Our Take Long approach to your summit objective? The Baltoro has it—and the ascent—covered. Stiff enough that you can crampon across steeps while carrying a heavy pack, this boot is still comfy for long-haul trips. Like most mountaineering boots, the Baltoro uses a dual-density PU midsole—in lieu of less durable EVA—but unlike most, the Baltoro has cutouts around the ankle that promote a smoother stride. “These boots felt right at home on long, rolling trails,” one tester reports. Make no mistake, though: The Baltoro excels in vertical terrain. The midsole features a core stiffened by a fiberglass insert, which one tester appreciated on the 40-degree slopes of Colorado’s James Peak. “The boot never felt shaky, letting me climb with confidence.” He also praised the Vibram Mulaz EVO outsole for its broad, flat toe section that held fast on tricky footholds.
The Details The Baltoro has what you want in a mountaineering boot: durable, full-grain leather upper, wraparound rand, waterproof liner, and a heel welt. Our tester reported a normal break-in period for a boot this rigid. Drawback: The lack of insulation makes them unfit for climbs in truly Arctic conditions.
Trail Cred “The first quick-lace, set back toward the ankle, pulls the foot forward into a secure position for increased precision on steep climbs,” said a Colorado tester after a winter of 13,000-foot ascents.