Gear Review: La Sportiva G2 SM’s

La Sportiva G2 SMWhoever said you can’t climb technical routes in double boots has not worn the La Sportiva G2 SM. The ‘G2’ stands for Gasherbrum II while ‘SM’ stands for Simone Moro, world class Italian Alpinist known for his bold winter ascents on 8000m peaks… and if they are good enough for Simone, they are good enough for me!

Technical Performance
I bought my G2 SM’s for use in the Peruvian Andes as part of the Vertical Year, but the first test would be here in the Canadian Rockies. Double boots are notorious for providing warmth yet being a major let-down when it comes to performance on technical terrain. Not these bad boys – I have lead WI5 in these and followed several pitches of WI6, including Nemesis on the Stanley Headwall. If that doesn’t qualify as technical terrain, then I am in the wrong game!

To be fair, I have not climbed a lot of technical rock in them, however the refined edges and the light weight of the boot inspire confidence. My only cause for concern is the width towards the toe which is slightly greater than a single boot. From a technical perspective, I have no worries at all about taking these to the Peruvian Andes or anywhere else in the world.

Weight
Weighing in at a measly 1024g, the G2 SM’s are the lightest double boot by far – significantly lighter than the Spantik and only a fraction heavier than La Sportiva’s popular summer boot, the Nepal Evo Cube. I own a pair of Evo Cubes and love them, but I don’t like hiking in them. The G2 SM’s have been a pleasant surprise on long approaches here in the Canadian Rockies – stiff enough to hike up steep snow, yet supple enough to deal with rock slabs. At the end of the day, it’s really nice to climb without the feeling of having two cinder blocks attached to your feet!

Comfort
The inner boot is super comfortable, made from 6mm Polyethylene (PE) Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) foam which provides warmth and comfort. Being a double boot, they are completely removable which means you can easily dry them out in your sleeping bag when on overnight missions, avoiding the hassle of attempting to put on frozen boots in the morning.

The author putting the G2 SM’s through their paces on the Murchison Falls (Photo by Jaz Morris)

In regards to warmth you get what you would expect from a quality double boot. When I first arrived in the Rockies temperatures were consistently below -250C. Thankfully these boots kept my feet warm and it was only after standing around in ankle deep snow for an hour or so at the belay did I start to get cold toes… not totally surprising. Even on the coldest of days where it got to -330C, I was in relative comfort.

Lacing
Another feature that I absolutely love about these boots is the dual Boa lacing system – super easy to tighten before climbing or loosen off while at the belay station to allow blood circulation to return to your toes. Best of all, you can easily do this with your gloves on, meaning your hands stay warm as well.

Sizing
I wear a sneaker size of US 9 – 9.5 (Euro 43-44) so my G2 SM’s are Euro size 45 to allow for foot swelling at altitude and improved warmth. In my experience, La Sportiva sizes are larger than most so consider your size carefully before making a purchase.

Cost
Such a stellar pair of boots are not going to be cheap. They generally retail for around $875 USD. This is certainly on the upper end of the spectrum, but in my opinion is good value for money considering the performance of these boots. If you are planning on doing some winter climbing or embarking on expeditions above 5,500m, I cannot recommend the La Sportiva G2 SM’s highly enough.

Summary
In the words of the great Simone Moro, “The G2 SM is the answer to a very simple question, what is the boot of your dreams?”

Josh Worley
April 2018

Thoughts? Opinions? Cries of dissent?