Via ferrata trip at ‘Mer de Glace’ Chamonix

Last September we went with the – Belgian – winners of The Banff Mountain Film Festival contest for a two-day action weekend in Chamonix. A via ferrata trip around the ‘Mer de Glace’ and a day hiking from Courmayeur (skyway) over the ‘Glacier du Geante’ passing the ‘Dent de Geant’ to the Aiguille de Toule. Amazing landscapes, breathtaking views, endless skies, snow, wind, rain and a great team on the rope.

Conditions

The first day brought monsoon-like rain around the Mer de Glace, with temperatures just above freezing, it was very cold, and the rocks we scrambled over were very slippery. The second day couldn’t have been more different. Blue skies, quite cold, snow, only the strong wind on the first day was still there.

Essential for winter trekking in conditions like these, is a mountaineering boot like the Mammut Magic Guide GTX as it has the features and the performance you require. A mountaineering boot should feel reasonably precise if scrambling over rocky ground. An outsole lug pattern should be ideal for gripping soft snow and in case of crampons are needed, e.g. during the second day on the ‘Glacier du Geante’, the shoe should be able to fit a crampon with a heel clip.

The Magic Guide GTX High features

The Magic Guide GTX is a high, supportive and fully crampon-compatible mountaineering boot made from Perwanger full-grain leather and with an elastic fabric around the tongue, flex zone, and heel collar.

All-around protective rubber edge

It features an all-around protective rubber edge, 3-zone lacing with efficient D-ring locking and the patented Base Fit 2.1 system.

This ensures that the ‘Mammut Hammer’ cord can slide freely on the outside of the shoe above and beneath the heel bone. This significantly improves heel support and reduces the chance of blistering. The comfort is further enhanced by the 3D-shaped cushioning.

3D-shaped heel cushioning

Memo foam, an elastic Gore-Tex tongue construction, the Gore-Tex Duratherm Comfort Footwear membrane and a securely closing integrated half-gaiter ensure the inside of the shoe remains dry and warm.

The precise connection to the shaft is due to a light wedge made from poro, PU and TPU, which offers lasting cushioning. The Vibram Maton sole completes this visually compelling product. The insulation is EN ISO 20334 rated: -25 °C.

Comfort & Fit

The Mammut Magic Guide GTX High (men’s) is available in sizes from 40 to 48,6. What strikes you when putting on the shoes is that the boots fits really well and comfortably, and that there is a little more space at the toes than average. We received the shoes the day before our Alpine Adventure and from the first moment they were a joy to wear.

Base Fit 2.1 with free sliding Mammut Hammer cords

The ankle cuff is a bit higher than some others, and it fits and feels nice and snug around your lower shin and calf. For this, the use of the Base Fit 2.1 system is a nice feature. The double sliding heel strap cords ensure great heel support (and blister prevention). I could fine-tune the heel support accurately and reduce friction between your foot and the inside of the shoe, factors that greatly improve comfort and reduce the chance of developing blisters.

The only reservation that I have about the free sliding strap cords is that these cords run over the surface of the shoe and are ‘open’, so there is a chance that they can be damaged over time.

Rigidity

Mammut Magic Guide GTX High with C3 Crampons

The Magic GTX does have a B3 flex index. A B3 flex index means that the shoes are fully rigid and compatible with all types of crampons, including rigid C3 crampons with a full step-in binding at the toe and heel; these give the closest fit and only fit B3 boots.

Although the shoes are specifically designed for climbing, they were just as comfortable during a regular all-day walk. I regularly wear them for short as well for longer hikes with or without a backpack.

Waterproofing

The Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort Footwear (72% PA / 28% PES) membrane does its work just marvelously as far a waterproofing is concerned. Two whole days, one in the pouring rain and one walking through snow all day, and completely dry feet. Certainly on the first day, a number of the other members of our team had completely soaked shoes, socks and feet.

Conclusion

The Mammut Magic Guide GTX High is comfortable with no friction points. The boot offers all the essential features what to expect for a mountaineer shoe at this price point. An important pro is that the boots are light (891 grams – size 40) and multi-usable. More than worth the investment.

Mammut Magic Guide High GTX
mountaineering boot

Retail price: € 420,-

2 COMMENTS

  1. Ive been looking around the web but couldn’t find a good review until I jumped to this site. So how are the fitting? It’s like Sportiva B5, narrow or wide? Are they really comfortable for long trekking AND mountaineering in step mountains? I’m going to Kazbek and concern if the insulation is good or not? I project like -10 to -15 with heavy wind so chillfactor are not included. Do they keep warm in that temperature? Looking at Kazbek there will me long hour with relative flat uphill until the “fun” begins with 30 degree and 45 degree “climbing”. So I really want a shoe that does well in both environment. Regards Deniz

    • Hi Deniz, thanks for your reaction. I can’t answer all your questions exactly unfortunately. But here goes:
      – I have not worn of used the Sportiva B5, but to my feet they fit really, really well. I have neither a really narrow nor a very wide foot. So I would say it is fairly regular as far as width is concerned.
      – I would suggest that it is comfortable for long trekking and mountaineering alike.
      – We have not used the shoe at length in the more extreme temperature range you describe. The circumstances for us where around -8 with a lot of wind, walking through snow, and they did very well. I combined it with a pair of thicker merino wool socks and was very happy with the performance.

      I hope this helps!

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