The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Monday, 23 September 2013

Friction GTX test/review

In 2011 Hanwag celebrated its 90th Anniversary with the slogan ’90 years of Alpine experience’. Hans Wagner, who founded and gave Hanwag its name was born in upper Bavaria, learning his craft of shoe making from his father and grandfather before him. Since then Hanwag has been synonymous across the globe for making quality outdoor footwear.

So Hanwag have a long distinguished pedigree for making good quality high end boots, although I'd never owned a pair! none have really caught my eye until now - the new
Friction GTX - It's a great looking boot, which I gave a run out for the first time this summer.

Well they've had as hard a season as they'll ever get, harder than some boots get in a lifetime! -  10 weeks Alpine climbing in the Swiss, French and Italian Alps guiding clients on long technical rock and mixed ridges as well as some classic North Faces, long hut walks & via Ferrata's..........culminating in a 3 week Expedition to the Tien Shan, Kyrgyzstan with shuttles up to ABC over glacier moraine & climbing virgin summits both on rock & snow/ice up to 4600m.

First Ascent - Peak Kechki Nurga Boelgon (Sunset Rock) 4600m, PD+, S/Ridge.
At-Bashi Range, Kyrgyzstan

The GTX offered superb protection in the upper by way of a hard wearing Leather/Cordura mix, which throughout the summer and away in the high mountains of Kyrgyzstan has shed the worst of the weather. 
The rubber rand that raps around the lower part of the boots gives the upper added protection and durability whilst also giving the boot a really comfortable and snug 'climbing shoe' fit and feel, helping to reduce any potential heel lift, whilst offering a more precise feel when climbing and cramponing.

The softer fabric around the cuff of the boot gives support but with added comfort and the quick and easy ‘double zone’ lacing system tailors the boot to create a great fit. 
The bellowed tongue and Gore-Tex lining keeps out the worst of the weather while keeping the feet cool in the middle of summer.

The sole is made from durable ‘Vibram Dolomit’, designed with a good tread, an ‘in-cut direction heel’ giving increased security on steep descents and a healthy ‘rocker’ under the forefoot making the long hikes into the remotest of huts a pleasure. The heel has a good deep ‘welt’ allowing for a ‘clip-on’ crampon to fix on securely. 

 First Ascent - Steep climbing near the top of Peak Cerberus ( 3 Headed Peak) 4365m, AD+, East Face/South Ridge. At-Bashi Range, Kygyzstan.

Climbing steeper rock, the boots felt neat & precise giving a nice stiff edge with plenty of security & feel through the well-designed Vibram sole unit.

It’s a great combination for summer Alpine Mountaineering with the gift of having a Duratherm insulated, Gore-Tex lining, meaning that even when on the highest Alpine summits your feet stay warm! I have to say I had some very cold days in the mountains this summer - minus 20 degrees on top of MT Blanc & similar temperatures with an added fierce cold north wind on the North Ridge of the Zinal Rothorn - probably the coldest I'd been all year! Hands freezing cold, feet warm!! 

The boots have had a hammering this last few months, but they still look great and ready to take on some mixed action this winter and another summer in the Alps next year.

The Friction GTX's are right up there with the best Summer Alpine boots available, it just needs to fit your feet! It fits mine with a little room for comfort – try it, you won’t be disappointed!

Stay safe

1 comment:

  1. Hi and thank you for the great review,
    I'm considering purchasing for general mountaineering. Moderate mixed routes and glacier treking. Alps and western US. Also heading to Ouray, CO to try ice climbing for the first time. Will these for for beginner/intermediate ice climbing? Thanks so much, great pictures!, best, Mary