Product Preview- Arc’teryx AR Mountaineering Boots and Cassin Blade Runner Crampons

While I am excited about all the products I’ll be testing this winter I am perhaps most stoked to put this duo together and get on some early season ice as soon as possible! I’m hoping I’ll get enough field days in to have a full review post for each by early-mid January. I realize though by then a lot of ice climbers may have already geared up and wanted to share my first impressions on these before the season arrives.

Let’s start with a preliminary look at the new Acr’teryx AR Mountaineering Boots.

Arc'teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boot Review
Arc’teryx Acrux AR Mountaineering Boots

“A pinnacle of design for mountaineering, ice and mixed climbing, the Acrux AR is the lightest, most durable, and lowest profile insulated double boot available.”- Arcteryx.com

That is a strong statement, and it happens to be true. Let’s compare some of the other lightweight double boots on the market:

La Sportiva Spantik (88.96 oz/pair)

La Sportiva Baruntse (82.96 oz/pair)

La Sportiva G2 SM (72.22 oz/pair)

Scarpa Phantom 6000 (70 oz/pair)

Arc’teryx Acrux AR (69.1 oz/pair)

This is actually less than an ounce difference than my La Sportiva Batura 2.0’s that I reviewed last winter here.

LaSportiva Batura 2.0 Review
LaSportiva Batura 2.0 Review

The obvious difference here between these and my Batura’s is that these have a removable liner.

ACRUX AR MOUNTAINEERING BOOT Review
ACRUX AR MOUNTAINEERING BOOT PREVIEW
ACRUX AR MOUNTAINEERING BOOT
ACRUX AR MOUNTAINEERING BOOT removable liner

These liners “feel high-tech” in hand. I wore them around the house and they feel like a comfy slipper designed for astronauts. From arcteryx.com:

“Arc’teryx Adaptive Fit technology uses a removable bootie that employs stretch textiles and minimal seams to create an instant custom fit with no pressure. With protection extended beyond the cuff of the boot and the highest level of breathability in this category, the bootie’s GORE-TEX® membrane optimizes climate control and waterproof benefit. The perforated PE foam’s quick dry properties improve comfort, and a rubberized sole allows the bootie to be used as a camp shoe.”


Arc’teryx partnered with Vibram®  and created the AR outsole using Vibram® Mont rubber which keeps its frictional properties in sub-zero temps.

Arcteryx AR Mountaineering Boots Preview
The Vibram® AR outersole uses Vibram® Mont rubber to perform well even in extreme cold

“The specially developed Vibram® AR outsole is designed for support and sure footedness. The tread and construction feature a semi-blocked toe, with anti-slip grooves, a medial climbing support zone, and heel created to provide braking on steep descents. The Vibram® Mont rubber compound maintains its performance in sub-zero conditions.”


I’ll share a promotional video on the boots and move onto the crampons I’ll be pairing with them this winter!


CASSIN Blade Runner Crampons

CAMP Cassin Blade Runner Crampons
Cassin Blade Runner Crampons

These are the most aggressive fully adaptable to any situation crampons I have seen. I used to love my older Petzl M10 crampons because I could swap out the front points for either dual, mono, or mono-offset. The Blade Runner’s do all that but CAMP also makes optional “snow points” so you can turn your vertical ice crampon into a multiple purpose mountaineering crampon. It really does make these incredibly versatile! My demo pair arrived set for offset mono and I plan to test them that way first with our thin early season ice conditions. Included with the crampons were two more vertical front points and semi-automatic toe bails allow for use on boots without rigid toe lugs.

CAMP Blade Runner Crampons
Included extra parts

Fit

How well a crampon can attach to your boot is paramount. You want them to feel like they were designed for each other and no one else. Right out of the box the fit on the Acrteryx AR was quite good. There is plenty of adjust-ability to make it “perfect” starting with three possible toe bail positions, two possible heel lever bar positions, full vertical adjustment on the heel lever itself, and, something I haven’t seen before, the asymmetric bottom that more closely follows the contours of the boot outer-sole.

