I picked up my Degres about six years ago. They were a consignment purchase I made at the Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington, Vt. while I was prepping for Alaska’s Denali. Though my trip to Alaska never materialized, these boots did summit Rainier, Mount Washington, Mount Marcy and put me on top of many ice climbs in the Northeast. Had I not bought these Koflachs, I probably wouldn’t have started ice climbing. These were the boots that got me hooked, and ultimately the reason my bank account was drained to buy ice climbing gear.
When I bought the Degres for $95 they were in pretty much mint shape. Today they could use new liners, but to be honest with you, even for being packed out they are still hella warm. They say you should use the right tool for the right job so I wouldn’t recommend them for hard, steep ice climbing. But I would recommend them for moderate routes in cold-ass environments. There isn’t any Gore-Tex either, but you can rest assured that the double-boot system can keep your fungus fingers warm and dry in mid-winter conditions.
You can check out a very updated version of the Degres at Koflach.com.
La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX
Performance comes with a price tag these days. Somewhere in the beefed-up Batura 2.0’s six layers of insulation is a couple layers of Gore-Tex for a complete waterproof and breathable system. Think the Caribbean beach in May: not too hot, not too cold. To not call these boots badass would be like not calling Ron Jeremy the king of the internet. The outer gaiter boast an asymmetrical zipper with a Shoeller water-repellent membrane. What’s next La Sportiva?
LOWA Weisshorn GTX
Although less flashy than the Baturas, the Weisshorn doesn’t lack in performance, and the price tag is much better too. Vibram soles, waterproof Gore-Tex membrane and the flexfit Synchro articulating ankle system are just what your feet asked for in the mountains. These guys are rugged, sturdy and will get you up any steep, hard or moderate ice climb.
SCARPA Mont Blanc GTX
Ueli Steck climbs in SCARPA boots and he does some badass shit in the mountains. If that’s not enough proof that SCARPA makes some pretty rad boots, then read on. The Mont Blanc is your classic mountaineering boot with a waterproof Gore-Tex membrane burly enough to bag moderate summits and technical enough to climb steep ice. The TPU midsole is thicker underfoot and thinner near the toes and heel for a Ferrari-like ride for your feet to the summit.