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Scarpa’s Ribelle Tech OD and the Future of Light Alpinism

Scarpa Ribelle Tech OD
Scarpa Ribelle Tech OD

Scarpa’s Ribelle range of boots represents the future of fast & light alpinism. It is part of a growing industry trend towards fast and light alpinism, where we’ve seen a lot of new products, such as Petzl’s Irvis Hybrid Crampons, Patagonia’s Hybrid Sleeping Bags, and Edelrid’s Skimmer Pro Dry 7.1MM rope

Alpinism is certainly cutting grams, and enabling safety through speed. 

Scarpa sent us the Ribelle Tech OD Boot to review. It’s a three-season alpine boot that is a hybrid between an approach shoe and mountaineering boot. 

For this review we decided to attempt Mount Massive in Lake County, Colo., in mid-May when it had record snowpack. Unfortunately, we didn’t summit, but we did put in 11 miles on snowshoes, crampons, and microspikes. 

Customization. 

Scarpa’s standard liners are quality. However, after a 4 mile test hike, I realized these were closer to my Scarpa Phantom Techs than my running shoes, and replaced the standard liners with my custom orthotics from Bent Gate Mountaineering in Golden, CO

Once the orthotics were in place, these boots were comfortable enough to wear all day. In fact, I wore them for an entire day preparing for the trip. They were comfortable enough to drive in, run errands, and set up our camp. My goal was to make sure they had a full-day of sweat in them before bivving for the night. 

Warmth: Don’t Stop Moving 

We got to the campsite late around 8 p.m., and decided to start at 2 a.m. the next morning. As soon as my fiancé and I climbed into our bivvies, it started to snow. Perfect! In addition to sweat from the day before, now my boots had snow covering them. 

Thankfully these boots are warm. After knocking the snow out, and breaking the ice off the boots they warmed up quickly. As long as I was moving, I stayed warm in the 15 degree morning air. 

Stability: Like a Tennis Shoe 

Lacing up the boots reminded me of a tennis shoe. There is one set of holes around the ankle, but it doesn’t provide much support. That last set of lace holes appears to function solely as a way to snitch the gaiter “sock” down further. You will need good, flexible, and strong ankles for this boot, and I don’t recommend spending much time in Grade V climbs: your calves will get pumped.  

Traction

The sole on these boots are very soft and grippy. It took me by surprise when after a mile of hiking on snow ice, I realized how confident I was without extra traction. Plus, the rubber seems to be held up well. Hopefully, they hold up well over the next year of climbing. 

Running 

You can run in these. However, being able to run in a mountaineering boot, doesn’t mean you should. On a “test” hike, I put in two miles on this boot, and I was done. The soles are really stiff and unforgiving, so while you can trail run in them, don’t plan on putting in a ton of miles.

Gaiter: Holy Gaiter Batman! 

This year’s historic snowpack in Colorado combined with mid-May snow rot made for a lot of deep post-holing. The Ribelle’s Sock-Fit Plus Gaiter held up to nearly three hours of postholing. The Sock-Fit Gaiter was simple and effective, and I would recommend it for all except the dryest powder days. 

Crampons, Snowshoes, and Mircospikes. 

Sticking with the fast and light approach, I decided to use the Petzl Irvis Hybrid crampons. While these boots have some flex, they were stiff enough for the Dyneema cord and held the semi-automatic crampons on securely.  

Their stiffness also made snowshoes a dream. I could crank down the straps on my MSR Snowshoes and never experienced any wiggle. 

I would recommend sizing up on Microspikes for the Ribelle Tech’s. While not as bulky as a full mountaineering boot, they are higher volume, and I had trouble getting my size L Kahtoola Microspikes to fit my 44.5 boots. I should have used XL Microspikes. 

Summary

At 1220 grams, this boot has me excited for more four-season fast and light 14ers, and further stoked about the future of fast & light alpinism. I will continue to use this boot all year round. 

Similar boots are the: 

Maximize Your Ski Pass Next Season with These 10 Tips

Ski passes for the 2019/2020 season went on sale this month, many with early bird pricing, so check out our tips below to discover the perfect pass for you!

From local and international season passes to hotel perks and weather patterns, there’s a lot to consider when discovering your ideal ski season pass and what maximizing that looks like to you.

Do you see yourself shredding The Remarkables in New Zealand or sticking close to home? Are you a die-hard, year-round skier, or do you prefer switching out your skis for hiking boots come June? To aid you in your quest to make the most of your ski season and available passes, we’ve compiled a list of 10 tips to maximize your season in hopes of helping you choose what makes sense for you.

