Friday, May 29, 2015

Scarpa Booster S Shoe Review - The steep climbing weapon

There there is a new pair of kicks in the Scarpa arsenal that I think more people will really sink their feet into more than the others- that is the Booster S.  I really wanted to get a good feel for this shoe because at first glance it looks a lot like the Boostic and Instinct VS had a baby.  But au contraire this shoe is a very different beast.  This shoe is a precision steep climbing weapon and it is not just a softer version of the Boostic like others have claimed it to be- the shaping and feel are most certainly different between the two shoes.  Sizing is consistent between both shoes- which which for me is a 40.5.  The break in time was much less as I assumed it would be with the Booster S than with the Boostic.

Scarpa Booster S

It looks very similar to the Boostic at least in appearance but if you put the two right next to each other you will notice that they are very different.  The shape of the Booster S is much more downturned for super precise foot placements than the somewhat flat-footed Boostic. So while the Booster S is indeed softer than the Boostic, it also has a completely different construction and shape.  Check out these side by side photos comparing each shoe.

Toe compare
Booster S (left) Boostic (right)

Sole Comparison
 Booster S (bottom) Boostic (top) 

Downturn Comparison
Boostic (right)  Booster S (left)
Notice how much more aggressive the Booster S is!

Top down Comparison
Booster S (top)  Boostic (bottom)
Notice again how aggressive the Booster S is, because it is so aggressive it does not sit flat like the Boostic on a flat surface.

The next major thing that is the difference is the rubber in these shoes.  The Booster S uses the super sticky and softer Vibram XS Grip 2 which is insanely sticky and long lasting as well.  The first time I tried this shoe on in the gym I immediately noticed the huge difference between this rubber and the XS Edge which the Boostic uses.  It is much softer smears and definitely sticks better.  It does deform a little bit more when doing serious edging and slab work compared to the XS Edge Rubber on the Boostic but it sticks better - that is the trade off.  We will get more into that later.

Closure System
The closure system is virtually the same between each shoe.  The alternating Velcro closure really keeps the shoe tight and stable with no weird bunching or pressure points even for me I have a very high instep and arch.

Rand System
This shoe has a very interesting active rand system called the Tri-Tension system that is combined with a thin support ribbon that is basically a very minimalist sole.  This gives a ton of power too the forefoot and toe with also just enough stiffness for extra stability while edging.  The Tri-tension system appears to be a blend of between the V-tension the Boostic uses and the X-Tension that the Stix uses.  Despite my looking into it I have yet to figure out how the tension in this system works.  All I know it creates a rare blend of shoe that is both slipper like and stiff in the toe.

For those with questions on what exactly Active Randing the insert below is directly from Scarpa regarding the subject.

SCARPA Active Randing Principles  
·         Working by hand, Italian craftsmen skilfully pre-stretch special shapes of die-cut rubber; these become our Active Rands and form an integral part of the shoes construction.
·         This specialized process effectively spring loads the shoe, with elasticity which is then stored as energy within its structure.
·         Each different shoe cradles the foot in its own way. This provides strategic support, allows dynamic adaptation, and promotes natural movement of the foot.
·         The result is an active environment where the pre-generated power can be intelligently distributed onto footholds, where it is applied with precision.
·         Active Randing is designed by Heinz Mariacher exclusively for SCARPA

The heel in this shoe feels very similar to the Boostic.  It does have a softer more flexible feel (likely do to the difference in rand construction)  for me at least so there is a bit more sensitivity for accurate placements.

Heel Compare
Booster S (left)  Boostic (right)
Down turned excellent on steeps
Vibram XS Grip 2 is a super sticky rubber smears very well
Good indoor and outdoor
Very Comfortable once broken in

Shoe can be painful in cracks because it is pretty soft and downturned
Durability maybe an issue.  I have had some delaming occur on the toecap due to toe hooking.
Vibram XS Grip 2 might not be as durable and long lasting as the XS Edge.

I really really like the Booster S for bouldering, gym climbing and sport climbing.  It can do just about everything well.  However on long routes or where any toe jamming is involved I prefer the more supportive Boostic.  Both are superior shoes and well worth a try.

Topping out the Eleven Star with the Booster S


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April round-up

April has been a good month. A fair amount of days in the woods, time exploring, and lots of new problems and projects. It's been super fun meeting a number of new folks this spring and touring the boulders. Lots of stoke in the woods.

Isolated Boulders session.

 Really happy to see Adam put this project to rest, a very nice addition to a great set of boulders.

Atonement FA

Jarred grabbed the 2nd ascent shortly after

Superbia Session:

Eastern Superbia Session:

new proj

Bird Beak Overhang House Proj



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Low snow levels = Isos Early

The warmer than typical Winter this year has enabled us to get up into some of the upper areas ealier this year.  Over the past couple weeks we have been able to get into the Isos a couple times.  The temps have been great and so has the climbing.

Kevin sticking the opening move on Tom's project
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

This weekend we had a large crew so we set to try and send some things that might take a little more paddage than normal.

This hanging slab has always looked incredible but the landing not so...
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Nasty pit stairstepped backbreaker fall awesomeness!
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Kevin eventually found the sequence to link the start out of the pit and persevered through the no-fall nightmare ahead.  Four skull and crossbones on the Fruh Highball Scale (FHS) ☠ ☠ ☠ ☠ for this one. 

Kevin on the FA of Heisenberg's Dream
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

I also finished off  Heisenberg's Dream and once is enough for me
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Thank God there is a jug on the top of this thing
Photo:  Jeremy Champion
 The rest of the crew set their sights on less ludicrous objectives.  At least in terms of danger.

Brady on a crazy mantle problem
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

"Mantles are a lost art." - Tom K.
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Sara on the FA of   "Hello, hello, radio tower"  I guess it pays to climb at Font
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Kevin on  "Hello, hello, radio tower" 
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

I also climbed out a sweet hood shaped feature but bailed right Naja.  Going left would be a 5 skull and cross bone problem FHS ☠☠☠☠☠ on very suspect nubbins.   Not today- punt!
Photo:  Jeremy Champion
 With a ton of pads we headed to the Highlander two skull and crossbones on the FHS ☠☠ but failed to remember the opening moves.  Once we figured them out we were pretty thrashed and could not find the gumption to go higher than about mid-way.

Ari on Highlander
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Highlander not enough focus for this one today - bummer
Photo:  Jeremy Champion
 To end out the day we ambled our way to the Upper Isos and gave Tom's Project a good go.  Kevin and Fruh both nabbed the pinch.  Fruh got very close topping this amazing problem out- next time.

Tom's Project (one day I will get that freaking hold)
Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Photo:  Jeremy Champion

Fruh at the new highpoint scoping out the blankness above.
Photo:  Jeremy Champion