dbl click for a full view of the boot
Scarpa introduced the Rebel GTX Carbon last year. Great boot for its intended purpose. Which was alpine rock. In Oct of 2010 I had already seen "what was coming" on the feet of Ueli Steck doing some hard alpine mixed and steep ice around Chamonix. I had wondered if "that" boot would only be "on Ueli's feet" or ever make it to market. We now know that answer. It has indeed made it to market! The new Scarpa Rebel boot is called the Rebel Ultra GTX.
The other two boots in the Rebel line are the Rebel Carbon GTX, introduced last year. The newest Rebel Pro GTX introduced at the Winter 2013 OR show. I'll review each boot in turn. The Carbon GTX I've been in a year now so that one I'll rehash a bit later. The newest Pro GTX I have yet to handle outside the OR show. The new Ultra? Those I now have in hand. And for me, well worth the wait. Thrilled, is hardly an over statement.
The original Batura on M6 2009
Boots? Fruit boot technology is catching up to the Mtn. boot technology. You’ll climb different in them but you’ll also climb better. Ice becomes more like rock climbing in the soft ankle boots. Haven’t found one I want to send 1000m of hard 55% alpine ice in (until now) but it is entertaining trying to figure out how to rest the calves with French technique at every opportunity. More time in soft boots will likely encourage me to take them on endurance alpine ice.
Now we have both warm boots and soft ankle boots that have a rigid sole for even my size 12 feet. They can be amazing. Check out the usual suspects to see what fits you. I like the Batura for cold stuff close to the road (they are hard to dry out) and the Spantik for anything over a day out. There are much lighter boots I could be climbing in. We’ve only just seen the beginning to the newest boot technology. In the future look for a dbl. layered fruit boot that is warm enough for Denali which you’ll actually want to use for that M10 at your local crag. "
I wrote that 5 years ago almost to the day now. And it is true the technology is just beginning to filter down to what is possible. As I said above "until now".
The drop in boot weight for similar warmth and a lot more performance?
La Sportiva Batura (45) 1st gen. 2# 7oz / 1106g (one boot)
Scarpa Rebel Ultra GTX (45) 1# 13oz / 822 (one boot)
And by today's best for weight and warmth?
La Sportiva Batura 2.0 GTX 2# 2oz / 970g
Scarpa Phantom Ultra (2012) 2# 4oz / 1020g
Scarpa Phantom Guide (2012) 2# 7.5oz / 1120g
*Scarpa Phantom 6000 (2012) with Baruntse liner 2# 8oz / 1134g
It is coming....
I know I'll take some heat for the next few comments. But anyone with a clue will realise what I am saying next is not a diss to any one's abilities, but simply a recognition of where technology takes us next.
In the pre sticky rubber days, pre-Fire', climbs were harder. If you were good at your craft the sticky rubber made a difference on what you were now able to climb. It was in instant jump in your abilities. That is fact. When Friends came along just prior, those too allowed any one to climb things they might not have done other wise, safely. The eventual change from a curved pick to a reverse curved pick was a huge jump on what mere mortals were capable of ice climbing. Stretch garments that were also warm enough...another jump in technology and what would eventually be climbed.
Anyone that tells you gear doesn't matter is clueless. (no matter what your/his/her skill level) From the RURP to the Nomic...gear matters. You just need to be able to take advantage of the gear. That I can't help you with.
Boreal's Mutant, "fruit boot".
So the boots? There is a reason the hardest modern mixed gets sent in Fruit boots. I have a pair myself. Boreal Mutants in fact. With crampons they weigh 2 # even per boot in my size 12.
My newest Rebel Ultras with my lightest steel crampon 2# 9oz. total per boot.
The original Kolflach Ultra @ 3.5# with crampons.
From April of 2010
"I'd really like to see a sub 3# dbl boot and fully technical crampon combination for my size 12 feet. Size 12, Koflach Ultra, Aveolite inner boot, circa 1980, Chouinard hinged crampons, Beck/Chouinard straps. Total weight 3# 9oz."
The Rebel Ultra is most certainly not a double boot, but it is more than a simple single boot. More importantly it is a 4 season (for many areas but not all) ice boot that has finally dropped a almost a full pound off the equation. In comparison for hard technical climbing, the boot and the crampon have both been improved and now @ the 2# 11 oz. total weight. The Rebel Ultra isn't perfect. And it isn't as warm as it might be. For the weight and performance right now, as in today? No wishful thinking here. Nothing even in the same league. I have no doubt the industry is headed in the right direction with this boot. Super low profile and volume for a full on mountain boot. Rigid enough and most importantly, supportive enough to climb endurance ice in, as the Phantom Ultra has already proved prior. The newest Ultra is a better boot yet for fit and support. I'll be able to climb harder in this boot. Most will.
