Garmont Ascent GTX

This boot’s traction and stiffness shine on steep climbs.

Comfort 2.7: A non-tapered toebox adds more space for splay, a boon on long days. But the Ascent is the stiffest boot in the test, so testers complained that it became uncomfortable on any approach longer than a couple miles.

Durability 4.7: Toe and heel bumpers protected the suede upper during 30 days of talus- and scree-filled climbs in Idaho’s Pioneer Range. “I heel-braked all the way down a loose, gravelly slope and the outsole held up,” our tester says.

Stability/support: 4.8 The Ascent’s exemplary stability—the result of a nylon lasting board combined with a Vibram Nepal outsole, by far the stiffest in the test—means it excels on steep snow and rock. Our tester frontpointed up a 40-degree snow slope in the Pioneers with confidence. But the boot isn’t so overbuilt it’s ungainly: “With the laces cinched all the way down, I felt confident on knife-edge ridges despite the roomy toebox,” our tester reports. Padding in the cuff adds even more ankle support.

Overall: 4.1