Alpha ice boots


Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Alpha ice boots
Manufacturer Scarpa
Page By StephaneFitch
Page Type Apr 25, 2003 / Apr 25, 2003
Object ID 723
Hits 4109
The Alpha was meant to mesh the characteristics of leather boots with those of plastic boots. It is built on a leather boot last. The cuff is cut lower than most plastic boots and has a soft stretch Cordura collar, allowing more movement than other plastic boots. The midsole is thermoplastic carbonfiber mix. The sole itself is a rubber mixture that has sticky characteristics on both ice and wet rock.


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StephaneFitch - Apr 25, 2003 4:02 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
Had a fantastic experience with these on Mount Athabasca in the Canadian Rockies, with Yamnuska's climbing school. I've done a fair bit of mixed climbing in the Cascades in leather. Opted for plastic for fear of the colder temps in Canada, but heard these would bridge the gap, with a lower cut and a lace system that discourages over-tightening in order to leave the ankles free. Yep. I found I was able to walk upright on steep-angled glaciers when most of my colleagues wearing higher-cut plastic boots had to switch to frontpointing. Later, when we got onto true vertical ice, my Alpha boots still had plenty of support for my calves. I still go leather for glacier climbs with long approaches, but for pure glacier routes or ice, these rule. (May not be warm enough for Alaska etc, I hear.)

paule - May 1, 2003 5:53 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
These boots are wonderful. Great boot for a variety of situations. Surprisingly, they were just as comfortable as my leather hiking boots when used on long approaches.

One downside in my particular case in the beginning is that the outer edge just behind the toebox area was cutting into the joint where little toe joint is. This could just be my feet, but other boots I have tried have been worse. I had the boots adjusted and they are perfect now.

I have tried other boots like the Arctic Expe's, but felt the ankle hinge was a major weakness in the design. The fact that the Alphas don't have hinges to bust on them is a major benefit, and at the same time, the ankle flex felt more "natural" than on other hinged-ankle boots. Another big selling point for me on the Alpha is that they have the lowest profile of any plastic boot I have found so far.

These plastic boots have the closest sensitivity to leather boots, while still offering more durability than leather. A difficult combination to find with any other boot.

rgmackie - Nov 8, 2003 9:47 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
I’ve had my pair of Alphas for a little over two years and they've held up well through a lot of abuse. They’re very easy to walk in for plastics, but nowhere close to leathers. I’ve used them for ice climbing as well as mountaineering when I was carrying a 90# pack. No blisters or cold toes, but I did loose a big toenail walking toes pointed downhill on a steep decline when I didn’t have the boots laced tightly enough (I tend to wear them loose and sloppy). I wore them up Aconcauga’s Polish Glacier with lightweight gaiters and my feet stayed just warm enough, but I’m sure they’re insufficient for conditions on Denali. My only gripe is that the tongue separates too low which makes it easy for shallow water to seep in the boot.

brusy - Nov 30, 2004 2:02 am - Voted 2/5

Untitled Review
Got mine on sale in REI for 100$ !!! Best deal you can imagine. Just tried them out on Mt. Whitney, warm enough while moving, but if you just stay in camp not doing much, you'll get cold soon. Very comfortable even first time, very flexible, feel like leather boot!!! weakness is the low cut tongue, water can get in there so be carefull. But ones again, super boot for the price!!!
Recently use them for snowshoeing trips and they work great.

OK, I have an update, used Them on Shasta last winter, they got wet (and cold of course) inside, eventhough I used gaiters. I thought it was my bad that I didn't have them tight enough but last month I had the very same problem on Rainier's Kautz Glacier and there I triplechecked laces and gaiters and all was good. The snow just gets in through the tongue I guess. I will try to contact Scarpa so will let you know...

rhyang - Feb 24, 2005 11:12 pm - Voted 4/5

Untitled Review
I've used these for ice-climbing mainly, though have also done some snowshoeing and a little rock scrambling in them. Very stiff soles, decent ankle flexibility, light weight - this is the double boot for me (also cheap, because I got them on sale).

Fit: my feet are wide in the toes, narrow in the heel, and measure 9.5. Typically I wear a size 10 boot, sometimes 9.5 depending on manufacturer. These fit me in size 9.5 UK, which I think is size 10.5 US, though I tend to wear thicker socks and a superfeet green insole with them, or a size 10 Intuition thermofit liner.

Crampons: great fit with Grivel Rambo Evo 3's, BD Sabretooth step-in (older model), Petzl Dart, DMM Terminator.

Warmth: for slogging I just use the standard liner (these aren't the ones with the Scarpa thermofit liners). For standing around on cold days (belaying) I use the Intuition thermofits, which decrease the weight by a half pound or so and are much thicker & warmer. The standard liners do have a rough sole so that on overnights you can use them as camp booties on snow. Have only used them in California winters in the Sierra Nevada.

Note: I've looked at the Alphas that come with Scarpa thermofit liners and their instructions - the liners are thinner than the Intuitions, and mold at a lower temperature, so beware.

sdespins - Jul 13, 2005 10:43 am - Voted 3/5

Untitled Review
Waited for the detacheable thermofit model. Disappointed, they are not waterproof! The tonge is not attached and snow creeps in and makes the booty wet even with gaiters. When I called BD about this they were not helpful at all. Also, although comfortable, they don't keep my feet warm even with VBLs.

Very disappointed overall - wet and cold feet. Good if you are climbing in the dessert and maybe for beginner ice but not in the NE. Okay for mountaineering in warm climates like Mexico but nothing colder than that.

On the positive side: flexible with enough structure and no shin rub! Lightweight.

plark42 - Jan 24, 2006 1:16 am - Voted 3/5

Untitled Review
Do not buy these boots unless you have a high arch- enough said..

packet - Jan 21, 2007 12:50 am - Voted 4/5

Great boots.
I bought these boots to go climbing in Peru. I have pretty flat feet and these fit perfectly. Since they're cut pretty low you've got a bit wider range of movement than standard plastics. These have since been replaced by another model, but they're fantastic boots. The main downsides I've seen is that they tend to get chewed up my moraine rock fairly fast, and they're not warm enough for alaska, but anything outside that and you should be fine.

Infected Mushroom - Jan 22, 2007 2:45 am - Voted 4/5

This boot is made for narrow feet with a high arch.

HuecoRat - Mar 4, 2009 3:55 pm - Hasn't voted

Excellent Boots
I have had mine for 6 seasons, and they are fantastic. I use them for ice climbing in the NE United States and have never had cold feet, even in very low temps. My feet have always been dry as well. I got 'em just before they came out with the Omega, so it might be that they fixed some of the problems others reported. I have worn them for several days in a row on ice climbing trips, and just kept the liners in my sleeping bag at night. For me they have been great.

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