In more welcoming conditions one would ideally be leaping effortlessly from boulder to boulder. However, the slabs
of rock currently underfoot were proving to be quite troublesome. In their favour, they afforded me surety of access into the upper reaches of this overgrown South Westland jungle. With the creeks being mostly devoid of the dense vegetation, one should really just be thankful for
the right of passage. However, working against me was that during these frosty and icy mornings, these boulders can guarantee to be a recipe for an utter disaster.
Wearing adequate footwear during times such as this cannot be overstated enough. As it turned out, this was only the first day of a 12-day hunt in New Zealand’s West Coast mountains. I felt assured that the next couple of weeks will prove to be an ideal testing ground for the Lowa Tibet GTX boots that were currently on my feet....
When traversing mountainous terrain the equipment you choose to carry/wear need be robust and practical. At the top of the importance list are your boots. Have them fail you on a backcountry mountain excursion and you’re bound
to experience a degree of hardship that you could otherwise have clearly done without. On the other hand, have them work in your favour and you’ll experience a degree of confidence and surety with each and every bounding step.
With a hand crafted manufacturing pro- cess spanning over 90 years Lowa pride themselves on their gear and a traditional German heritage. Years of providing have forged a reputation that’s offered Lowa much acclaim. Accepting a pair of Tibet GTX boots for review just happened to work in favourably with a solo trip into New Zealand’s Westland mountains that
I also had planned. However, before attempting to tackle such terrain in a new pair of boots, it’s always wise to first
break them in. With that in mind, I quickly arranged a 7-day backpack trip into the Victorian high country.
Before taking receipt of these boots I did my usual investigative research to see how the Tibet GTX would stack up on paper against some of the other applica- tion specific boots I’ve worn.
Comprising of 2.4-2.6mm Nubuck leather, the Tibet GTX features a high walled rub- ber rand that’s well suited to dealing with the kind of punishment that mountain hunters with laden packs will dish out to boots. In uneven and rocky terrain such features are most definitely important. The Tibet GTX comes equipped with a myriad of features to help you get the best out of your boot wearing experience. Notably, foot comfort is assured by the use of a Gore-Tex liner, assuring they are waterproof/ breathable. Once again this is crucial, especially considering the kind of terrain that these boots are designed for.
The tongue and lacing system ex-
hibit notable features that are also worth mentioning. This includes a patented
C4 tongue, developed in a way to offer comfort especially over the instep. The featured tongue exhibits an x-lacing stud to better support a centered tongue
and also provide overall balanced force distribution. The lacing lugs feature ball bearings to help provide quick and easy speed lacing, whilst the I-lock cams are especially useful in maintaining lace tension and assuring lacing differentially.
The featured stabiliser is full length at 5mm from heel to forefoot and exhibits
a PU layer for added underfoot support. The Tibet GTX feature a midsole made
of a polyurethane construction with incorporated SPS Dynamic TPU ele- ments that offers superior durability and mileage. Its suggested that the midsole will also aid in correct foot support and
is a feature that can also be helpful in preventing injury by addressing the issue of foot over-pronation and supination. Lastly the addition of a Vibram® Masai sole will aid in assured underfoot support and traction. With well-defined lugs, the sole serves especially useful in unstable and on rocky ground.
The Lowa Tibet GTX are ‘strap-on’ cram- pon compatible, they come in a natural sepia/black color, arrive in at a height of 230mm and weigh 1800 grams (pair).
To achieve a proper impression of how practical these boots would be in my mind required that they be tested in
the kind of environment that they were specifically designed for. Multi-day travel whilst carrying a heavy pack in truly mountainous terrain creates a heavy burden on you and your gear and will undeniably leave a lasting impression on all of your equipment, especially your boots! They of all things will take a good load of the punishment that’s dished out during the rigors of mountain travel.
As previously mentioned, my preliminary trip for these boots involved a 7-day back- pack hunt into Victoria’s Alpine National Park. Using a trackless spur to gain an elevation of 1300m meant that the Lowa Tibet GTX’s were about to receive a good deal of use and some abuse. It need also be mentioned that I had very little time
to break these boots in prior to this trip. Other than some light urban travel and Stair-Master work at the gym, these boots were going into the mountains pretty fresh and green! In the forefront of my mind I knew that taking brand
new boots of this nature could ultimately be a recipe for disaster. However, I was certainly encouraged by how the boots had felt during my short time wearing them and especially how well that their somewhat lighter sibling, the Lowa Ranger lll GTX had performed during a previous review that we completed in Arrowhead Magazine.
Well, to say that the Tibet GTX performed well on that trip would be an understate- ment. From my short spell wearing them I felt reassured by their stability and support. Best of all, I received no inclina- tion of hotspots let alone any blisters. This alone left me feeling encouraged
to further evaluate them, especially as l prepared for the unforgiving surrounds of New Zealand’s West Coast mountains. During the New Zealand excursion many kilometers were travelled carrying a well-laden pack in some pretty unforgiv- ing terrain. Many days were spent in
the creeks; constantly having the boots submerged in water also meant that they were waterlogged from day one.
With that in mind, the surety they provided underfoot gave me needed confidence to climb the upper mountain reaches. Being stiff enough to not have you feel the boulders underfoot is crucial, especially as you bound from rock to rock. Likewise, not having them so stiff that you feel like you’re walking on planks of wood is just as important in order to maintain adequate foot health during your mountain undertaking. From days and days of track travel, creek bashing, through to negotiating shingle slides, the Lowa Tibet performed flawlessly and gave me no reason for concern.
To round up, I can pretty much say without reservation that I wasn’t at all to be disappointed with my time wearing these boots! With a combination of heavy rain and nail biting frosts that were expe- rienced during 12 days of fairly intense mountain travel, the Tibet GTX lived up to its expectations. What solidifies this in my mind the most was that during my time on the mountain wearing them,
my attention was never bought back to my boots other than for praise. This in itself warrants admiration, as I was able to continue on with the important task
of trekking and searching for mountain game. In a demanding and unforgiving place like South Westland this for me
was surety enough! If your application warrants boots that need be robust, stiff enough underfoot and hard wearing, be sure to not exclude the Lowa Tibet GTX in your search for a capable mountain boot.