A Long Term Review of the Scarpa Triolet Pro GTX
The Scarpa Triolet Pro GTX is a technical, three season mountaineering boot designed for use on technical alpine rock and ice. It was designed for comfortable use at all but the most extreme of conditions and strives to find a balance between durability and sensitivity. I've been testing the Scarpa Triolet GTX Pro for four years now and this is my long-term review of its aptitude as an all-round boot.
It has been highly regarded as an extremely comfortable and highly versatile (for beginners through advanced climbers) summer mountaineering boot with a respectable array of hi-tech features and a pricepoint, whilst not cheap, is not restrictive.
To gauge it's suitability in a variety of conditions I wore the boot for a long, hot and dry approach of Toubkal, Morocco (4,167m), a warm summer climb on the glaciers of Mont Blanc (4,810m), frigid snowy conditions on the Breithorn, Switzerland (4,164m), nimble rock climbing in the via Ferrata's of the Italian dolomites, fast alpine-style ascents Longs Peak, Colorado (4,346m), a snowy, multiday, winter ascent on Mount Rainier (4,392m) and countless skree bashes through the Canadian Rockies limestone.
Out of the box, the boots felt fantastic. The roomier toe box sufficiently accommodated my wider forefoot and allowed just enough wiggle room for the toes with thick wool socks without losing dexterity or feeling cumbersome. I expected the stiffer sole to feel clunky but was pleasantly surprised that I could perform an adequate vertical jump and not feel like an idiot in ski boots.
After four years these have retained their shape and still fit like a dream.
Long Approaches and Challenging Descents
I used the Triolets on jbel Toubkal in Morocco with great success. Beginning in the Sahara, the temperature began at 36C and became gradually colder. Despite the heat and the extended time spent in boots or he 2500m of elevation gain, I still did not develop any hot spots or blisters. As the terrain became increasingly vertical I found the stiff midsole helped to prevent calf fatigue and the articulated Tri-flex ankle made walking very easy.
Most climbing accidents occur on the way down so comfort and coordination can not be compromised. I've had a long history of problems with my big toe slamming in the front of football cleats for a couple of decades so I tried to descend as fast as possible and come to as many abrupt halts as possible.
I've never felt either toe pain or stress on the front of my shin, probably due to the ability to modify top of the foot and ankle lacing tension. I've been pleasantly surprised at how they performed under a wide variety conditions.
This boot is not build for cold weather climbing. With the right sock combination they could spend extensive time in snowy conditions and worked well for prolonged snowshoeing but once they have become wet they are no longer suitable for cold environments. As a non-insulated single leather boot, it simply isn't suitable for extreme cold and my toes have an ugly case of frost nip to attest to that fact. While the Gore-Tex liner does extend the period at which they are adequate, know that you will always be compromising when utilizing in cold, wet snowy conditions. They simply aren't winter boots.
Where I did find success was pairing them with neoprene overboots from Forty Below. I used the K2 Superlights, essentially turning a non-insulated single leather boot into an insulated double. This was incredibly useful in Morocco and Orizaba, as both climbs began in deserts and ended on glaciers and this allowed me to use one boot in both conditions.
The boot is compatible with semi-automatic or hybrid style crampons and I've tested them with Grivel Air Tech New‑Matic's, Petzl Vasak Leverlock's, Black Diamond Sabretooth's and most recently the Petzl Leopard, all of which fit extremely well with no compatibility issues.
I found the Petzl Vasak's to be the most natural combination. For general mountaineering and glacial travel, these felt like a natural extension of my body. Even with the crampons they felt light and agile, never causing me to doubt a foot placement or prematurely fatigue.
As it is officially a technical mountaineering boot and not specifically designed for ice climbing, I felt the early onset of turf toe after prolonged periods of hard front pointing during long ice climbs.
Whether climbing the iron rungs of the via Ferrata, sending a granite trad pitch or scrambling amongst loose scree, the Triolet did not disappoint. The Vibram sole was rugged and provided ample traction whilst hiking and the high-grip outsole with the "Climbing Zone" hit the right balance between of stiff and dexterous to let you navigate mixed pitches. When walking through sharp limestone skree the padded ankle and rugged full rand suede provided ample protection. I have had no complaints at all in the area.
Long Term Durability
I've been trying to wreck these boots for four years and am still unsuccessful. There is some minor rounding of the rubber at the toe but the lugs are fully intact and the climbing zone remains stiff. The rubber is easy to resole but what impresses me the most is the durability of the leather. Canadian limestone scree has the well know propensity to eat lightweight boots up. And after many Yam slides, moraine slides and bushwhacks, my Scarpa Triolets still look awesome, I suspect in large part to the full rand.
|Material||Non-insulated single leather|
|Uppers||2.8mm Perwagner Suede|
|Insoles||Pro-Fibre with added shanks|
|Outsoles||Vibram Mulax with climbing zone|
My Conclusion on the Scarpa Triolet
Scarpa knocked this one out of the park. This boot is comfortable, capable and compatible. It felt equally at home on legitimate rock pitches as it did on wet glaciers. But it is important to remember what this boot is made for. It is a three season (see also: summer) boot and is not suitable for the extreme cold of winter ascents or multi-day use without being properly dried. As it is not insulated, do not expect it to keep your toes warm below -10C and certainly don't allow yourself to be in a situation where your health could be affected by this. However, when used a a general, technical boot during summer climbing on rock or completing a snow-capped summit, you will be thankful for the comfort, durability and technical prowess demonstrated by the Scarpa Triolet GTX Pro.
There are lighter boots, warmer boots and better hikers but the Triolet will remain an excellent piece of kit in my arsenal. A great classic summer mountaineering boot for moderately difficult technical alpine rock and ice routes at altitude.
Has anyone else used the Scarpa Triolet? What were your thought? Let me know in the comments below.