Being my first year using a splitboard setup I wanted to make sure I got the right setup for the steeps I wanted to board. A boot that would climb icey mountain slopes, burly enough to handle any condition(plastics can get cold), yet flexible enough to rip good lines. The soft snowboard boot is suicide in the backcountry, on icey pitched slopes that is. The Baruntse La Sportiva fits all those catagories(wide feet, might not be a good option). At first I tried to use a Sparks strap binding, not such a great idea(pressure of straps drills lace buckles into feet. The better options seems like using Voile sliders and Toe/Heel bale. So far its working very well. The toe of the Baruntse is pretty beefy(toe bail was raised a bit). A file to the underside of the Toe bale fixed the issue. Toe bale stability is not compromised and the boot locks in very stable.
I would be interested in hearing more on your opinions of the performance of a bail/plate setup for a mountaineering boot such as Baruntse.
My opinion on boots is a hardboot that maximizes touring efficiency, or in my case a technical mountaineering boot that allows me to ascend pretty much anything with comfort and provides a pleasurable riding experience. Seems like the Spark boots (especially XV) are starting to look more and more like the Spantik
To me plastic boots always have caused shin rub and uncomfortable to walk on ground(no snow). For me the Baruntse is very stable and comfortable at all times. Feet never get cold or damp. I use a very thin pair of snowboard socks with liners. When used with the Voile plates the boots perform very well, on the uphill they lock in very well. The touring feels effortless(Solution helps with that too Im sure). Icey slopes they perform as well as a plastic with grip and stability. I like the feeling of not being able to tell that you have a binding on. On the downhill it rides great, the boot is real snug with the heat moldable liners, the soft upper gives you just enough play to cut sharp lines. If you asked the question: What perform better then a plastic hard boot? I would say a Baruntse. In fact its not even a contest. Before I bought them the only negative I heard about was that "wide feet need not apply", true.
Bottom line, I don't like worrying about boots during backcountry trips(wet,cold,uncomfortable,blisters).
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:05 am Posts: 1432 Location: Colorado
This should really not even be a question. A well set up hard boot setup, using one of the new generation lightweight and flexible AT boots is the way to go for any high mountain terrain, for technical steeps, or for powder meadow skipping... There is no reason that a hard boot system should be uncomfortable: AT boots are used to ski 8000 meter peaks, and big lines all over the world. If you think plastic shelled boots have to be uncomfortable (or cold?) for big days (or expeditions) in the high mountains, you have never worn a properly fitted and set up boot.