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Batura EVO #11ABY
The La Sportiva Batura EVO mountaineering boot is an impressive, lightweight, all synthetic mountain boot for high elevation alpinism, winter mountaineering, and ice climbing. It features six layers and an integrated, highly water resistant gaiter with asymetrical waterproof zipper. The inner boot has thermally expanded PE foam and a polyamide layer for warmth. The shock absorbing PU midsole features a TPU stiffener, allowing the Batura EVO's to accept automatic crampons. They are ideally suited for winter mountaineering in cold conditions.
Gaiter: Elastic Cordura/ Schoeller® -Dynamic™ with water repellant membrane/ Vibram® rubber rand/ Elastic nylon with impermeable insulating layer
Upper: High tenacity Nylon®/ Insulated anti-dragging felt/Insulated PE/ Insulating aluminum layer
Lining: Polyamide Thermic layer/ Mes
Insole: Insulating Ibi-Thermo 9mm
Midsole: 8-9mm TPU/ PU Inserts/ SBR Aircushion
Outsole: Vibram® with Impact Brake System™
Crampon Compatible: Yes (automatic/step-in, hybrid, universal/strap-on)
Height: 12.25" (31.115 cm)
Weight (sz. 45): 5.06 lbs (2.296 kg)
Initial Thoughts (02/16/12):
I have had a hard time keeping my toes warm since getting frostbite last April on a Mt. Hood climb. This led me to the La Sportiva Batura EVO boots. They are a cold weather mountaineering boot, so I have very high hopes. When I first opened the box, I was pleased to observe how light and non-bulky they are. They are about a quarter pound lighter than my Scarpa Summit GTX mountaineering boots which are half a size smaller. The Batura EVO's are basically a single boot with an integrated gaiter, bridging the gap between true single boots and double boots. I have always shied away from double boots because I find them too stiff and uncomfortable for long approaches or long climbs.
Before getting frost bite, I would normally wear a US 10.5 to 11 shoe size (EU 44-44.5), but have since found myself needing a half size bigger. The Batura EVO in size 45 fits my foot comfortably with a pair of liner socks and thick pair of hiking/climbing socks. A huge plus for me is that there is enough room in the toe box to wiggle my toes. This should help with circulation and in turn keep my toes warmer. After lacing the Batura EVOs somewhat loosely, I noticed some heel slip like I have in most boots. Lacing the boots tighter nearly eliminates the heel slip.
The Batura EVO's have a stiff sole, but enough flex in the boot to make them comfortable while walking around the house. The first time I take them out, I should get a good feel for how they will do on long climbs. The zipper on the integrated gaiters is easy to use with the large pull loop. They have not snagged once on the laces the half dozen times I have zipped them up. The zipper appears to be the most durable part of the gaiter. It seals very well and shouldn't let any water in. The gaiter itself is made up of three different fabrics with the lowest being the most durable and the uppermost part being the most supple. The upper part of the gaiters are perforated to aid in breathability. Since the gaiters are only water resistant, I would be inclined to use a regular pair of waterproof gaiters in wet situations. I will soon see how they do in real world conditions. There is a new version of the Batura's coming out later this year called the Batura 2.0 GTX. La Sportiva lists the new Batura 2.0 GTX mountaineering boots as the same weight as the Batura EVO's with the main difference being the Gor-Tex® gaiter and lining. In any case, I really like how the integrated gaiter comes about 3.5-4 inches above the top of the boot and cinches up around my calf with a toggle. The Batura's feel like a sturdy and durable boot with enough insulation to finally keep my toes warm.
Initial Field Test (02/19/12):
My first test of the La Sportiva Batura EVO mountaineering boots was on an all day snowmobile and snowshoe trip to Bonney MeadowsBonney Meadows, Oregon. The temperature started off in the low 20's F and warmed up to the mid to upper 20's F. It snowed lightly in the morning and then partially cleared up in the afternoon. I was relatively stationary for much of the time, so it was a good test of the Batura's ability to keep my toes warm.
