The Gear Guy's Favorite Things

Salomon Super Mountain Expert Boots ($300;

Nov 20, 2003
Outside Magazine

CLICK HERE for your chance to win one of two pairs of Salomon boots, as well as throw your name into the hat for the last day of sweepstakes mania!

Plastic boots are great for glacier climbs such as the big, snowy peaks we have in the Pacific Northwest—Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Mount Hood, and others. They're warm and waterproof and hold a crampon well. But they're also heavy, clunky on the trails, and, if you have to scramble or climb over little rocks, they have as much foot feel as concrete overboots.

In recent years, several bootmakers have designed "hybrid" boots that combine the wet-condition advantages of plastics with the greater comfort and agility of leather boots. One such beast: Salomon's Super Mountain Expert. This past July, I took the somewhat unorthodox step of removing a pair of these boots straight from the box, lacing them onto my feet, then climbing Mount Rainier. And my feet have never been happier. The boots fit well, kept me warm and dry, provided plenty of rigidity for crampons, and even were comfortable on the hellacious descent down those dreaded asphalt paths over the long, last mile.

Technically, the Super Mountain Expert combines a rubber rand that extends halfway up the boot with a waterproof leather upper. The Salomon-designed sole has soft portions for climbing and harder lugs for durability, and adapts to just about any crampon on the planet. I found its light Thinsulate insulation to be just the right thing for moderately cold weather, and not too warm for lower elevations. And thus, this Salomon boot was inducted as a Gear Guy Favorite Thing.

Two lucky readers will have the chance to see how good these boots really are! For your chance to win, ENTER YOUR NAME into our sweepstakes contest. Check back tomorrow for the final item in the Gear Guy's list of all-time favorite gear!

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