One of the world's lightest crampon-compatible boots from Swiss brand Mammut.
New in for review is Mammut's Mt.Cliff GTX boot, which Mammut says is one of the lightest, if not the lightest cramp-compatible boot out there.
We know that with the right, flexible trekking crampon, pretty much all walking boots are useable with crampons to a degree for short periods, but we're taking that to mean that the boot has a stiff enough sole unit for more regular crampon outings.
And the Mt Cliff seems to manage that pretty well. At around 1490g for a pair of size nines, they're respectably light, but the sole unit is still stiff enough to be officially rated B1 for compatability with strap-on C1-graded crampons like Grivel's Air Tech Light New Classic.
They're cut relatively low for a winter-friendly boot with a neat Neoprene gaiter cuff to keep snow and debris out. Up top there's a mix of suede and fabric with a Gore-Tex liner plus a ¾ rand with reinforced heel area too.
Lacing is asymmetric and uses Mammut's BaseFit system where laces transfer force to the sole unit via sliding bands. More importantly, first impressions are that for our fairly typical medium volume British foot, fit is good with enough padding for instant comfort, but not so much that they feel imprecise when walking and a good balance between comfort and sturdiness – the sole unit really does feel stiff, but without the weight of traditional winter mountain boots.
We like the lower cut as well, it feels less restrictive and give good ankle mobility potential.
If you've been up a mountain for the last few years, bear in mind that Mammut's footwear division essentially uses all the expertise from Raichle, so they should know what they're doing.
So What's The Catch?
Well, Mammut has had to lose the weight somewhere, part of it has come from eschewing full leather uppers but a fair bit comes from underfoot compromises. For starters, the mid-sole is EVA, which is light and cushioned, but does tend to deteriorate with prolonged use.
Then there's the outsole; Vibram's proven Mulez unit is a brilliant rock scrambling sole with its blocked-out toe section for added friction, but it has relatively shallow lugs compared to more traditional winter boots. With crampons in place that won't matter, but for general use, kicking into steep, consolidated snow slopes without crampons, it may mean they lack the hammer of heavier cousins.
We're not saying that disqualifies them for winter use, but it's worth being aware of the compromise when you head out in the snow.
The combination should be ace on scrambles and general straightforward mountaineering however, with good sole stiffness promising decent edging performance.
Suggested retail price is £180. More info at www.mammut.ch