Dave in the Phantom Ultra on les Droites
On the newest Ultra I had not originally liked the gaiter. I've climbed in almost every gaitered boot in existence to date. Back to an original pair of Trappeurs. Some were/are better than others. The Rebel Ultra is very, very good by any comparison to any of them. It also begs the pant to be stuffed into them to clear your feet and crampons. Think true Fruit boot performance here. Even if the boot will breath better with a pant over the gaiter, not in it. Save the over the pant use for big, cold north walls. It will keep the boot drier. For that hard project, tuck the pant and clear your feet and crampons. Nice option I had given up on a while ago in my other gaitered boots.
The ankle, tongue and lacing system on the Ultra is unique. More importantly I am not sure that I have ever had such good ankle support, ankle flexibility and heel fit in a boot, ever. Support and flexibility in one boot? How does that work? Not sure myself, but in this boot, it does. And very well indeed.
The unique and excellent ankle wrap and support on the Ultra.
The tongue and ankle is wrapped and locked via Velcro and the laces.. It makes an exceptionally supportive and well fitting boot.
The Rebel Ultra's volume compared to the Batura 2.0. Don't let the looks fool you, it is a warmer boot than it might first appear with such low volume.
The Ultra has a very snug and technical last. It is a tight fitting boot. Biggest complaint I heard of the Rebel Carbon last summer is that it fit on the small side. I saw a number of used ones being sold early on because the tight last of the Rebel wasn't for every one's feet. This boot will have a very similar last so buy accordingly. But I suspect they will fit most if you size them correctly first time around. I have a narrow foot but seem to fit Scarpa generally better than La Sportiva. I find the fit in the Rebel line exceptional for my feet with enough room in the toe box and exceptional heel hold down. The Ultra the best of the bunch on all counts so far.
Ultra is 10oz lighter per pair than a Batura 2.0 in a size 45. With a precision fit like no other ice boot in existence to date. The difference in volume and warmth should be clear in this picture.
The mid sole on this boot is close to being perfect IMO. Rigid with the right crampon (Petzl) and flexible enough to walk in easily.
Crampons? No surprise I suppose that the Petzl Darts fit perfectly with an asymmetrical connecting bar. And they are a dream to climb in for overall weight and performance. It is slick combination. The sole toe profile is tiny so good luck getting a great fit with out a Petzl front bail on your choice in crampons. I am having a hard time telling you just how impressed I am with this boot. I am running out of ways to say juts how good this boot really is. How long will it last? Not sure...don't care:)
I venture to guess that the newest Rebel Ultra will grab the majority of market share in light weight alpine and ice boots (including the Batura and Phantom Guide) and dominate the market in just its first full season. Move fast enough and this boot will be warm enough. And the drop in weight might just allow you to move "fast enough". The other boot builders? Take note. You are looking at the future in performance. The boot is insulated for warmth and Goretex lined for weather proofing. As good as this new boot is the technology could so easily be bettered.
That prediction is so easily given. Steck used the prototype of this boot to free the Nomine Crack in the Dru Coulior, mid Oct. 2010. How many guys have been on the Dru Coulior in a virtual fruit boot?
"Italian Korra free'd this pitch, at M7+.... Good effort to Ueli onsight freeing this in the dark!!" Will Sim
The Dru Coulior
Photo courtesy of Dave Searle
In case you missed it? Feb. 2010. Ueli Steck, Ben Nevis, on the Secret, X-10. Scarpa proto type boots. Fruit boots again. Take a look at the lack of boot soles about 22:50
If you have ever dry tooled in rock shoes.....you now know the difference this boot will make in the alpine. The new Rebel Ultra GTX is going to change the game...again. And for the better. Save your pennies. You are going to want this boot. My bet is they will be hard to obtain the first year. No guarantee but the link below might help if you are in North America.
The current Rebel Ultra, that is reviewed above.
The newest Rebel Pro GTX introduced at the Winter 2013 OR show.
Both of the newest boots are insulated for warmth and Goretex lined for weather proofing.
The original Rebel Carbon GTX on alpine rock last summer.
This boot deserves high marks in use.