Boreal Ace - First Generation


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Sport climber
Durango, CO
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 20, 2009 - 11:20pm PT
I was digging through some old shoes the other day looking for something which would fit a friend who wants to try climbing, when I came across my old Boreal Aces. They were the first pair of brand new (not used) climbing shoes I ever bought. And they are still my favorite ever. They have been through 13 or 14 resoles, four rands and countless routes. If I'm not mistaken, they were a Bacher design - and they were FANTASTIC!

I finally retired them, thinking they were at their end. I bought some second generation Aces, but they were different. They just never stretched out or broke in like the original version.

So now, about a dozen pair of other shoes later, my Aces have new laces and I'm excited to get out and climb in them again. Maybe they can make it through another couple sets of soles...


Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Oct 20, 2009 - 11:58pm PT
Boreal Ballets - best shoe EVAR (high top of the ACE)

Boreal Ballet Golds - decent, but just didn't feel the same, still better than lots of others.


Big Wall climber
Phoenix, AZ
Oct 21, 2009 - 12:01am PT
I ran across mine last weekend while moving. They were the 2nd pair I ever owned and definitely one of my favorite for long trad routes.


Sport climber
Durango, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 21, 2009 - 12:29am PT
First gen vs second gen:

Only small differences, and I know the second gen Aces ROCKED too, but they just never felt quite as great.

Pate - I wish I would have gotten some Vectors. Everyone I knew who had them, loved them. And yeah, now I know that when I find something that fits so well, to buy several pair!

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Oct 21, 2009 - 12:39am PT
oh snappadellic, yeah Vectors were DEElux. I think I did some of my hardest onsights in them. Couldn't wear em for too long those first years.

I still have em though. hrm, resole...

Trad climber
pacific beach, ca
Oct 21, 2009 - 12:45am PT

I concur.

I bought two pairs around 1987.

Last year i took a pair to Locker for a resole, and he told me they were a gonner, so i am down to one pair now.

Shortly after i purchased my Aces I moved to CO, and went to Shelf Road for my first time.

I was with my friend , who was climbing at Shelf for the first time too.

We warmed up on some easier stuff, and started to look for some routes in the mid 11 range.

We ran in to Derek Hersey, and asked him where we might find something in our range to climb.

He recommended a wall and we headed over there.

We were in an area where all the walls sort of looked the same, and weren't really sure what we were getting on, but my friend decided to give it a ago. We figured it was around 11b.

My friend ends up backing off of it after struggling about half way up it.

It was Winter, the ground was covered with snow, and i was pretty cold, but I decided to give it a go.

I am able to climb it, but with great difficulty. I am thinking, what's wrong with these shoes? I clip the last bolt, totally flamed, and am counting the feet to the chains.

Right before i grab the chains, i rip. I fall past 3 bolts and wonder WTF is my belayer doing, and when am i gonna stop?

He finally does catch me, and i look down and laugh. He was belaying me from a rock off to the side of the route, to get off the snow. I had dragged him through the snow to the base of the route, and he had left two deep tracks, that reminded me of Fred Flintstone's brakes.

The route didn't seem that steep, but i never hit the wall on the way down.

I got back up on it, and finished the route.

When i came down, i told my friend that that was the hardest 11b i had ever been on.

A couple other people were near by and had heard my comment, and replied that it wasn't an 11b. Oh great, i am thinking, i can't even climb 5.10 without falling?

They tell me the name of the route is Unusually Stormy Weather, or something like that, and the route is rated 12b or c.

I am staring at my partner, and then we just started laughing.

Derek walks by, and i yell at him...I just climbed a 5.12!

He reply's...........It's the shoes!

I believe he was right.

Mountain climber
La Mancha
Dec 14, 2010 - 08:44am PT
So I loaned out my wife's pair to a friend and now they're stretched out. My wife is more than a little upset and I want to buy her a replacement pair, but of course they're not available. What would be a good replacement shoe?

