HOME \ LATEST \ REVIEWS \ RIBELLE MOUNTAIN TECH OD

Ribelle Mountain Tech OD

Summary: The lightest B2-rated mountaineering boot available

Review Date: 14/11/2017
Price when reviewed: £390.00
Overall Rating: Ribelle Mountain Tech OD scored 5.0 stars
Online Stock: In Stock

View Product

It really is true what they say about men with big feet....
Yup, that's right...BIG SHOES. And big shoes means heavy shoes, and as a weight weenie with low levels of general fitness I'm always on the lookout for ways to take a load off. Carrying a pair of approach shoes up a route is bad enough, but if there's a glacier approach or snowy descent that requires more than a MicroSpike or the sketchy crampon/Guide Tennie combo it usually means I'm gonna have a really bad time lugging some hefty boots and crampons up it. So I was pretty excited when these sweet new creps from Scarpa dropped in the shop the day before my trip to Chamonix. The Ribelle Tech OD is, as far as I'm aware, the lightest B2 rated mountaineering boot available. They're claiming a kilo a pair for a size 42 which is pretty impressive. I weighed my 46 and they clocked 1450g, saving half a kilo on my old Scarpa Charmoz. Pick it up and it really feels like a beefed up pair of trainers.

The Scarpa Ribelle Tech OD Mountaineering Boot

Designed in conjunction with Ueli Steck and Herve Barmasse, the Ribelle Tech OD is made to take you from the valley floor all the way to the summit. It won the prestigious Product of the Year Award at ISPO this year.

Scarpa's marketing blurb:

"The goal of our Ribelle Tech OD is to deconstruct preconceived certainties and broaden the horizons of those who love and experience the mountains.
A change of perspective for mountaineers. For the first time ever, we can start off from the valley floor and make it to the top of the mountain wearing a boot that guarantees the finest performance out of a mountain boot, the lightweight quality of a running shoe and the comfort that no other product on the market can compare with.
This was made possible by reworking the tradition of mountaineering products while examining the project from a completely new point of view: combining the characteristics of a trail runner shoe on the top of the boot with a lower section that can deliver the performance and demands of a climbing boot."

Blah blah blah... well it’s not a completely new idea to combine a trainer with a mountaineering boot. Salomon attempted it a couple of years ago with their S-LAB X ALP Carbon, but it didn’t really seem all that popular then, possibly because it was too ahead of its time, or maybe it just felt too much like a trainer, or was only C1 crampon compatible. The Scarpa Ribelle feels a bit more substantial though, it looks like something you’d take up into the high mountains.

Fit

The Ribelle uses Scarpa's new ARG last. This feels slightly broader in the forefoot than the well know NAG last, something my abnormally Shrek-like feet were glad of. I sized them in my usual street shoe size, and they felt snug and precise and perfect for scrambling. Heels felt snug and supportive with no lift. It's got a close fitting internal sock-style gaiter, and when you first try them on you will have to squeeze your foot in, but once on you won't notice it, just the comfort they provide. The ankles are very flexible (the stiff lower material and lacing stops just above the ankle bones), something I really like as it makes them great to walk and climb in, but some people may prefer something more supportive here. Obviously, fit is a very subjective thing, so make sure you try them on first.

Crampon compatibility

Scarpa are giving the Ribelle Tech OD a B2 rating. The old B1/B2/B3 rating system is getting fairly shaken up, being generally perceived to relate to the stiffness of the boot, but this B2 is softer even than most B1's. They do have a cleat on the heel to accept semi-automatic crampons but be careful, you will need to either position the linking bar so the front section can move, or better, use a flexible bar. I faffed about a bit with a pair of Lynx's, before settling for some Grivel Air-Tech with a Flex Bar. It's a near perfect fit, but possibly better still if you really want to keep the weight down would be some Grivel Air-Tech Lite or Petzl Irvis Hybrid crampons.

This softness makes the boot superb to walk on glaciers and up steep snow slopes. I wore them on a jaunt up the Trois Monts route on Mont Blanc, for which they were perfect. The crux pitch before the Col du Mont Maudit was stripped to bare ice and they coped just fine, although if it was much longer or steeper you may find the lack of support pretty tiring on your calves.

A perfect fit with Grivel Air-Tech crampons

Warmth

I had some concerns that these boots might be just a bit too lightweight, and I was initially worried that I'd get cold toes on the top of Mont Blanc, but the word from Scarpa is that they actually have more insulation in them than the much beefier Scarpa Mont Blanc Pro. Despite the heat in the valley that day we were caught in some savage weather up high, I'd guess it was easily about -15°C maybe colder with the wind chill that day and my feet were toasty. In trimming weight they haven't scrimped on warmth, instead they've just got rid of all that thick heavy leather.

Freezing cold and bailing off the Blanc, but at least my feet were warm!

Waterproofing is provided by an OutDry lining, currently considered the best way of waterproofing your appendages. This waterproof and breathable membrane is placed just under the outer layer of the boot (unlike most Gore-Tex boots which use a liner positioned next to your foot) so water can't get in from the outside and soak the insulation.

Durability

It's always going to be a tradeoff between durability and weight. It's pretty obvious that they won't last as long as a heavier leather boot, but I don't think it's too bad. The uppers are mostly made from a vinyl material that feels tough as your haulbag. There’s a stretchy mesh cover over the laces that’s supposed to stop snow from sticking, and this bit probably will get tatty before long. So long as you're not a clumsy oaf who treads on their own toes you should be fine for quite a while, by which time Scarpa will have probably brought out something newer and even lighter that you'll be drooling over instead. Stumbling across scree or stuffing them into granite cracks is where the real damage will occur. The soles are full Vibram rubber though, so that part will last a lot longer than the rubber/foam combo on the Scarpa Phantom. Unfortunately I managed to smash myself up in a monster 45m whipper (blog coming soon...) after a couple of days of wearing them, so I can’t comment on their long-term durability, but I really don’t think you should be too concerned.

Summary

I love 'em. For Alpine rock routes with glacier approaches and snowy descents they are pretty much perfect. Ditto for non-technical mountaineering style routes. I'd be quite happy to wear them for all of my summer alpine and UK winter walking and lower grade climbing, assuming I ever walk again that is...

Scarpa
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2017
By Simon Kimber
Web Editor

View other articles by
Simon Kimber
Team Photo
Visa, MasterCard and PayPal Accepted 5 Star Reviews from Trust Pilot

Outside.co.uk uses cookies and some may have already been set. Please click the button to agree and remove this message.

If you continue to use the site we'll assume you're happy to accept the cookies. Find out more .