(how much do your gaiters weigh?)
These are two of my favorite lwt single boots for winter use. For those that missed it in the Hot Aches Production of "Pinnacle", MacLeod was wearing the similar Phantom Guide (slightly heavier and may be a bit warmer/harder to dry, than the Ultra) while Turner was using the Trango Extreme GTX.
Given the option of either boot it is a hard decision on which to choose when looking at temps that will easily allow either.
Let me do a run down of my thoughts on each and let you choose.
I have long skinny feet with very narrow ankles. I a Size 45 in either boot. The Ultra has a slightly bigger toe box. Enough to notice. The Trango a slightly more snug fit in the over all foot. The Ultra a better fit in the heel for me...zero heel lift tightly laced or even a bit loose.
The Ultra offers marginally more ankle support...but the Trango certainly offers enough for steep ice and both offer great flexibility.
Both boots offer super sticky rubber soles with minimal lug height. Makes both brands of boot a little slick in some snow conditions. I have heard continual complaints now of the Trango having too narrow of a foot print and being unpleasant on trails..an "ankle twister". Hog wash was my first thought...but I heard it more than once and all from people I trust using the boot. Not something I personally experienced though.
The Ultra is a OutDry lined boot. The Trango a Goretex lined boot.
Both stay dry if you keep the water below boot top height. The Trango seems to retain more moisture from foot sweat. Both boots are difficult to dry once wet. The Ultra has a removable insulated insole, the Trango a removable, thin foam insole. The Ultra seems to dry slightly easier, to much faster.
The Ultra obviously offers more weather resistance with the built in gaiter than the very traditional Trango's open tongue and lace system. To make up for that I believe the Trango offers more insulation.
I think both boots really require an over the boot gaiter or pant gaiter. I have been using "pant" gaiters with both boots and done well in some very sloppy conditions. The Ultra will always fair better here as you have one more layer of protection from the elements.
The Trango is much, much easier for me to lace and manage the laces,. The Ultra has a zipper (which everyone seems to worry about) and a gaiter to deal with as well as the sorta complicated and super slick Dyneema laces. Advantage on ease of lacing and keeping your boots tight goes to the Trango I think.
The sole has some flex on the Ultra. But they are super easy to walk in and just stiff enough in my size 45s to climb vertical water ice very well, mixed even better. What really saves this boot imo is the added ankle support and exceptional heel fit on technical terrain 'cuz I really do wish they had a stiffer sole platform.
The Trango has a rock solid mid sole. I don't flex this boot's sole which is comforting. But the ankle offers almost zero support in any direction. Great for mixed, not perfect for long bouts of steep ice. But the super stiff sole also makes this boot a little unpleasant to walk in. I think it is a far better fitting boot than its stable mate, the Batura.
No question the Ultra can be laced very close to the foot. Almost like a rock shoe. And if you are not careful way, way too tight. None of those problems, even with a great fit and a tight boot in the Trangos.
I have yet to find an off the shelf crampon that fits the Ultra perfectly or even very well. The front toe profile on the Ultra is super thin and very narrow. To date I have tried Grivel G12s, G20s, Rambo IVs, BD Sabers, Seracs, Neve, Cyborgs, Camp Utralites and Petzl Darts and Dartwins. Petzl and Scarpa tell me there is no problem Others have repeated that matra. BD admits it is an issue with their current bail. So they will be introducing a totally new bail.
Ueli Steck on the le Droites in Dartwins and the Ultras...gotta say I don't particularly like that boot crampon combo. That crampon/ boot combination fit is poor imo. And I really like both the boot and the crampon and have used the combo a good bit myself as have others. It works but could be bettered on the Ultra.