1. Buy a Season Pass

First of all, why is a season pass the way to go? Well, if you’re hoping to ski at least five days this season, a season pass could save valuable funds while offering additional benefits that don’t come with your daily lift tickets. However, each season pass varies from one mountain and/or organization to the next, so it’s important to weigh your options, dive into the fine print, and decide which perks adhere to you and your lifestyle. This is the essential first step to maximizing your season, given you’re hoping to shred five days or more.

2. Get Ahead of the Game

Whether it’s your home mountain or a multi-resort pass, do your research and check out early-bird sales to snag the best deals. Search up those 2019-2020 season pass steals now!

3. Purchase a Multi-Mountain Pass

The Ikon Pass, Epic Pass, and the Mountain Collective gets you to 17+ destinations around the world.

  • The Ikon Pass offers unlimited lift tickets to 14 destinations and up to 7 days at 23 destinations for a whopping total of 38 locations to ski your heart out this winter. As if that’s not enough, friends and family also get 25 percent off window rates for 10 days at all Ikon Pass destinations. This pass even gets you to Australia, Japan, Chile, and New Zealand! If you’d rather save a buck, check out the cheaper Ikon Base Pass; you still have unlimited access to all 38 destinations, but access is limited.
  • The Epic Pass gets you access to 68 resorts internationally with unlimited access to 15 resorts in the United States and Canada. Enjoy unlimited skiing at Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Keystone, and Crested Butte in Colorado alone, as well as seven days at Telluride. The Epic Pass is well-known in Europe as well with limited days in France, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland; then hop to the other side of the world to ski Japan and Australia. As with Ikon, Epic offers a cheaper version called the Epic Local Pass for those hoping to stay in North America.
  • The Mountain Collective is for the worldwide traveler and the year-round rider. With 34 days at 17 destinations over the span of five continents (North America, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, Australia, South America), your season only ends when your pass expires, and then all it takes is a simple renewal to keep at it! Once you’re out of days, enjoy 50 percent off lift tickets at the included resorts for the remainder of the season, among other noteworthy perks.

4. Take Advantage of our Hemispheres  

Because these multi-resort passes often jump hemispheres, it’s possible to ski all year long. When summer starts melting the slopes at Aspen, venture down to Queenstown in New Zealand to ski the beginning of their glorious winter.

5. Cash in on those Lodging Perks

Some season passes offer lodging deals in addition to their more obvious perks. Epic and Ikon passes offer killer hotel discounts (they know you’re thinking on the international level). But even local season passes to resorts like Copper Mountain, Vail, Schweitzer, and Whistler/Blackcomb offer lodging steals as well. Some passes even offer rental, food, and gear discounts too! Long story short, read the fine print and take advantage of the perks you’re already paying for.

6. Staying Local?

Stick to the Rockies. The Rockies’ ski season (especially the Canadian Rockies) often begins in early November and extends into May. The Loveland Basin in Colorado is one of these winter phenomenons. Standing at a massive 13,010 feet tall, its season begins in October and often runs through May. If you’re a one mountain-range kind of shredder, you’ll get the longest shred season out of the Rockies.

7. Embrace Your Freedom

The cool thing about a season pass is its inherent freedom. If you’re blessed with a couple free hours on Tuesday or you accidentally sleep in until 11:00 a.m., wasting the price of a lift ticket on half (or less than half) a day is of no concern. The pass is already paid for, so get up there whenever you can for day skiing, night skiing, or lunch break skiing–even if it’s just for a few hours–and shred like it’s nobody’s business.

8. Summer Perks

If you’re an all-season enthusiast and simply love spending time in the great outdoors, take an extra second to mull over season passes with summer perks. The Epic Pass, for example, offers 20 percent off summer lodging. It also offers exclusive rates on Colorado’s Epic Discovery Pass, and discounts on food and beverages, bike rentals, and golf. And with a local season pass, you get access to lifts all summer long!

9. Give Your Board a Rest

I know, I know, why would you do such a thing? Well, for the families out there, some ski passes include or offer discounts on tubing –  an awesome family activity to get the most out of that ski pass.

10. Get a GEMS Card

Truly a hidden Colorado gem, the GEMS Card is a $25 card that gets you two-for-one lift tickets, two 30 percent off lift tickets, or one of each at each of the 11 Colorado Gems Resorts. These include Arapahoe Basin, Cooper, Echo Mountain, Eldora Mountain Resort, Granby Ranch, Hesperus, Kendall Mountain Ski Area, Loveland, Monarch Mountain, Powderhorn, and Sunlight.

What are you waiting for? Catch you on the slopes!