Greg Boswell Reviews the Phantom Guide
Scarpa Athlete Greg Boswell tells us about his experience of using the Phantom Guide moutnain boot -
There are many gaitered boots on the market at the moment and many brands that are producing styles that are similar to the Scarpa Phantom Guide. But in my opinion, the Phantom Guide is in a league of its own. The current model of the Phantom Guide has been developed and changed over a number of generations and is now at a place where you get maximum performance from a super light and slim-line boot that is versatile and operates well over a wide range of activities and terrains.
I have been using the Guides for the last two winter seasons in Scotland and abroad in the higher mountains. The more I use them the more I realise that Scarpa really do know how to do it right!
The last used by Scarpa in the Phantom guide is the new AG last recently developed for their top end mountaineering boots. This really gives a positive and super comfortable fit while walking, and gives the boot a super responsive feel; perfect for the climber wishing to use this as an everyday winter mountaineering boot, all the way up to the user that is wanting footwear that will give them confidence and perform well while they push their physical and mental limits in the mountains. A true all rounder.
Moving away from the fit of the boot and looking at the design, fabrics and technologies used in the Guides; you can see that the futuristic looking OutDry integrated orange gaiter of the Guides will totally protect the foot from the elements, and with the dry-suit technology T-Zip up the front, the boot becomes fully water resistant. Ideal for battling the very harsh Alpine and Scottish mountain conditions.
I have used these boots all over the world, from the boggy semi frozen approaches in Scotland to the solid rock hard ice fields and cascades of the French Alps. Nothing I have come across to date has been too much for the capabilities of the Phantom Guide, winter or summer. They are light enough to facilitate moving quickly and comfortably in the mountains, whilst also giving excellent support and stiffness for the technical mixed and ice routes that I have climbed in the Guides.
The added PrimaLoft layer in the Guide has really helped my feet stay warm and responsive in some seriously cold climates and conditions over the last couple of seasons. I have used these boots for mixed climbing in Scotland, alpine climbing in the French Alps and cascade climbing in Switzerland; and I personally have never had any problems with cold or wished to use a warmer boot. But If I did need additional warmth, Scarpa do the Phantom 6000 model in the new range, which has an added liner boot if you need that extra warmth factor for extreme cold use.
There is also a very innovative lacing lock system in these boots that works with the super strong and durable Dyneema laces. It locks the tension at the base of the ankle, so that whilst on long approaches you can have a loose ankle/ calve area to minimise on pressure points, and when you reach the climb, it is super quick and easy to synch the rest of the boot up tight ready for the fully responsive support that is required while climbing.
The Virbam Total Traction sole unit operates superbly over everything from rocky alpine ridges, to icy glacial approaches, and I find them especially good for toe punting your way up neve slopes in winter, when time and conditions prevent you from stopping to put your crampons on. It is obvious that Vibram and Scarpa have put a lot of research and thought into making a sole unit that performs perfectly at a very high level and for wide range of use.
To sum it up, the new Scarpa Phantom range, but especially the Guide, is a super versatile boot that operates and excels at whatever level the user wishes to perform at. I have put mine through a lot of use and abuse over the last two years and they are still going strong. I personally haven’t used a better boot for winter and alpine mountaineering/climbing and would highly recommend them to anyone wishing to get the most out of their time in the mountains and wanting to end the day with a beaming smile on their face. Whenever I use my Guides, I never have to worry about what conditions, terrain or circumstances I might come across as I know that the technology/design and fabric of these amazing boots will do all the hard work for me.