Comparison: Scarpa Rebel Pro vs Ultra

The Scarpa Rebel Ultra and Rebel Pro are virtually identical boots. They share the same last, fit, insulation and, best as I can tell, the whole lower 2/3 of the boot – basically the part that encases your foot. Both boots have front and rear crampon bails, Gore-Tex waterproof linings and carbon-fibre insoles. They differ drastically in their upper construction. While the Pro has a traditional-style cuff with two lace hooks, the Ultra has a ‘floating’ cuff arrangement with the two lace hooks situated on two ‘detached’ wings that wrap around the ankle. The Ultra additionally has an integrated gaiter with two huge pull-tabs, which are rather necessary to pull the boot on.

Rebels_007The Rebel Ultra on the left, Rebel Pro on the right. Both boots appear identical below the ankle eyelet, though their soles are also different (in 2013).

For their 2013 release dates, the boots also featured different soles: the Pro used Vibram’s Mulaz S outsole, while the Ultra got the Vibram TT Lite. (Though for 2014, both boots are specced with the Mulaz S.)

Rebels_006The Ultra’s TT Lite sole on the left compared to the Pro’s Mulaz S. Both soles are by Vibram.

The TT Lite has slightly shallower lugs, and a marginally different lug arrangement. There is a prominent ‘climbing zone’ at the toe, and along the leading inside edge. The rubber compound appears to be as sticky as the Pro’s similar Mulaz S. The Mulaz S, currently shod on the Pro and coming to the Ultra in Spring 2014, is, at first glance, a much ‘beefier’ sole. The lugs are deeper and the pattern is more aggressive, with more prominent braking and omni-directional traction lugs. There is also a large ‘climbing zone’ at the toe and leading inside edge.

Rebels_008Showing the slight difference in lug depths between the Ultra (in the back, orange upper) to the Pro (in front, black upper). The rubber compounds also appear to be slightly different (notice the shine of the TT Lite sole on the Pro vs the matte, more foamy look of the Ultra’s Mulaz S).

Both boots have front and rear crampon bails, and the same amount of cushioning. In a size 43, the Ultra weighs 766 grams, compared to 761 for the Pro. The difference is negligible. Whatever magic Scarpa has played with the carbon-fibre insole is present in both boots: a rigid platform for climbing and front-pointing that somehow retains flexibility when walking. It is truly amazing and something that’s hard to describe until you experience it. Just imagine that these boots walk like a stiff, slightly bulkier trail runner, climb rock like a stiff ankle-top tradshoe, and scoot up ice and mixed like a heavier, warmer fruit-boot. Yes, they really are that good.

Rebels_009The wrap-around ‘wings’ of the Ultra contribute to their ankle flexibility.

So, which to choose? As I am fortunate enough to own both of these boots, here’s what I did: I sized the Ultra at 43.5 to accommodate thicker winter socks and the Pro at 43 for use with light- to mid-weight socks in the summer/fall. The flexible ankle of the Ultra makes it a better ice and mixed boot; it is easier to twist and turn your ankle around a front point in the Ultra than in the Pro. The Pro, on the other hand, offers slightly better support laterally around the ankle, making it a better rock boot, i.e. one in which you stand more over the toes and require less ankle flex. Also, due to the integrated gaiter, the Ultra is ever-the-slightest warmer and better for post-holing during those thigh-deep-snow slogs. Basically, I chose the Ultra as a warmer-day ice and mixed boot (I’m happy in them to -10C or so) and the Pro as a three-season-plus alpine boot. Keep in mind that both will do either equally well. As I wrote above, the Ultra is somewhat better at higher-grade ice and mixed where advanced moves are more common while the Pro will be better at edging on rock and will have better ankle support on slabby terrain. This is why I sized them differently: the Ultra to accommodate a slightly thicker sock, with room for kicking into ice; and the Pro for use with a light- to mid-weight sock for those Rockies alpine days where you really need to know where your toes are at. I hope all of this helps with your choice, somehow. If you do come up with some questions I haven’t answered, please do let me know and I’ll address them to the best of my ability!

Rebel_Ultra_003The Ultras in use on mixed ground at Haffner Creek, BC.

Note: Scarpa North America provided The Alpine Start with the Rebel Pro however this is no way influences our opinion of the product.

