The long-awaited vibram-soled backcountry snowboard boots from Fitwell have transformed my winter mountain adventures. Rather than creaking around in hard ski boots or slipping about in soft boots I took to snowboarding in leather mountaineering boots, even trying no-boarding before finding these boots being made in Montebelluna in 2012. I think they are the most significant advance in mountaineering safety for anyone who enjoys climbing up and sliding down mountains.
Whilst you will find folk using them without overboots in the Himalaya (Leila Peak, anyone?), I find them just warm and dry enough for Scottish touring above the snowline. Obviously, spring conditions and boggy walk-outs will soak and dis-colour these ice-white uppers but I like to watch this wee film to remind me of the care and tradition that went into their construction.
Now in their third season, I’m enjoying them most often in the back corries of Nevis Range ‘sidecountry’, touring northwards towards Fersit along the Grey Corries, or trying to repeat many of the gullies I first explored on skis on Ben Nevis.