A lightweight, technical mountain boot with excellent climbing and snow capabilities.
- Really comfortable to hike in
- Technical shape is excellent for climbing
- Technical last may not be suitable for wider feet.
- Very warm in summer conditions
The Scarpa HD sits within the Ribelle range of boots which also encompasses the Ribelle Lite HD and the Ribelle Mountain Tec which Kew reviewed back in December 2017 so it’s been a while since we featured a pair on the site.
The Scarpa Ribelle HD is a B2, all mountain boot that is suitable for a whole variety of mountain activities from hiking to technical scrambling as well as winter gully climbing and glacier travel in summer conditions. A truly versatile boot that fits the minimalist, one boot to rule them all philosophy of the modern mountain enthusiast.
Those who prefer a technical hybrid as opposed to a full leather boot will like these. If you are looking to replace your old La Sportiva Trango’s, Aku Tengu’s or Scarpa Charmoz then you will like these. The Ribelle HD have the added advantage of being a full suede boot, if weight is absolutely critical then the Ribelle HD Lite might be more suitable as they shave 80g (per pair) from your legs. For me, the extra weight of the suede as a trade off for better durability is worth it.
The premium quality Perwanger suede is treated with a water repellent treatment but the boot relies on the HD liner for waterproof ability. So you should note that if you want to treat the suede you will need to treat it with something like NIkwax Nubuck and Suede Proof as Scarpa’s excellent HS12 cream is designed for leather. The HDry liner is specifically designed to be laminated to the boot. Gore-Tex liners are ofter inserted as a ‘sock’ and this can affect the precision of the boot as it affects thickness of the boot interior. The HDry is laminated to the suede directly which means that the membrane can be thinner. This means (in theory) improved climbing ability as there is no movement of your foot inside the boot when you have the boot tightened up. It is also claimed to improve the breathability of the boot – it is really difficult for me to comment on this as I always find any Gore-Tex lined boot or shoe really hot, even in winter. I can however, that my feet have remained dry in the Ribelle HD through the winter test period.
The perfect day for the Scarpa Ribelle HD boots. Red Tarn, Helvellyn, LDNP.
I have noticed that for scrambling these have been a brilliant boot, the narrow ARG last combined with the laminated HD insert gives excellent precision and control. The climbing zone at the front of the sole unit also helps with the climbing ability and reassurance on technical sections.
The lacing system is typical for a Scarpa boot. I have never had any recent problems with lacing Scarpa boots. There are enough eyelets to enjoy total control over the tightness of the boots, all the major ones are riveted and offer a little movement so that you can be confident that the boot will tighten how you want it. The laces are round but flatten when tighten so stay tight, one tip is when you feel you are going for a technical day knot the laces using a reef knot first and then lie bows. Whatever happens then the boot will always stay tight, even if the laces become undone – which can be very disconcerting when climbing that ice pitch!
And talking of ice, the Ribelle HD boots have B2 stiffness so will take a C2 new-matic style crampon. The heel notch is made using a tough plastic so will fit a heel bar perfectly. I have been using them with my trusty Grivel G-12 crampons which I’ve had for years.
For winter hiking the Ribelle HD fitted both spikes and a B2 crampon really well.
I have used throughout the winter for all my mountaineering activities. On a recent day in The Lake District Rich and I hiked over Striding Edge up onto Helvellyn and descended Swirral Edge – a totally classic winter expedition. I used spikes on that day instead of crampons and the Ribelle HD boots performed superbly. Totally comfortable and secure all day.
The Vibram sole unit is pretty much standard. Plenty of cleats and clearance for muddy descents and as stated earlier a good climbing zone with enough area and friction to overcome technical challenges. The sole unit is replaceable and it’s best to contact Scarpa direct for options – I’ve had several emails/comments in the past about sole replacement and it’s important to plan ahead if you are looking to replace the sole – you must’t let the sole wear away into the EVA mid sole as it makes it much more expensive to replace (if it can be replaced at all). So keep an eye on the heel and other high wear areas and when you get to a millimetre of sole material left that’s the time for replacement. The boot is finished with a 360 degree rand which helps keep the water and mud out as well as offer friction for those wide rock cracks!
You would expect Scarpa to make a highly comfortable and responsive boot and the Ribelle HD doesn’t disappoint. The combination of the EVA midsole and heel inserts as well as the shape of the boots offers an exceptionally comfortable hiking experience. I really need that these days as after 40 years of abuse my knees need the attention.
So, in conclusion, the Scarpa Ribelle HD is a great mountain boot. The comfort of the upper and sole unit offer all day comfort. They are lightweight (722g/boot for a UK8.5) although if you want lighter the Ribelle Light HD will shave a few grams off and the premium suede off increased durability. the 37.5 inner will help regulate the temperature and the HD liner will keep your feet dry. The Ribelle HD would be suitable for all mountain use including winter hiking, glacier travel, technical alpinism and UK technical scrambling. They are proudly still made in Italy and can be resoled so should last you a many years if looked after correctly.
The Ribelle HD comes in sizes EUR 40 – 48 and half sizes 40.5-46.5.
They can be purchased direct from Scarpa UK, Scarpa Europe and scarpa.com in North America as well as specialist retailers.
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