14 thoughts on “Comparison: Scarpa Rebel Pro vs Ultra

  1. ED says:

    I have a pair of the Rebel Carbon B2s and was thinking of getting either the Pro or the Ultra as well for general Alpine mountaineering, is the Pro the same as the Carbon but with the front toe bail? In which case I would probably go for the Ultra.

    How is the gaiter attached to the Ultra, is it the same style upper as the Pro but continues into the gaiter?

    • Raf says:

      The Pro is, as far as I can tell, the exact same boot but with added insulation (in the form of a Gore-Tex Insulated Comfort lining), a toe bail and a slightly different sole. Otherwise, the fit, height, lacing, etc. are all the same.

      As you have the Carbons, you already know what the upper construction of the Pro is like. I’ve tried to show what the Ultra’s cuff is like here: Basically, the two ‘winglets’ on the sides are not attached to the sides of the boot, making for a much more flexible upper. The gaiter rises out from the boot and is insulated on the inside.

      For general mountaineering, I think the Ultra would be slightly a better boot. The extra height of the gaiter prevents snow from entering the boots as easily, and the more flexible cuff is nicer for side-hilling. For gyour use, I would size the Ultra/Pro EU 0.5 bigger than your Carbons to accommodate a slightly thicker sock and to give your toes room when front-pointing.

  2. ED says:

    Thanks for the information. I was planning to go a full size up with the Ultras, my carbons are a very close fit, and only work with my thinnest socks, even then my toes more or less touch the end, I haven’t had a problem with them, but a large size would be better I think.

    Going back to the ankle cuff on the Ultra, underneath the gaiter at the same level as the “wings” is there any structure there? Is it effectively like the pro/carbon but the wings fold back?

    • Raf says:

      Yes, if your Carbons are that tight a full size up might be better. I wear my Carbons with a mid-weight sock and my toes just brush the end.

      There is no structure underneath the “wings,” it is just the insulation, etc. and the whole upper is very flexible due to there being no “outer” reinforcement material.

      • ED says:

        How heavily insulated are the Ultra’s? Do you think they would be too warm for summer alpine going up to around 5000m, and also glacier corssing and approaches? Ideally I would like to use them for summer and winter.

        • Raf says:

          I think they’ll be a perfect summer alpine boot, actually. They are super comfy to walk in and I think have just the right amount of insulation for 3-season use. Winter climbing is pushing the warmth of these boots, imo, unless it’s a really warm, sunny day.

          (Very much looking forward to using mine on some alpine climbs shortly!)

  3. Joe M. says:

    I’m retiring my old La Sportiva Nepal Evos and considering the Ultras or Pros as a replacement. How would you compare these two Scarpa boots with the Nepals in terms of warmth? (I live and climb in California, so I never have to worry too much about extreme cold.)


    • Raf says:

      The Ultra/Pro will definitely not be as warm as ‘traditional’ mountain boots like the Nepal Evo. How much colder? I can’t say – it really is so hard to quantify!

      If you don’t climb a lot in mid-winter (thinking around -20C here in Canmore) and aren’t prone to cold feet, I think the Ultra/Pro will serve you just fine. If you can find them, I’d recommend the Ultra – the built-in gaiter is really nice when slogging through deep snow.

  4. Dave says:

    Do you know when the 2014 Spring release day is for the new Ultras (with Mulaz sole)?

    • Raf says:

      As far as I know, this winter was the Ultra’s last season in North America. Unfortunately, whatever you can find in stock is what’s available, as even the warehouse is out of stock in the Ultra.

  5. ED says:

    Would you recommend using flex bars when using crampons on the Ultra? I have recently got a pair and they seem to be more flexible than my Rebel Carbons.

  6. Jesse says:

    I’m in the market for some new boots this year and the Rebel Pros are high on the list. I’ve got the Charmoz and they give me a great fit. Any idea how similar the fit of the Rebel is to the Charmoz?

    • Raf says:

      They fit the same length-wise, however the Rebel has a ‘snugger’ fit. It’s hard to explain – the neoprene sock-fit is a very unique feel (though one which most people really like). Hope this helps!

  7. Pingback: Review: La Sportiva Trango ICE Cube GTX - The Alpine Start

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: