There is something very comforting about slipping on your favourite pair of boots. Trust gained over years of adventure engraves their brand deep into our psyche, reassuring us when the going gets tough, like a child’s security blanket. Stepping from one footwear brand into another challenges our perceptions and threatens our security. So how will we cope now that the Raichle brand has disappeared?
Raichle disappeared in March 2009, but while the brand has gone from the shelves, happily the designers and their products remain, now rebranded as Mammut. So all the old favourites are still there, such as the Raichle Mount Trail and Raichle Scout for example – but now they are labelled the Mammut Mount Trail and the Mammut Scout. So we can breathe a sigh of relief as our trusty comfort blanket is still around; it just has a new logo.
Not content with rebranding all the Raichle boots, Mammut has added some new designs too, including the Monolith GTX. This is a particularly interesting 4-season model that is lightweight, crampon-compatible and ideal for mountaineering in the UK as well as abroad.
I packed a pair straight from the box for a trip up Pinnacle Ridge in the Lake District. Their high ankle cuff and full rubber rand do give the impression that they are relatively heavy. My pair weighed 1906g (pair, size 46), which, although being far from lightweight, is relatively good for the performance they offer.
Slipping them on they provided a very easy walking action, though they are fully stiffened to take C2 crampons. The high ankle cuff was very comfortable, while the fabric and synthetic upper hugged my feet.
The real benefit of this boot came when I started climbing up Pinnacle Ridge, a Grade 3 scramble. The boot performed superbly as it allowed easy foot placement, thanks to the dexterous feel of the sole. The stiff sole was ideal for scrambling on the more challenging sections, and the smooth climbing zone under the toe allowed even better grip on the tiniest of edges. The Vibram outsole provided a good level of grip too on looser turf, scree and mud. More importantly, while jamming the boot in the big corner crack of the crux on Pinnacle Ridge, the rubber rand proved its worth too, for better grip and longer-term wear resistance.
The Mammut Monolith GTX is not intended for everyday hill-walking, but for mountaineering and big scrambles it is excellent. So these will perform well on rocky summer routes and take you into winter. The label may have changed to Mammut, but those Raichle designers still know how to make a great boot.
Upper nubuck and textile; Gore-Tex waterproof lining
Sole Vibram Mulaz
Sizes 6-13 (men’s); 4-9 (women’s)
Crampon compatibility B2
Weight 1906g (pair, size 46)
Made in Romania
Stockist details – tel. (01625) 508218; www.mammut.ch
Verdict: The Mammut Monolith GTX is a relatively lightweight 4-season boot with superb climbing performance. But there are lighter and lower-priced options available. Overall, it’s an ideal scrambling /mountaineering boot for the UK and the Alps
Review by Graham Thompson
First published in Trail magazine June 2009