Scarpa is adding to their high-tech Ribelle line with the introduction of the new Ribelle HD. Like the Ribelle Tech OD, which is basically a running shoe crossed with an alpine boot, the HD version is focused on providing fast and light performance in the mountains. Just with a more traditional, ankle supporting design. After testing the new HD in the mountains this summer I’ve been quite impressed. They climb snow, ice and rock very well and are quite durable and warm for such a light boot.
- Weight: 690g (Size 42)
- Last: ARG
- Upper: 2.6mm Suede & Microtech
- Lining: HDry® direct lamination +37.5®
- Midsole: 2D PU & TPU
- Outsole: Vibram® Precision Tech Roll profile with Vibram Mont rubber
- Crampon Compatibility: Hybrid or Semi-Automatic
- Lacing: Dual Zone
- Versions: Men’s & Women’s
- MSRP: $359 USD
- Color: Grey w. yellow highlights (men’s)
The new HD has a 2D PU midsole, a lighter option than a regular PU midsole. Scarpa’s new Sock-Fit XT construction is utilized which means that the flex-point and tongue are made from a single piece of S-Tech Shoeller. Similar to the Tech OD just without the gaiter. 2.6mm of Perwanger suede is used on the upper for durability. This suede has been embossed with a very lightweight TPU exoskeleton for a little extra support. A full wrap-around rand and rubber toe finishes the upper.
The same Vibram Precision Tech Roll Sole that we found on the Phantom Tech is also used on the new Ribelle HD to provide an efficient underfoot rocker. And of course the HD has a rear TPU crampon insert for semi-auto crampons.
Fit & Feel:
The Ribelle HD seems to fit a little bit on the large side. A very similar fit as the Zodiac Tech’s which I have in the same size. I had to go down a size from what I wear with most other companies or with Scarpa’s ice climbing boots though. I typically wear a size 43 in an alpine boot unless I want a real performance fit in which case I’ll downsize to 42.5. My Ribelle HD’s are a size 42 and still offer a bit of wiggle room in the toes.
I would say that the Ribelle HD has a mid to wide fit across the toe box, very similar to the fit of the Zodiac Tech. Ideal for me as I have a fairly low-volume foot but am a middling-width across the forefoot due to some ski boot inspired bone spurs.
The heel on the new HD’s is very comfortable and soft. Some padded insulation is provided along the sides of the Achilles fixes the heel in place very comfortably.
Lastly, the lacing on these boots is simply fantastic. They come with bi-component, very low friction eyes on the lower part of the boot that makes tightening them exceptionally easy. It’s actually easy to overtighten them! The best lacing system I’ve come across on a mountaineering boot.
The highly rockered sole profile offered by Scarpa’s Dynamic Tech Roll System makes walking in the Ribelle HD’s very natural and comfortable. Surprisingly so for such a stiff, high performance climbing boot. And on that note, they climb exceptionally well. I’ve had them out on numerous alpine rock routes, chossy approaches, alpine snow and ice routes and they exceeded my fairly high expectations. The boots edge and climb rock exceptionally well, though not quite as good as the lighter and more dexterous Mammut Taiss. Strap on a pair of crampons and front pointing up easy alpine ice is no issue at all. Truly a great all-rounder of a summer mountaineering boot in a light and durable package.
The Ribelle HD boots are also quite warm and dry for such a light boot. They have kept my feet warm on long cold and wet walks across swampy glaciers and though fresh snow as the summer alpine season came to a close. They’re still not a winter boot though, just a full 3-season boot.
Weighing in at 690g/boot for a size 42 the HD is definitely heavier than the Tech OD but it also offers much more support and durability. It’s also much lighter than other boots in the same category such as La Sportiva’s Trango Tower and Trango Cube.
I was disappointed that Scarpa chose not to put a small gaiter at the ankle to keep out snow and debris. It was one of my favorite features on the Zodiac Tech’s and wouldn’t have added much weight.
The TPU reinforced suede leather upper combined with the full, wrap-around rubber rand give the RIbelle HD’s a solid outer shell. While mine are covered in mud and have a few nicks here and there they have stood up quite well to about 20 solid days of use so far.
The laces are well protected from wear along the forefoot by the fantastic low-friction lacing system I mentioned earlier and so should last quite a while.
The soles have also stood up to punishment quite well so far. Of course I have avoided kicking steps in dirt and scree as that’s just a recipe to destroy good climbing rubber! I once destroyed the soles on a pair of new boots in a weekend by kicking steps in scree.
Pros: Very comfortable, versatile and durable, high performance
Cons: No built-in gaiter
Overall: An absolutely fantastic three season mountaineering boot. If you’re looking for something that does it all well (ice, snow, rock, trails, etc.) then you should definitely be checking out the Ribelle HD.
Black Sheep Adventure Sports was provided with a sample pair of boots for testing but of course this didn’t influence us in any way.