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Can the Capra Handle Mt. Monadnock?

03 October 2022

In early 2015, Michael Chambers (a high-altitude
mountaineer and ultrarunner) tested out the new
Capra hiking shoe on Mt. Monadnock, New Hampshire.

This is his story.

Lore has it that the Capra spontaneously combusted into existence moments after a mountain goat and centaur connected on an award-winning high five. Upon hearing of its powers, gear companies from all over the world flocked to see the Capra with their very own eyes, each hopeful to slap their brand upon its surface. After much deliberation, the goat and the centaur award-ed the Capra to Merrell, stating the well-known fact that, “Merrell invented the high-five, and therefore was the most practical brand for the Capra’s fast and nimble powers.”

Anytime I hear the word’s “Centaur” and “high-five” mentioned in the same sentence, I get a fuzzy feeling in my feet and I just want to dance. So dance I did and the next day two pairs of these bad boys magically arrived on my doorstep. Upon opening the box I instantly knew these shoes were special.

The first thing I did was let my dog Jack sniff them for imperfections. And as I expected they were flawless.

We all know looks and smells can be deceiving so I headed up to the mountains of New Hampshire to put them to the test.

Eighty miles northwest of Boston sits Mt. Monadnock, all 3,165 feet of her. Initially made famous by the writings of Emerson and Thoreau, Monadnock is known to be one of the most frequently climbed mountains in the world. It also happens to be my go-to peak when training for expeditions. Like the Capra, Monadnock has its fair share of mystery. High upon its slopes exists a cave known widely as Megalithia. Its whereabouts are unknown by the masses, but this summer, on a casual outing, I was inducted into this secret society. Distracted by good conversation, I have absolutely no recollection of the route we took and have been unable to find Megalithia since that day.

On Wednesday morning before work I strapped on my mid-height Capras and pointed my Honda CRV north towards Monadnock. We set ourselves a 3 hour time-limit to find Megalithia and gather all the important data needed to write this review.

Within moments of setting off on the trail it was clear that this shoe, although built for speed, was also very comfortable. The upper shoe practically molds to your ankle and provides just enough support so as to not be restricting. The vibram sole protected my foot from rocks and roots and the toe box is roomy enough to allow for the inevitable foot swell that comes with hard days on the trail. I was impressed with the weight of the Capras, they are light for a mid-height hiker: light enough that I could comfortably jog the flats.

As we charged up Monadnock in search of Megalithia a strange force settled upon me and before I knew it I was off the trail, whacking bush, and scrambling up a steep rock face. The Capra’s climbed seamlessly, and with each step my surroundings became more and more familiar. Now I can’t be sure that the Capra’s had anything to do with this, but we found Megalithia in no time at all. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.