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Linnaeus

question AKU boot opinions?

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I have an older set of La Sportiva Nepal Extremes that need a resole. I've been holding out in part to find a deal on a set of lightly used Nepal EVOs (size 48 - rare!) instead of getting these well worn boot resoled. However, STP has a boot that is similar, at least in concept, to the Nepal for much cheaper:

 

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/aku-montagnard-gore-tex-hiking-boots-waterproof-insulated-for-men~p~7364x/

 

I googled around and there doesn't appear to be much info on these, i.e. reviews, on the net. My gut is that I should just continue to hold out for or spend more for La Sportiva Nepal EVOs. However, if folks have good things to say about these boots I would consider them because they are a stellar deal $234 with free shipping. My main concern is the similarity (or not) to the Nepal series, and the quality. I already know that a Nepal (or Scarpa Mount Blanc) will work for my uses.

 

(Or maybe I should get my Nepal Extremes resoled - I have new soles from Sportiva, but need to find a good cobbler to do it - any recs?)

 

[img:center]http://s.stpost.com/eccstorefront/product_images/7364x/f_7364x_4.1.jpg[/img]

[img:center]http://i.stpost.com/aku-montagnard-gore-tex-hiking-boots-waterproof-insulated-for-men-in-orange-black~p~7364x_01~460.2.jpg[/img]

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I have a different pair of Aku boots. (Spider GTX) They are extremely well made. Fit on my boots was closer to Sportiva than Scarpa, so if you fit well in Sportiva, you should fit into Aku (assuming the last is the same on my boots and the ones you are considering.)

 

With Sierra Trading Post's recent 35% off coupon, I was tempted by these myself, even though I don't need boots.

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Just got this 40% off coupon: That makes these boots $216

 

TONIGHT ONLY! Save an EXTRA 40% off, no min, with keycode SFB92414 'til midnight MDT!

Edited by KaiLarson

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Make sure they fit crampons, had big problems with the Syder Kevlar and too much rocker in the sole, and oh yeah one midsole shattered and that boot was floppy like a sandal.

 

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The reviews on STP are all glowing. For $216 it is hard to go wrong, especially with STP's return policy which is the best in the business. I have been shopping with them for almost 25 years and returned a number of items with never a problem. These boots are way sexy too!

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I ended up purchasing the AKU boots. Fit is good in size 48 for my size 13.5/14 feet. The finish and craftsmanship seem nice, maybe better than Scarpa Mont Blanc (which I think is not quite as nice as the Nepal EVO). I'll try to update this post later after I have some time on them. They will be used for water ice/ Northeast alpine climbs mostly, I just hope they are stiff enough. I read some stuff online that they may be slightly more flexible than i.e. a Sportiva Nepal EVO.

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Got these out for their first climb on the Black Dike at Cannon, NH last weekend. 3 pitches of WI2-3 with some thin/rocky areas. I used an older BD Bionic crampon because they are a larger crampon that fit my boots well (size 48). Long story short, the boots were excellent. I had never worn them out of the house and I was comfortable all day, no hot spots, they climbed and walked well, scrambled over snowy talus as well as any technical boot can. I had standard center bars and the flex was a good balance of stiffness. They breathed "OK" which is to say I didn't notice any problems on a cold, dry day. Although they claim to be Euro 48/US 13.5 and not the typical Euro48/US 14, I had plenty of room. I would say these are longer than a Nepal EVO, more comparable in size to the older Nepal Extreme (I think the EVO and extreme fit differently).

 

Overall, I've only had them out 1 day. But, I've had single climbing days ruined before because of poor boot fit and these were just plain great. I would certainly buy again and recommend them if they fit your foot and your intended use based on the above limitations. For <$250 new they were a downright bargain.

[img:center]http://cascadeclimbers.com/plab/data/500/10155775_10203574629469880_968955486059252405_n.jpg[/img]

Edited by Linnaeus

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FYI, these are currently in stock at SierraTradingPost.com. Use coupon code 'SFB112914' at checkout for 30% off ($260).

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More data, had them out for a long day yesterday on Shoestring Gully on Mt. Webster in the White Mountains of NH. It is a classic moderate alpine climb for the NE - about 2000' gully, of which the last 1/3 had formed in with steps of WI2-3 separated by snow ramps. This time I did a thin wool sock under a normal mid weight hiking sock, seem to fill the boot volume a little better for me. Never had a single hotspot or problem, toes stayed warm, crampons stayed well fixed, the walk off descent down the Appalachian Trail was similarly uneventful. Then we went down to do a pitch of WI3 at a ice crag close by, again, boots worked awesome. With the caveat that this is still early in the life of the boots and their use, I would highly recommend them.

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Long term update: I ended up getting rid of these boots last winter. They have been replaced with LS Nepal EVOs. My issues with the AKUs were as follows:

-The heel of the sole has rocker, which makes crampon fit a little different from normal. It also meant that I could not fit them into my Silvretta bindings, as the heel lever didn't have enough reach between the rocker and my size 48 boots.

-The sole is longer in a given size than other boots, i.e. Nepal. In effect moving the front bail a little farther out past your toes.

-The quality of the boots I still thought was high, but the design/execution just wan't quite as nice as some of the competition. If you just go cragging or climb easier ice these issues would never present themselves.

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