User Review: Montrail I.C.E. 9
Materials: Leather/Synthetic hybrid
Use: Alpine mountaineering
Break-in Period: None
Weight: Not sure...but light
Price Paid: $270
This boot is very comfortable and required no break-in time. Out of the box I did several approaches of 2 miles to 6 miles to get to climbs in temperatures from mid 20's to below 0F and feet stayed very warm, even while belaying. It does have a much better feel than my plastics and my Salomon Ice&Snow while climbing. They were great on low angled snow and ice and allowed my feet to climb in "pied canard" instead of front pointing forever. The low profile feels like it does not give you that stiff foot feel for vertical alpine climbing, but use the lace system and they hold just fine. I use horizontal crampons for all my climbing and the Khumbu crampons that form fit the boot work great with good secondary front points that are forgiving to my heel lift tendency.
The reason these boots get 4 stars instead of 5 is that the Khumbu crampons are more difficult to put on while all geared up for cold. Also, the crampons are not very friendly field adjustable -- so make sure they are tight -- tighter than your normal crampons. The adjustment process took about 2 hours as I tried every possible adjustment position. The manual with the crampons is a good starter, but getting that fine line between too hard to snap and remove and harder than normal took a while.
I purchased the ICE 9 gaiters and bought the recommended size Large for my 10.5 boots and was barely able to get them around the boot. I took them on the climb and was not able to return them to retail shop, but Montrail took them right back and are in the process of sending me an XL size.
I think this is a great innovation in climbing technology -- which I need as I get older, stiffer and....