Made by Hungarian Antarctic Program 2003 – "Frozen Oasis" Research & Film Expedition. www.antarctica.hu
Note for Males: See Alaska Top GTX
The following test was fulfilled by our group of scientists and film-makers, who wear such boots during a three months Antarctic field research and filming expedition in 2002/2003 summer on King George Island, South Shetland Archipelago, Antarctic Peninsula region, with great success.
CONDITIONS OF TESTSITE:
King George Island has so called SUB-ANTARCTIC CLIMAT that means here the following:
(i) Temperature was not very cold: between +8 and -10 °C, but as wind has a significant chill effect, it shall be also taken into consideration.
(ii) Wind: The standard windspeed was 20-60 km/h. However, with winter giant storms arrived as well, meaning snowstorm with 150-200 km/h wind speed, when the air temperature (withouth the chill-factor of the wind) was -10°C. HANWAG Alaska Top GTX were protecting our feet amongst others in these giant storms as well. We did not suffer any chilblain, and no toenails were lost either, thanks to these well designed and constructed boots.
Socks used: Bridgedale "Ascent" and "Expedition"
(i) Ice surface:
Crossing glaciers and ice-fields – with melted snow on the surface at the beginning of summer, rigid ice surface for 1,5 months and with fresh snow atop at the beginning of winter. As these are leather boots, they were not able to resist water even waxed when the snow was melting badly into puddles on the icefields. However, they were perfectly water-resistant when the snow was normal. In very melty conditions we protected the boots with full boot gaiters, which was a perfect and effective protection even when stepping into a knee-deep under-snow melt-water-puddle. They were very comfortable even for multi-day-long walks.
(ii) Stone-desert surface:
Field research in tundra-like ice-free coastal zone that was actually a stone-desert-like surface with very sharp debris on the surface. It was a very extreme test-field for the sole (VIBRAM) as it made the sole-rubber so worn in 200 km walking as it was after 1300km walk in my other HANWAG boots. Boots hold our ankle strong enough to be comfortable even on rolling stone-surface, and still being comfortable.
(iii) Muddy wetlands:
During the summer, melt-water from glaciers and from the ground made some coastal parts into one giant piece of mud, on which surface you can not run fast enough not to touch it. Accordingly, we followed the philosophy: "Keep your boots muddy":)
(iv) CLIMBING on rock & ice:
As the sole is not fully rigid, they may not be the boots for spidermen, but they are prefect, if your plans are to enjoy walking from A to B through mountains, glaciers and climb everything onsite that blocks your way.
My results were success on 50-90° firn-wall with non-automatic Charlet Moser Black Ice crampons, and climbing until UIAA 4/4+, but with more skills, you may do more. It holds the feet well enough to stand on shorter vertical ice-parts, but I would not recommend them to longer vertical and overhanging climbs, as their sole is not fully rigid. I would also say that they are not designed for that, but since I examined a pioneer mountaineers equipment from the end of 19th century, I know, that the limits are in ourself and not necessarily in the product.
These are our impressions. As I used various Hans Wagner boots in the past 10 years, I am sure you will also have good experiences with HANWAG. See details @ www.hanwag.co.uk (Engilsh) or www.hanwag.de (Deutsch)