What did we think of Mammut’s newest technical mountain boot, part of their premium Nordwand collection?
Mammut’s Nordwand Light Mid GTX Boot is a 2017 ISPO Award Winner. Footwear for technical ice, mixed and mountaineering has really moved on over the years and this boot embodies all of these technological improvements in a very impressive package. Hence the award perhaps? But what are they actually like?
The first sock style boot I tried, for technical ice and mixed, was SCARPA’s Rebel Ultra GTX. A light and precise tool, that offered great precision when teamed up with a technical crampon such as the Petzl Dart. Since then, other manufacturers have followed suit, the knowledge that shaving weight off the feet can lead to incredible efficiency gains (research suggests it takes 6 times as much energy to carry a weight on your feet as it does on your back).
Out of the box the Nordwand Light Mid feels just that; light. At 645g per boot it’s up (down??) there with the best. It’s striking signature blue and orange colour-way allude to the rest of the Nordwand range and cry out “professional” or “high end”, just the thing that is needed for tackling most fearsome north face in the alps, the Eiger Nordwand.
This leads onto one of the first things I noticed upon inspection – the sole. Interestingly not Vibram, Mammut collaborated with well known tyre manufacturer Michelin to create the alpine Lite 3970 sole (3970 incidentally is the height of the Eiger in metres). Mammut say: “The MICHELIN® Alpine Lite 3970 sole transfers the rubber specialists’ tire expertise to high alpine terrain. It is up to 40% lighter than conventional soles, features a larger climbing zone for better grip on side approaches and a clearly defined lug tread, making it ideal for use in high alpine terrain, in winter and on mixed tours.” When I asked why they had chosen Michelin they told me that they had looked at what was out there and “chosen exactly what was needed”. This boot was designed to be the best. I’ve found it to be incredibly grippy when rock climbing, it’s worn brilliantly after a whole season and handles a variety of both wet and dry terrain effectively.
In running shoes I wear a UK 8.5 and in this boot I found UK 9 to be optimum (I wear EU 43 in SCARPA and La Sportive equivalents). The sock style entry was easy to get on and off using the large tabs and this leads me to probably the only criticism I have of this boot. The ankle gaiter was actually too slack and baggy to work effectively and I got quite a lot of snow coming in which did lead to damp, cold feet on some occasions. I did find the lacing system to be secure and easy to use though and gave a secure fit.
The low ankle on this boot doesn’t give the support of standard boots on lots of easier angled front pointing sections, however it does give exceptional mobility and precision when climbing on ice and mixed terrain and for this use, I’ve not worn a boot to beat it. Having B3 crampon compatibility I’d team these up with something like the Petzl Dart or Grivel G20 crampon for best performance and you’ll have a serious weapon for icefalls, scottish mixed, dry tooling and fast technical alpinism.
Mammut rate the Nordwand Light Mid to -25 degrees on their website but I think this is optimistic and would get incredibly cold feet if I tried to use them in these temperatures, even if I was moving all the time. I got cold feet climbing in these in Scotland this winter and it certainly wasn’t -25.
As I said earlier, in terms of climbing performance you’ll struggle to find a better boot (as long as they fit, obviously). The low weight, support, sensitivity, grippy and durable sole and excellent ankle articulation, all beg for technical terrain. Sort out the gaiter and it’d be a 5 star contender.
Mammut’s Normand range is truly excellent. I was impressed by the incredible fit of the clothing and the boots are no different. Another great Mammut product and definitely well worth seeking out! They’re also very well priced at £359.
Full features and buy: www.uk.mammut.com