Scarpa revamped their whole high-altitude and technical mountain footwear line over the past few years. The most notable changes came to the Phantom series: Guide, 6000 and 8000, as well as the lightweight Ultra, available only in Europe. The Guide has become a relatively popular and commonplace boot, with almost every Scarpa dealer stocking a full run, while the 6000 and 8000 models are rarely seen even in specialist shops.
Even the manufacturer’s website is woefully inadequate at thoroughly explaining and showing the features of each boot, though strangely the UK version is much more informative than Scarpa North America. So if you are looking at getting a serious winter or high altitude boot, you’re pretty much stuck ordering blind, trying to find someone who already owns a pair, or scouring the web searching for more information. This is where, hopefully, this post will help out.
The 6000 and its inner boot. The liner is very warm, and combined with the outer boot feels just as nimble as my Phantom Guides.
I ordered my Phantom 6000s blind. I had never seen a pair close-up before, but based on the few non-partisan reviews I could find online, they seemed like the boot I was looking for: a light, technical double boot with a modern, low-profile design. Plus, I got a great deal on them.
I own three other pairs of Scarpa boots, the Phantom Guide and Rebel Carbon in 43, and the Escape in 43.5. I also had a pair of Mont Blanc GTX in 44. I took a shot and ordered the 6000 in 43 – they fit perfectly. While the sizing is very similar to the Guide, they do feel a touch tighter (wearing the same socks). Interestingly, trying on just the shell, I can just about fit two fingers between my heel and the shell – what’s roughly known in ski boot sizing as a ‘comfort fit.’
Image 2: The inner boot is made of thermo-moldable foam, and features two velcro strips for closure. I was expecting more from a $700-retail mountaineering boot designed for technical climbing at altitude.
Image 5: The laces tightened up with the ‘lace-lock.’ Not a very effective solution as the laces slip after a while. After trying this system for a bit, I ditched the ‘lace-lock’ and have resorted to tying my laces the old fashioned, knotted, way.
Image 6: Upper velcro strap tightened, laces snugged up. The velcro strap keeps your feet in place, but doesn’t help much with heel-lift. I’d have liked to see the laces go higher, as in the Phantom Guide.
Initial observations after two days of light use (sport mixed to M8+ and ice to WI4):
These things are warm! Much, much warmer than my Phantom Guides, and this with a lighter sock.
Surprisingly, the smaller tread blocks don’t pack up with snow as quickly as on the Guides, but conversely also don’t provide as much traction.
The lace-lock, while being a good idea, doesn’t work as intended. The laces slip after a short while and need to be retightened. Annoying at best when on short routes, downright dangerous on multi-pitch climbs. I’ve taken out the lace-lock and now tie them the old-fashioned way, with knots.
The lacing doesn’t go up high enough on the ankle. I’d love to see a couple of hooks just below the velcro strap to give the user more options when lacing up.
The boots climb as well as the Phantom Guides, which is to say very well indeed. I wore the 6000s and the Guides back-to-back on the same route and didn’t notice any difference – laced properly, either boot disappears and let you focus on the climbing at hand (er, foot).
More details and observations coming as I use these boots more!