Just returned from a successful 3 day summit of Mt Rainier. I decided on these boots because I wanted a boot I can take up Rainier and eventually Denali. I went with a gaiter boot because they are recommended for extreme cold at 6000 meters.
First, the Goods: Insulation
My feet never felt cold. Ever! I took the boots up Rainier in early season when it was "unusually cold". While the conditions were in our favor on the summit, it snowed heavily on our decent. On the summit, we were told it was 6 degrees with 20 mile per hour winds. So that's a very low wind chill. My feet were super toasty! On the decent, my feet were covered in powder the entire way down. They were always comfortable.. No issue with cold feet. None. I used Black Diamond Crampons. They fit perfectly on the boot. No Issues there.
The Bads: Blister City!!!
I did everything I read to avoid blisters. I trained in them, walked in them for several days, weeks before the trip. But, every time I put weight on my back, there were hot pots on the inside heals of booth feet.
I purchased these boots a half size bigger like recommended.. In my attempts to avoid blisters during training, I would use mole skin, lube, use sock liners, and NEW padded socks. I would try with laces tight, perfect or loose.. It seemed, No matter what I did to avoid a hot spot, the hot spots would be there.. As a result, on day two (summit day) the blisters started to show. I would stop, apply new mole skin, lube, new socks, TWO liners. Nothing worked! Then, on the decent I started feeling hot spots on the top of my middle toes (not the front). As a result, on the decent, Day 3, I was hurting down the mountain. I was in so much pain. THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO! I was so helpless.
After the climb was done, I had two blisters on my heals and blisters on the top of 6 toes!! Horrible! What baffles me is the details say BLISTER FREE! I am so naive.
Most of the people on my team were wearing La Sportive EVOs. They never got cold