Ross Hewitt

Extreme sportsman

 

Throughout this winter I have been putting Lenz’s heat sock 5.0 toe cap to the test to see how it performs in the disciplines of ski mountaineering and technical winter climbing. Both sports have specific demands on clothing systems; the high aerobic nature of ski mountaineering cause a build up of sweat on the climbs which then overcools your feet once you are stationary or descending. Whereas technical winter climbing may involve being stationary at a belay for several hours while your partner inches up a hard pitch of climbing. This is when you want your clothing systems to really work for you.

I spent 10 weeks of this winter in Scotland training for the UK’s IFMGA winter test that involves technical mixed climbing on snowed up rock. Scotland is a perfect testing ground for clothing as its ultra harsh environment will find out the weaknesses. Saturated air and sub zero temperatures means everything can get coated in rime ice and even your eyelashes will start to freeze up. High winds cause severe wind chill and the resulting spindrift is like being up a freezing cold shower. Down insulation just gets soggy and synthetics and wool dominate.

I used the heat sock 5.0 toe cap continuously over the period with a couple of excursions back to the Alps to ski for myself and also to undertake the British Mountain Guides ski tour training.  Throughout, my feet have been in Scarpa Phantom Techs, Scarpa Mont Blancs or Scarpa Evo F1 boots.  The main difference between the heat sock 5.0 toe cap and its predecessors is focused on the position of the heating element. In the original models the cables and element were positioned under the foot whereas in version 5.0 toe cap they run over the foot and the element wraps over the toes. This eliminates any sensation of something being under the foot and I have found this a big improvement over the previous versions. While it was never uncomfortable having something under the foot, it did feel slippy when trying to put a lot of pressure through my toes onto the front points of a crampon.  The other benefit is there are no cables running under the foot.

In conclusion the new version performed brilliantly with no issues throughout the whole winter and a skin contact comfort level that meant I couldn’t tell the difference between a heat sock and a normal sock. Indeed this is a quality product that has become one of my essential go to pieces of kit. Thanks Lenz!

 

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