Ski mountaineering equipment question...


Original Post
Doug S · · W Pa · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 55

Can anyone give me some advice on a good back-country/AT set-up with comfortable boots that are crampon compatible?

Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 180

The pro of AT is that it is essentially an alpine decent with a solid workable ascent mode. There aren't really any cons with today's technology. Equipment ranges from ultra lightweight rando to heavy downhill alpine racing with a walk mode. The sky is the limit.

The pro of tele is that you can ski. The con is the heavy, soft boots that don't climb ice or snow especially well. There are two types of tele skiers; those that tele ski and those that used to tele ski.

The pros of cross country skiing is that it gets you outdoors and you could potentially bag a 60 year old cougar married to a cuckold. The con is that you're more or less prancercizing on snow.

Greg Gavin · · SLC, UT · Joined Oct 2008 · Points: 673

Doug you'll want your crampons to be automatic style with a steel toe and heel bail on them. Other than that perhaps change out the center bar for something less asymmetric, and you're good to go.

Taylor-B. · · Valdez, AK · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 3,060

One of my go to ski's in the quiver is a pair of 176cm Shuskans with Silvretta bindings. It's a versatile ski that I can either use with my ice climbing boots or with a pair of regular AT boots. 176cm is short for me, but allows for a quick and agile ski, especially when skiing in the leather boots.

I wish they would make the Spantik with a tech fitting!

Doug S · · W Pa · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 55
Taylor-B. wrote:One of my go to ski's in the quiver is a pair of 176cm Shuskans with Silvretta bindings. It's a versatile ski that I can either use with my ice climbing boots or with a pair of regular AT boots. 176cm is short for me, but allows for a quick and agile ski, especially when skiing in the leather boots. I wish they would make the Spantik with a tech fitting!
So Randonee is the way to go. To be more specific, I'm more focused on the mountaineering aspect, so being able to use those boots would be great. I'd like a ski that is a cross over x-country/ AT.

Edit: Just searched Silvretta bindings... so that's the story. Clearly that is what I want. Is there anything available that is similar?
Andrew Mayer · · Driggs, ID · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 130
Doug S wrote:Edit: Just searched Silvretta bindings... so that's the story. Clearly that is what I want. Is there anything available that is similar?
To my knowledge, no. You have to hunt down a pair of used silvrettas, but they come and go here on the gear swap forum pretty regularly.

I've never skied in a mountaineering boot/silvretta binding combo but from what I've heard, it is a HUGE sacrifice of downhill skiing performance.

If you've got the money, consider a pair of modern lightweight/racing AT boots that climb really well and ski worlds better than a mountaineering boot. (great article here - coldthistle.blogspot.com/20...)
Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 180
Doug S wrote: So Randonee is the way to go. To be more specific, I'm more focused on the mountaineering aspect, so being able to use those boots would be great. I'd like a ski that is a cross over x-country/ AT. Edit: Just searched Silvretta bindings... so that's the story. Clearly that is what I want. Is there anything available that is similar?
Do yourself a favor and look at AT boots you can climb in like the Dynafit TLT6 or LS Spitfire. Skiing in mountaineering boots is awful. Also, Silvretta bindings suck, they are heavy, fragile, and a pain in the ass. Ski-Mo moved on and gear today fucking rocks compared to Silvretta and a pair of leather boots.
Stich · · Colorado Springs, Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,470
Andrew Mayer wrote: I've never skied in a mountaineering boot/silvretta binding combo but from what I've heard, it is a HUGE sacrifice of downhill skiing performance.
I've done it with my Silvrettas and I'm not a very good skier. The most I could handle was really easy green groomers. I would shudder to try skiing deep powder with such soft boots. Definitely go with a dedicated AT ski boot and a more robust binding.
Andrew Mayer · · Driggs, ID · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 130
Stich wrote: I've done it with my Silvrettas and I'm not a very good skier. The most I could handle was really easy green groomers. I would shudder to try skiing deep powder with such soft boots. Definitely go with a dedicated AT ski boot and a more robust binding.
Yup thats kinda what I've heard. A pair of tlt5/6, spitfire, sideral, etc with a pair of tech bindings is a much better option (if you've got the $$)
Doug S · · W Pa · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 55
Edit and bump...

I used to XC ski, and after researching the options I'd like to find a Randonee binding that will accept mountaineering boots. My focus would be the mountaineering aspect and the skiing would be basically an approach option (for example, the ADK's require either skis or snowshoes for approach). Sacrificing some downhill performance is fine.

Has anyone tried bindings (other than silvrettas) that would work? I think the randonee boots would be too much for comfortable long-distance hiking/alpine climbing. It seems to me that if these bindings fit randonee boots, they must also fit mountaineering boots (as they both have lugs that accept step-in crampons).

These for example?
MRock · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 10

Fritschis are designed to be used with a plastic at boot. Silvrettas have the wire toe bail, making them more applicable to a softer mtnering boot. You also can find silvrettas for under 75$ if you look hard enough.

If you're concerned about weight go tech binding, there's nothing that comes close. I reckon it'd be good climbing in one of those single buckle, no tongue la sportiva skimo race boots.

Or just get snowshoes if you don't care about the down

Mark Pilate · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 10

Doug - You sound like you are looking for something similar to what I was. I primarily wanted to ski with my climbing boots rather than climb in my ski boots.

I have a few set-ups.
1. Silvretta 505 on a shorter pair of Fisher Tele skis (used with skins). This set-up skis the best

2. Silvretta 404 (heavier) on Fischer S-Bounds (essentially tele ski that have the x-country scale pattern under the boot)

3. Voile tele bindings (toe and heel bails same as crampons) on Similar S-bounds as above. This rig is the best cross-country, but not as great down-hill-- I don't tele!

