The bigger brother to Scarpa’s three-season Rebel Carbon, the Rebel Ultra is a fully-featured boot for all-year alpine use: Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort lining, automatic-crampon compatibility and an integrated, mid-calf gaiter differentiate it from it’s smaller sibling.
The first thing everyone who picks up this boot remarks on is its weight, or rather, lack thereof: my size 43.5 / 10.5US weighs in at 804 grams per boot. Compare that to 1049 for a Phantom Guide (same size – 43.5/10.5US), 697 for the Rebel Carbon (size 43/10US) and 1062 for the Mont Blanc (size 42/10USW/9USM – my wife’s boots). Suffice it to say, the Ultras are exceedingly light!
The next best thing about the Ultras, and one that you won’t find out until you try them on, is their fit. Built on the same last as the other Rebel boots, they fit like a heavy-duty trail runner. Your foot feels very close to the ground, and the whole boot fits like a sock. Their lightness only adds to this feeling.
Constructed with Scarpa’s Sock-Fit technology, the tongue, instep and collar are all made from one piece of stretchy S-Tech Schoeller fabric. The instep has additional polyurethane ‘ribs’ injected over the top to alleviate, and distribute, pressure from the laces. Though the sock-like-fit is excellent, its inherently close fit does create a narrower-than-usual ‘tunnel’ through which to fit your foot. As an example, depending on which socks I’m wearing, I sometimes struggle to put on my Rebel Carbons due to the narrow fit through the collar of the boots. I suspect the Ultras will be a bit easier to put on due to the huge dual pull-tabs on the gaiter.
The upper cuff has a unique strap system which allows almost uninhibited lateral flex, while retaining good fore-aft stiffness. These feel like a fruit boot more than any other boot I’ve ever tried.
The unique upper cuff isn’t actually attached to the gaiter, but ends up anchoring the foot through the back, just above the heel, and across the tongue on the front. I think this is part of what contributes to the boots’ incredible lateral flex.
The lacing system is the same as on the Carbons, allowing a precise fit and easy fine-tuning of tension throughout the foot.
Though they are not as stiff as traditional mountain boots, based on my experience with the Rebel Carbons, I have no reason to doubt that they will climb very, very well indeed. And that includes both rock, and ice.
Fall alpine season is still a few weeks away, but stay tuned for an update on their actual climbing prowess as soon as weather allows!
This year’s (2013) Ultra’s have Vibram’s TT Lite sole. Next year’s (2014) models switch to the Vibram Mulaz S sole (which is composed of stickier rubber, and is similar to that found on the Rebel Carbon).