Dec 14, 2010 - 10:55am PT
I still have mine but don't wear em. Seem to remember them bein' pretty damn hot in the sun. But nice blast from the past!



Trad climber
Dec 14, 2010 - 11:00am PT
Luv em. Best all around shoe ever.
tom woods

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
Dec 14, 2010 - 11:23am PT
I loved the Aces. After Aces, I moved to blue Kuaks for cracks and lasers for thin cracks and sport.

I also loved the vectors, but shoes have changed. The Sportiva miura works better for me than the vector by a long shot.

I recently had a chance to buy a pair of almost new Vectors at the Mammoth Mountaineering used store in Bishop. I tried them on for old times sake, and really couldn't see what I used to like about them.

I did buy an pair of Kuakulators that were in great shape.

All the black aces that are out there are getting pretty old and beat up. Odds of finding a new pair are slim.

How were the red/pink aces? I never had those.
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Dec 14, 2010 - 11:26am PT
The Ace is still advertised on the Boreal website. Different styling, but maybe not different performance or fit. Perhaps something like Neptune's would have them, or you could mail order them.

Gym climber
Dec 14, 2010 - 11:38am PT
Talk about hot in the sun, these Secret Weapons *made* you climb in the shade:

Synthetic black uppers (oooh, what's that smell??). But they fit like sprayed-on gloves.

I cherished my Ace's for years, then went to buy a new pair. Got the "new and improved" model, those red cement blocks. Never, never the same.

Two Jokers and a pair of Aces.

To what event does this phrase refer?
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Dec 14, 2010 - 11:42am PT
I bought three pairs of Aces off ebay this year and two were brand new! Got some green-heel new 43s. The rubber felt sticky. Took them up Great Circle Route in the Tmds. Felt great going up the initial crack, but on the little edges on the face they were sliding. Looked down and I was trailing bits of rubber. Was halfway through the sole by the time I got to the first belay bolts. Put some C4 on them after that trip and climbed the rest of the summer with them.

You notice a lack of sensitivity in the Aces after climbing in more modern shoes, but for cracks and some kinds of edging they are pretty hard to beat.

As I've posted before, my son loves them outdoors.

EDIT: K-man that was the line from a Boreal ad with Peter C. and Dave S. in the meadow with El Cap in the background.

Gym climber
Dec 14, 2010 - 11:49am PT
Mike, at first I remembered it as something different, but now I've gotta think--I believe you're correct, Shultz and Croft. After grabbing the Nose speed record.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Dec 14, 2010 - 12:30pm PT
Loved those Aces!!! They fit like a glove.


The concrete blocks...note the lack of wear and tear. They felt like they were breaking my feet in half. Couldn't even wear them to beat them up in the gym.

Still looking good!

These rule!

Not sure where my Ballets are at the moment, but those things are awesome too! Loved those Boreals!!

Trad climber
Dec 14, 2010 - 12:33pm PT
La Sportiva Tao's are still my all time favorite shoes, perfect fit.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Dec 14, 2010 - 12:36pm PT
I didn't realize it was allowed to use non-bright-green laces on aces

Social climber
Boulder, CO
Dec 14, 2010 - 01:52pm PT
Does anyone know of a mountain shop that carries a line of Boreal shoes. Preferably in CO, UT, NM, WY area?

Trad climber
In the mountains... somewhere...
Dec 14, 2010 - 01:57pm PT
A couple years ago we were talking about Tao's and I bought an old pair of 38 1/2s off Tarbuster. I sent them to Barry and had new soles and rands put on and did Shipoopi and The Bachar Yerian in them this summer. They will stand on anything and yet still have great feel.

Social climber
Boulder, CO
Dec 14, 2010 - 02:41pm PT
Neptune used to carry Cruxs as well. I bought their last pair, in my size, when they were getting rid of them. I have a pair of 2nd gen Aces I still use. I've used Boreals for years; but they are impossible to find these days unless you are looking for Ballets or Jokers. I guess I'll be mail ordering anything else??
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