantiks or the Baruntse.


I went with the Nepal over the Batura mainly because I couldn't find a pair of Baturas in Portland to try on. Also, after reading Will Sims review it seemed like the Nepal might have a broader range of uses whereas the Batura is a bit more specialized.


Thanks again.

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Sportiva now includes info on how to heat fit the inner boots of the Baruntse. This is new as the Spantik is suppose to be heat formable but I've never seen the directions nor would Sportiva USA offer any advice on how to accomplish that.


I use to do a lot of boot fitting working in ski shops and had training to do it right. So how hard could it be? Hard enough. Following the directions exactly.....I ended up with an inner boot at least TWO sizes two small!!! And trashed a new pair of Sportiva inner soles. Mildly pissed.


Martin @ Sturdevants saved my inner boots and gave me a perfect fit. But I was a little annoyed and chagrin I couldn't do it at home even with the damn directions. YMMV


Hey Mike...little late but the Omega is a great plastic boot. Plastic is out of fashion but still has it's place. Warm and dry feet area always a good thing :)



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A short follow up on the Baruntse.


With some snow slogging, a bit of grade 3 water ice and a few harder things, best case scenario is I can say is I never noticed the boot. That says a lot.


Warm! Warmer than most will ever require and I think equally as warm as the Spantik but for me at least a much more technical boot, better fit, and much easier for me to tie with an easier to heat mold the inner boot. Comfy as well!

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Since you assumed someone would ask about the Batura, I thought I would comment on them since I own them. They are a fantastic boot. The ultimate for clmbing ice. I have taken them down to -20 and have been comfortable. Id say they are fine for long weekend trips. I dont think anyone would have issues with them anywhere in the cascades even Rainer - I took em up there last winter.

My complaint is that the damn ziper teeth fucking break off! I have four broken teeth so far and only a season and a half on them. The ziper on Scara's phantom lites are way better and the boots are very similar in technical ability. If you have a scarpa foot, go scarpa.

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....My complaint is that the damn ziper teeth fucking break off! I have four broken teeth so far and only a season and a half on them. The ziper on Scara's phantom lites are way better and the boots are very similar in technical ability. If you have a scarpa foot, go scarpa.


The Scarpas have an enviable reputation for durability on big alpine mixed routes.


Sportiva's reputation for durability? Not so good. I went through 3 pairs of Spantiks in three trips breaking eyelets on a boot that has so few.

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