Tough Enough To Take Bitter Cold - by Lisa Ballard

November 11, 2020

Normally, when the weather forecast calls for below-zero nights and single-digits days, torpor sets in. I curl up by our fireplace, boots and pack dormant by the door, until the temperature rises to a more humane level. Yet this past October, I was outside in that kind of crazy cold, hiking in Montana’s Snowcrest Mountains in search of an elk.

I’m not a weather wimp, but I have a healthy fear of frostbiting my feet. After my last bout, my doctor drew a line in the snow. “Freeze ‘em again, and you’ll lose a few parts,” he said. 

While my well-used feet aren’t aesthetically pleasing, I do like them fully intact, so I broke out my new LOWA Tibet Superwarm GTX boots.

With 400 grams of PrimaLoft insulation, they were my best chance for toasty toes, good support and trustworthy traction tromping off-trail.

The next day was equally arctic. The day topped out at 4 degrees. What’s more, my husband discovered mountain lion tracks. Had a lion pushed elk out of the area? That night a pack of wolves howled close by, also unwelcoming to wapiti.

On day three, I left our camp an hour before sunrise and hiked a couple miles to a sagebrush meadow to see if an elk appeared. Warm from the effort, I watched the first tendrils of light break above the mountains. Soon the sunrise painted the surrounding snow-covered peaks cranberry red. The red melted to pink and then to gold as the sun climbed higher. I marveled at the magnitude of the rugged land all around me, but with daybreak brought a creeping cold. I needed to move again.

I returned to camp, packed and headed home. There would be other, warmer chances to harvest an elk.

But I wasn’t disappointed. My feet had survived three frosty days, and I got to spend time in one of my favorite mountain ranges.

* The Tibet Superwarm GTX, available for women and men, is an insulated version of the perennial favorite Tibet GTX. This rugged boot is an ideal choice for cold weather hunting and backpacking. The Arctic Grip outsole is VIBRAM®’s most advanced cold weather traction system ever, providing extraordinary grip on wet, icy surfaces. Durably waterproof/breathable. The women's version is built on a women's-specific last for ultimate comfort and fit.