Like chocolate and peanut butter, Scarpa and Ueli Steck got together and the result is something wonderful: the Rebel Ultra GTX boot. The Ultra is at the top of the Rebel models, which include the Carbon and the Pro. So what is it? Basically, the Ultra is the Bruce Lee of mixed climbing boots. Like Lee, the Ultra punches way above its weight, managing to kick like a climbing shoe while punching through cold and crud like the serious mountaineering boot that it is.
Out of the box the Ultra tips the scales at 3.5 pounds for a size 43 pair. That's anorexic for a boot designed to take on the world's toughest rock and ice routes, and the Ultra gets there without sacrificing an ounce of performance or a pound of protection. A carbon fiber insole is the light and stiff spine of the boot, lovingly layered in a cushy hikable polyurethane midsole, wrapped in Gore-Tex insulation and finally protected by bombproof Cordura Kevlar microfiber. An elastic gaiter and dual front and rear pull tabs – glove friendly, thank you very much – top it off, while the bottom sports Vibram TT Lite for serious edging performance. Match this hot rod of a boot with a serious monopoint automatic crampon and you're off and running.
Pulling on the Ultra is not difficult but does take a little getting used to, with some foot pointing required to pass through the gaiter. The interior volume is definitely snug; my foot volume is on the small side of medium and I absolutely loved the fit.. Once your foot is inside you can tighten and lock the lower part of the lacing system before you get to the interesting upper part, which is where the magic happens. The tongue is kind of T-shaped with the upper wings wrapping towards the back, under the two upper lugs on each side. For good measure there is a piece of Velcro on each side to lock in the fit, which you can crank down as tight as you please. Once you're laced up, the feeling is like you have flexibility everywhere you want it, and support everywhere you need it. It's really dialed in, and the result is a boot that seems to do everything well, from flat-ass plodding to freaky bat-hangs.
Speaking of performance, suffice it to say the Ultra will climb anything Ueli Steck can get a foot on, which doesn't leave much out. Straight up waterfall and alpine ice, the nastiest boot-eating choss, long glacier approaches, the Ultra is a quiver of one, doing it all in comfort and style. For everything between warm-weather rock climbs and 6,000 meter peaks, the Ultra pushes hard on every side of the single-boot performance envelope and sets a new standard for the category. Your only stress from this boot will be keeping up.