Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Scarpa Charmoz - Destroyed (again?!)

I've had two pairs of Scarpa Charmoz. I needed a B2 boot for Ice climbing, knocking around in the UK, summer alpine trips, and, more recently, for bashing up local hills for Mountain rescue callouts.

The first pair got used in Ryukan for a week, teetering up a few low grade ice falls, and then during the next year I noticed that my right foot was getting wet- just on the toe area. Not so good. A pretty much brand new boot, that I really didn't wear very much, leaking already. I hadn't had a wet foot in a boot for years.

The offending boots- let in as much water as Fell shoes.
So I sent them back, and the Mountain Boot Company- Scarpa's representative in the UK sent me another pair. Which was very nice of them.
To be honest, the new ones really haven't had all that much use either. If I'm out and about on the hill I tend to use fell shoes. My workhorse boots for MR are a pair of Scarpa ZG10's, with the Charmoz only really coming out when I need to have a C2 crampon on (really, not very often), or when the ZG10's aren't dry enough to wear on a shout.

I used them in the Alps for the summer- just a week of knocking around in Bettmeyeralp and Grindlewald, (during which time I mostly wore fell shoes, or a pair of sandals), they've been up on Kinder and Bleaklow a few times, and I recently noticed that my right foot was getting wet.
Nothing too alarming about that, as I was getting a wet left foot as well- I put it down to the fact that I probably sweat quite a lot in my boots.
Charmoz and ZG10s- which are battered, but watertight. 

Out in Wales in August, I was wandering around doing some nav practice, and ended up with a very wet foot. Could have been down to the bog trotting, but I was wearing gaiters... and someone else I was with was wearing a pair of Scarpa Cristallos - which apparently have the same Goretex inner as the Charmoz. Is it just me sweating a lot then?

On Sunday I wore them for the first time in about 3 months for a recce up onto Kinder. My feet were fine, until I crossed a river, and the right foot, on the little toe, felt damp. Then cold. Then wet. The left foot was fine, and this continued all the way through the rest of the walk. Bummer. Left foot fine, Right foot cold and wet. Certainly not sweat, but from ingress of water.
That's the second pair of Charmoz that have been knackered. In the same place as well. Having spoken to a couple of others who have Cristallos, they don't seem to have had any problems at all - but the one other person that I know to have had Charmoz's has had leaking issues too. Same Goretex liner? Could it be something to do with the outer? I can't believe the problem is with how I walk. Can it?

I know all about keeping them clean, and making sure that dirt doesn't get ingrained into the goretex, especially under the laces and near the tongue folds, and correct care of the boots, so its not that. The fact that it's only one of the boots points to an issue with that particular goretex inner... can't believe its the same foot.

Old School Scarpa. Still waterproof - but not a lot of grip. 
I know I'm out of warranty, but the Mountain Boot Company have asked me to send them back to see if they can shed any light on the matter. I don't hold much hope, but I don't think I'll be buying another pair of Charmoz again.


  1. This may be a little late, but I bought a pair of Charmoz 4 days ago. During the first trip through a soaking wet trail crossing small rivers and generally wetness. They leaked. My feet were cold and wet. My friend had some similar style Mammut shoes and did not become nearly as wet.

    Perhaps there's something up with the Charmoz?

  2. I think that they went through a bad patch of fabrication. Apparently the goretex liners are exactly the same as in all the other scarpa boots, so theoretically there shouldnt be anything up with the liners. (Never heard of this issue with any other specific model of scarpas)

    Yeah. Went through 2 pairs with exactly the same problem, the 3rd pair appear to be doing better. To be honest theyve only been out twice, which isnt exactly a great test of their resilience, but they are doing better than their predecessors.

  3. So it's me from 25th (comment above) here.

    My shoes were sent back to the dealership and found to be defective. So it seems they are having problems!

  4. Aha! there you go. Just so you are aware... the replacement pair might be defective as well. Go out and try them and see what happens. It took 3 goes for me to get a pair that (I think) are waterproof.