CAMP Cassin Blade Runner Crampons
CAMP Cassin Blade Runner Crampons- a snug fit
CAMP Cassin Blade Runner Crampons
Vertical heel lever adjustment

Obviously we can’t talk much about performance just yet but they are definitely a very aggressive crampon! One could argue this is a 19 point crampon (20 if set up in dual front-point mode). The design looks like it will excel on steep & cauliflower ice.

CAMP Cassin Blade Runner Crampons
Cassin Blade Runner Crampons- aggressive, included anti-balling plates

The front points are made from Chromoly Steel and taper from 5mm down to 3mm. A “wear indicator” of sorts lets you know when it’s time to swap in new front points.

CAMP Cassin Blade Runner Crampons
CAMP Cassin Blade Runner Crampons

Well that’s it for my first impressions. I absolutely can not wait to start putting these to use this winter. I’m also reviewing the Camp Cassin X-All Mountain Ice Tools and the Camp Cassin X-Dream Ice Tools.

CAMP USA Cassin Ice Tools/Crampons
Things with sharp points

Think the Arcteryx Acrux AR boots might be good for you?

You can purchase them on Amazon here. Ordering through that link will help support this blog.

Stay tuned this winter for lots of gear reviews and giveaways! I’ll be raffling off brand new climbing harnesses, ice screws, carabiners, and more. Don’t miss a review or giveaway! Subscribe/Follow this blog at the top right so you get all the details!

See you in the mountains,

Northeast Alpine Start

7 thoughts on “Product Preview- Arc’teryx AR Mountaineering Boots and Cassin Blade Runner Crampons

  1. I agree its a great boot, hands down the most comfortable double I’ve worn, very warm, flexible and with an amazing attention to detail. Really just wish it fit other crampons well. Used it with the Blade Runners last winter and they where pretty good but I prefer Grivel G20’s or Petzl Darts (why pair the lightest double boot on the market with one of the heaviest crampons?) and I found both bounced out of the ice/where leveraged out by the bulbous toe which overhangs the front welt. Def some room for improvement.

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    • Thanks for the comment Ben! You bring up an interesting point I will probably elaborate on in my final review. The pairing of a heavier crampon with one of the lightest boots might seem odd, but I actually have a theory here. When approaching/hiking it’s obvious we all want light footwear, but when I am climbing vertical ice I actually like a bit more mass on my feet. To me it seams I can kick efficiently with less effort and let the added weight/momentum of the crampon provide a solid “stick”. Same reasoning why some add pick weights to their ice axes.

      I compared the “bulbous” toe just now to my Batura’s and I think it’s only about a 2mm difference, so I have two suggestions to combat the “bounce out” you’ve experienced. First, try moving the front bail to its furthest back position. This gives you much more clearance, but makes them less comfortable while walking flat terrain. Second, drop those heels more on your kicks! Your goal with each kick in vertical ice should be a boot that is pointing slightly upward when the front points make contact. This should reduce the dreaded bashing of the toe of the boot, and isolating the ankle after the stick should prevent any leveraging out of the front points. Of course I’m offering this advice without having actually climbed in them yet!

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      • Wish it was my technique! Tried BD bails on the Darts (best setup for more secondary point I’ve found) and that didn’t help either. Too bad. Will be interested to see what your take is on them when we have some ice. Happy climbing!

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  2. Awesome website & great photography! I look forward to reading your final review as I just purchased a pair of G2 SMs and Blade Runners. Just curious what some of the differences will be.

    It’s cool that a fellow East Coaster and fellow Marine started a climbing blog. Hope we all get some climbable, early season ice in the next several weeks!

    Get Some!

    2nd Battalion, 1st Marines (2/1) : 2002-2006

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    • Thanks Chris! The G2 SMs look sweet and I hope to get a chance to review those at some point too. Semper Fi brother! 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines, 2nd Mar Div 1996-2000

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  3. Hi Dave,

    Have you gotten out in these boots this season? How do they climb steeper ice compared to the Baturas? Some people have mentioned the Arc’teryx boot feels a little softer.

    Thanks!

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