VERTO S6K & S8K ALPINE DOUBLE BOOTS FROM THE NORTH FACE
everyones getting in on the high alpine boots these days, with The North Face entering the fray with their Verto S6K Extremes
they are not the lightest double with integrated gaiter, being a few grams heavier than the scarpa 6000s, but part if thats down to using Olympus Mons-type slash-resistant fabric on the inner side (can be seen extending around the front a bit).
after playing about with them they seem to work well so far, tho the real test will of course be when its really cold. nice to find is the way the lacing systems have been sort of reversed from the scarpas, with the gimmicky pull-tab laces on the inner where its less in the way, with a nice simple normal lace/velcro style on the outer.
an element worth noting is that the inner boot is insulated with Primaloft and feels very much intended to function as a bootie on its own to wear about a basecamp. the sole, toe rand and toughened outer facing make these feel more durable than both the la sportiva and scarpa offerings, butt again, it will take a season or two to find out.
the 8000m-rated Verto S8K big sister is even more interesting, in many ways the next step on from the Olympus Mons. where the S6K has taken leaves from the 8000m style of boot, the S8K has absorbed elments of the precision of 6000m boots, in this case coming lighter than the Scarpa 8000s. again insulated by Primaloft with the same inner boot, the overall bulk compared to Scarpa 800s and Olympus mons is noticeably more streamlined, with a truer climbing toe box and closer overall fit.
inside is an inner boot the same design as the S6K uses but with double the insulation (400g/m primaloft instead of 200g/m), making them interchangable and a smart, seamless boot system for expeditions where the S6K can be used for acclimitizing efforts and the S8K switched in for the high stuff. other boot ranges have worked for this so far, but good to see it done specifically finally, with a system that packs down significantly smaller and lighter than other contenders.
when and if these boots will hit the international market is as yet undetermined – so far only an un-gaitered S6K is outsie Japan, tho being made in conjunction with a european boot specialist they may be hovering about in Chamonix, having been in the trade shows for a while now.