My toes have always gotten cold in any boot when I remain stationary for long periods of time. But the Batura EVO's kept my toes mostly warm the entire day. There were times when they felt a little chilled, but not uncomfortably cold like I often experience. Once I started moving the chill quickly went away. I had a pair of Cozy Feet battery heated toe warmers installed under the insoles which I tested later in the day. They are a cheap low powered toe warmer, but they easily warmed the slight chill my toes had. Without the toe warmers, moving around (hiking or snowshoeing) quickly warmed up my toes as well.
I found the Batura EVO mountaineering boots comfortable both to snowmobile and snowshoe in. They were easy to secure to my MSR Lightning Ascent snowshoes and felt great ascending and descending snowy slopes.
I had no issues with the water resistance of the boots. The zippers and gaiters kept all snow and moisture out. I really like the convenience and ease of use the built-in gaiters offer. The boot lacing system worked well to keep my feet secure all day (except when they became untied near the end of the day). I thought I could get away with out double tying them because of how the integrated gaiter works, but after the laces worked their way undone, I will be double tying them in the future.
The breathability of the La Sportiva Batura EVO boots seem to be on par with other mountaineering and winter boots I have used. My feet perspire a lot, so all boots and shoes that I wear for more than a couple hours get damp inside. The Batura EVO's are no exception. I did not find this uncomfortable during my adventure and didn't even notice the moisture until I removed the boots at the end of the day. On an overnight trip this could be a problem, as cold temperatures could freeze the boot overnight. I think vapor barrier socks or booties would help and I will try this in the future.
During the adventure, my friend and I practiced setting up and using a z-pulley system. We practiced on a steep snow slope which I climbed down and up in the Batura EVO's. The boots felt very secure while plunge-stepping down the slope as well as kick-stepping back up. Their stiffness feels like it will be perfect for front pointing, without being an overly rigid boot the would make long approaches uncomfortable. I look forward to climbing in the Batura EVO's soon.
See Bonney Meadows and Echo Point adventure where the La Sportiva Batura EVO Mountaineering Boots were used.
Extended Field Testing (10/20/12):
I have used the La Sportiva Batura EVO mountaineering boots exclusively on all my cold weather climbs this past season from single day winter ascents of Mt Hood to a two day climb of Mt Rainier. The Batura EVO's performed great in all situations. The lacing system works well at providing a secure fit without being too tight or uncomfortable. The built-in gaiters work great in all conditions. I was hesitant at first and wore taller gaiters over the Batura EVO's (which worked fine despite not having something to hook the gaiters to at the toe), but later realized this is not necessary unless extra heat is desired from an additional layer. It's nice being able to leave another piece of gear at home.
The La Sportiva Batura EVO mountaineering boots have proven to be the warmest pair of boots I have climbed in. Despite this, I have still required heated insoles to keep my toes warm at times. Others will likely find the Batura EVO's warm enough without heated insoles.
My only complaint of the Batura EVO's is the outer gaiter is not made of a breathable, waterproof material. I have noticed that warm air gets trapped underneath and the outer fabric becomes wet in warmer conditions. This is less of a problem in cold conditions as far as the outer fabric goes, but the trapped warm moist air can still be a problem on multi-day climbs. Because of this, the Batura EVO's are better suited to single day climbs. La Sportiva has recently introduced the Batura 2.0 GTX which features 2-layer Gore® technology, creating the ultimate waterproof breathable winter mountaineering boot. This model would be ideal on multi-day climbs.
Over the past year, my La Sportiva Batura EVO mountaineering boots have held up very well. I have used them alone, with snowshoes, with crampons, and even tried them with mini skis (not quite stiff enough for skiing). They are comfortable on long approaches and climb very well. The outer fabric still looks like new. Besides a few nicks in the rand and wear on the sole, the boots look as good as they did on day one. They should hold up well over many seasons of climbing.
Overall the La Sportiva Batura EVO's are a great pair of winter or high altitude mountaineering boots. They are extremely warm, durable, and the integrated gaiter is quite convenient. I recommend them for single day climbs. The Batura 2.0 GTX would be a great option for winter or high altitude multi-day climbs. Available from amazon.com.
Special thanks to La Sportiva for providing the Batura EVO mountaineering boots for review.