Unfortunately, aside from the skis, the bindings are harder to find. I am looking at experimenting with modifying a pair of new G3 tele bindings with a toe bail for my latest set-up.

I have ski/climbed the above rigs on a variety of boots from lightweight through Nepals and Lowa Silberhorns, to Scarpa Invernos (used for lift served skiing mainly).

Good luck on your experiments. I have had a blast with mine

M Hosmer · · Potsdam, NY · Joined Aug 2010 · Points: 75

Doug, as an ADK climber I have a pretty good idea the terrain your talking about. A few years back I purchased a pair of silverettas and the shortest (165) karhu guide ski with scaled base I could find. This set up skied with mountain boots gets you in fine and out decently. I can ski into and out of avalanche pass for instance without skins and quickly. The in is great, the out is scary as hell until below avalanche camp then it's much more enjoyable.
With all this said this year I picked up tlt6 and tech bindings and I can now enjoy both in and out. I plan to use ski boots for easy climbs (trap dyke, NF gothics) and silverettas for harder climbs where that is the priority of the day. The tlt boots climb better then old school plastic mountain boots so that is more then good enough for me. Hope any of this helped.
When in doubt talk to and purchase gear at the mountaineer in Keene. They will be able to point you in the right direction

Doug S · · W Pa · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 55
Mark Pilate wrote:Doug - You sound like you are looking for something similar to what I was. I primarily wanted to ski with my climbing boots rather than climb in my ski boots.
Exactly! I've tried randonee boots, and although they are great- light and flexible compared to alpine- I can't imagine hiking long distance or rock climbing in them. This is curious, but I remember being able to get my lug-soled work boots to lock into the bindings on an older pair of skis I had. I skied at the local sled-riding hill with my kids. So...

Looking online, I've come up with this set-up:
Metal-edge touring skis, 169cm
Fritschi randonee bindings (non-tech style with dimensions compatible with skis)
Salewa boots (adjustable sole stiffness)

Thoughts? And a question for those who've tried them: How do the randonee binding compare to a XC binding in terms of how they ski in touring mode? What I'd like to try is waxless metal-egde touring skis, not randonee skis with skins. Whether I descend alpine or telemark style will depend on the situation.
bobbin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 0

Someone already mentioned this: Fritschi bindings work with AT boots but are not really compatible with mountaineering boots. The boot toe/heel lugs aren't big enough. You need Silvrettas or similar bindings with a toe bail wire. It's possible you could get some pair of boots to click into the bindings but both the retention and release would be questionable.

You can't really use AT bindings in free pivot mode as telemark bindings, because of the free pivot and not being able to bend the shoe at the ball of the foot. You can ski down a trivially easy slope with the heels unlatched.

Doug S · · W Pa · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 55

...retention and release would be questionable...
...not being able to bend the shoe at the ball of the foot...

Thanks for the input Bobbin, that's pretty much what I was wondering.

I think the only thing I can do is get out to the gear shop and mess with some stuff. Since some people seem marginally interested I'll post if I find something that works. Thanks y'all

Ray Pinpillage · · West Egg · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 180

Walking in AT boots is less painful than acl or rotator cuff surgery.

Mike McL · · South Lake Tahoe, CA · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 1,145

Doug, listen to Bobbin. I wouldn't waste your time trying to get your mountaineering boots to work with fritschis. The retention/release characteristics will be horrendous. I doubt you'll be able to stay in them honestly. Mountaineering/climbing boots ski like shit anyways. And Fritschis are not at all meant for descending in free-heel mode. You'll break them quickly that way.

If you want to ski tour to the top of something with some easy climbing mixed in and descend it, just get touring boots like some TLT5s, TLT6s, or Sportiva Spitfires. If you want approach skis for ice climbing, just pack in your ice boots and use real ski touring gear or get silvretta bindings that work with alpine climbing boots, realizing the skiing in climbing boots will be survival skiing.

Dobson · · Butte, MT · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 215
Mike McL wrote:If you want approach skis for ice climbing, just pack in your ice boots and use real ski touring gear or get silvretta bindings that work with alpine climbing boots, realizing the skiing in climbing boots will be survival skiing.
As someone who skis back from climbs in my Nepals/Silvrettas, this makes me smile. So true. Downhills are scary!
Taylor-B. · · Valdez, AK · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 3,060

Any engineers out there? You'll dig this idea. coldthistle.blogspot.com/20...
I'm still +1 for Silvrettas. If you use a tech bindings or a Silvretta, you still have to be a competent skier.
Here are some pros that use Silvrettas.
Hans Saari skiing the Hossack Macgowan, Grand Teton

Hans Saari on Silvrettas

Alex Lowe

Alex Lowe

Colin Haley

Colin Haley

And if you think that skiing in leather boots is........

Bill Brigs, FD of the Grand Teton in leather boots.

marty funkhouser · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2007 · Points: 30
Yep wrote:Just say, "no" to Silveretta bindings, and mountaineering boots for backcountry travel and ice climbing. Having witnessed numerous backcountry days washed out via this set-up, I have decided that I'd rather stay on the couch - or, solo - than go out with people using this rig. In my world, neither option is ideal. Try the new gear. It works. I ski and climb in my AT set-up(s). They aren't perfect, but the rig is waaaay better than those damn silveretta bindings. Scrap metal...er, silverettas != a binding.
+1

If you're doing some seriously technical ice climbing just pack in your lightweight climbing boots. Otherwise modern, less downhill specific AT boots are fine for ADK type approaches and climbs. I had a pair of very downhill specific AT boots that I've hiked many, many miles in and never felt limited in any way.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply