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i_like_sun

Snowboard Mountaineering

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I know this topic has probably been posted before, but whatever....

 

One thing that pisses me off to no end, is how infiltrated the sport of snowboarding is with retarded skater idiots. I'm not bashing skateboarders, but seriously, 99% of the snowboarders out there don't even know what a crampon is.

 

I've been involved with climbing for 20 years, and have been snowboarding for 15 years. Ski companies have been in communication with climbing companies for years, yet snowboard/climbers are basically F***ed when It comes to combining these sports. It would be AMAZING if a company like Black Diamond were to produce a soft snowboard mountaineering boot that is compatible with vertical ice climbing, and general alpine glacier & rock travel....

 

It is one thing to climb a sick route, then do an ugly slide to the bottom and say you "rode down". Its another thing to climb a sick route, and then shred the piss out of it.... Todays splitboard gear doesn't really allow for this.

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Yeah those bindings are definitely sick!

 

I think the problem really sits in boot design at this point. The AT boot set ups I see look GREAT for the climbing aspect (I've even seen a guy climbing water ice in his AT boots) but there is a reason the snowboard companies steered away from hard boots: Its damn near impossible to get an awesome surfy feel in them. You don't see Jeremy Jones dropping Alaskan big lines in plastics....

 

Granted, a helicopter zooming you to any summit you want must be nice.....

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true dat, or you could go to a hard boot set up. Climbing in AT boots kick butt!!!

 

Thats what I do. I use Scarpa Denali boots which have a real vibram sole, and accept a step in crampon. Just get the Voile Mtn Plates and you're set.

 

IMG_0008.jpg

 

But I also found that when I tried to use mountaineering boots with a stiffer liner (koflach plastics, with a racing tele liner) I was able to get closer to that surfy feeling. On my AT boots, I just leave the walk mode in walk, and that gives me enough flex in the system to get that feeling. Your mileage might vary though. Also, using an AT boot setup, you shave a considerable amount of weight off your splitboard set up. Even more weigh can be shaved if you use a Dynafit toe peice for the skin up rather than the Voile slider plate. You do have to carry the plates in your pack for the decent, but hey, whatever. You already have your crampons and other crap in the pack anyhow.

 

I dunno, I am pretty pleased with my AT boot set up. So are most of the people I ride with that also have that set up. You could try it pretty cheaply by buying boots off ebay, and the bindings are only $50 new from Voile.

 

IMG_0017.jpg

 

 

Edited by Frikadeller

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After finding myself in the same spot a few seasons back, I came to the conclusion that the only solution is to buy AT skis. Hard boots on a snowboard is so far detached from the snowboarding that i enjoy, that I'd rather just ski. Snowboards/splitboards are not mountaineering tools. I dont really see that changing anytime soon.

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This is what I'm talking about!! How well are you able to shred in your Scarpa's? I mean, if you wanted to could you take drops in them or hit natural kickers, or are they too stiff for normal movement?

 

About snowboards/splitboards not being mountaineering tools: I beg to differ. Its just a matter of evolving the sport a bit. Skinning up is SOOOOO much more efficient than hiking, and shredding down saves hours of time. Plus its way more fun.

 

I guess it really does just come down to what you like to do. For me, I skied for 5 years when I was younger, and I realize that snowboarding really is my thing; its a personal relationship I have with it. Giving up 15 years of sliding sideways would be a tragedy!!

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I've skied all my life. I ain't giving it up, but I was really impressed with my limited experience with AT boots and a snowboard with hard bindings I borrowed.

 

You can buy some really light AT boots that are better for climbing.

 

Have you tried regular mountaineering boots, or is there too little ankle support?

 

Those Spantiks look good

Edited by Feck

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Guess it's about time I weigh in here.

 

It is true that there is no perfect solution to snowboard mtneering, but after a number of years of experimenting I am happy with my current set up. For 90% of my backcountry use I just use regular highbacks with snowboard boots. For spring, and other mtneering uses, I just wear whatever climbing boot I want in my normal highback snowboard bindings. Pretty easy to adjust the binding straps to fit any boots, and I have not found that much performance loss due to lack of support.

The caveat here is that, in general, I ride powder when using the splitty. That makes a huge difference when there is less ankle support.

 

I used to use the Voile mtn plate binding with yellow Koflachs, and felt like I less ankle support than I do now with Trango S in a highback. I have not used an AT boot, but have a few friends that went that route for a few years, and have switched to highbacks (Sparx) and a variety of other boots. For me hard boots and snowboarding just do not mix. YMMV

 

With all that said, the Spantik/highback route is probably what I would go with now if I had $600 bones for the boots.

 

Cheers.

Jimbo

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That is a really great weigh in.

 

I've hear totally mixed opinions about the debate over hard/soft boots and split boarding. There used to be boots made that were hard plastic, but were designed to be as soft as possible (I'm trying to find a pair on ebay or wherever...).

 

This guy is my freaking hero:

 

http://www.splitboard.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=3586

 

 

 

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A while back my buddy and I went to the Park Headwall via the Boulder Park Cleaver on Baker. This is a classic ski route as it avoids most cravasses and has some nice terrain (steeps, drops and long blasts). He was on a split with mountaineering boots with the voile bindings and scarpa boots. Everything was fine on the uphill and on the down up until it leveled out and we began traversing the side of the ridge. It went up a little, then down, then up and then we booted and then got down to the road. About half way down that section he decided that his board would be better off in ski mode to handle the constant up and down traversing. Then his binding broke because of the lateral torque. A month later he bought skis.

 

If you're going split, you're going to suffer the disadvantages on inferior equipment, lack of stability on one edge (which could be really bad on icy slopes) and the inefficiencies of having uphill skis that does not track very well.

 

Keep em near the resorts where things are not so life and death. I know peeps like Koch are taking it pretty far but skiers always take it further.

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It's not at all surprising that most snowboarders feel awkward in hard boots, since nearly everyone learns in soft boots. Only the rare hardboot racer/carver would feel comfortable in hard boots right away outside of the ski area. Most of the rest of us struggle to figure it out over only a handful of days each year, usually without ever riding hard boots at the resort to dial in the foot positions and technique, both which are different than for soft boots.

 

A mountaineering style boot with hardback bindings is an okay compromise, although it does sacrifice some edge control in climb mode, and can result in calf fatigue or chafing/soreness when edging for extended periods (many popular mountain routes). A velcro shin strap on the highback might be useful to control this. I'm not sure how much a new 'snowboard mountaineering specific soft boot' would differ from this option.

 

There are some advantages with skis (see Tony's post for one :grlaf:), but like you say, we love snowboarding for that dynamic surfy feeling, and skiing really isn't the same. However, there are certain conditions, frequently found above treeline, in which you can't really open it up and surf anyway--sometimes it's hard enough just to manage that single, deeply sidecut edge on firm slopes.

 

Then again like I said I think a pro hardbooter might not have so much trouble. So while I agree that the non-lift snowboarding technology should improve, it's also true that most riders will need to adapt to what is almost a completely new sport. There are a lot of mountaineering situations where it is questionable whether one should really expect to obtain a surfy softboot feeling like you can get on mellow slopes, or bombing powder lines out of a helicopter.

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FWIW, I skied for 15 years before ever putting on a snowboard. Besides the surfy feel of a snowboard, the best thing for me about snowboarding in not having to put stiff, plastic boots on.

 

And, after all that I have said, I have been shopping around for a reasonably priced AT setup to combat the occasional shortcomings of the splitty setup.

 

Cheers.

Jimbo

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This is what I'm talking about!! How well are you able to shred in your Scarpa's? I mean, if you wanted to could you take drops in them or hit natural kickers, or are they too stiff for normal movement?

The Scarpa's that I use work for me. I do leave the walk mode in the open position when I ride powder. For kickers and drops, well, they seem to work OK for me. I hated riding in soft boots even though I come from the snowboarding days when we rode in Sorels back at the Donner Ski Raunch... I still ride my soft boots at the resort once in a while, but really, I just like riding in hard boots, so my use of AT boots seemed pretty natural for me.

 

About snowboards/splitboards not being mountaineering tools: I beg to differ. Its just a matter of evolving the sport a bit. Skinning up is SOOOOO much more efficient than hiking, and shredding down saves hours of time. Plus its way more fun.

 

The thing about using either Splitboards or AT set ups is that they are in no way the same as resort skiing. Even AT skiers will say that they are sacrificing something when they use AT gear. Same goes for splitting. If you want that surfy feeling,all the time, stick to the resort. For Me, Snowboard Mountaineering is about the climb, and the decent. If I have to sacrifice for the climb (by using soft boots, crampons that don't fit, etc. etc.) then I might not make it to the decent in the first place. For me the Splitboard is a tool, that sits in my quiver of other mountain tools. use as needed.

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\

 

A mountaineering style boot with hardback bindings is an okay compromise, although it does sacrifice some edge control in climb mode, and can result in calf fatigue or chafing/soreness when edging for extended periods (many popular mountain routes). A velcro shin strap on the highback might be useful to control this. I'm not sure how much a new 'snowboard mountaineering specific soft boot' would differ from this option.

 

 

I have tried this my self, and so has some of my partners. The Mountaineering boots are not stiff enough for me. I tried using a Tele boot liner that had a power strap. That helped a little, but the AT boot blew the doors off the Plastic Mountaineering boot option. Well, OK, you can french better in a Plastic Mountaineering boot...

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I thought that at one point on splitboard.com, somebody posted some burton soft boots that a cobbler installed a mountaineering vibram sole on. I guess if you wanted the best compromise of modest climbing ability, with soft boot feel, that would probably be it.

 

 

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Right now I am splitting with the Vasque ICE 9000s and Spark bindings. This has treated me fine (though not ideal) with the aid of a booster strap on the front foot. I prefer this approach to a snowboard boot, as it has already been mentioned that sacrificing the ascent for the descent just doesn't work for me personally. Caveat being if I know that it will be nothing but powder I will probably go out in my Malamutes.

 

However, I did just score a good deal on a pair of Spantiks, will let you all know my thoughts in a couple weeks...provided the storms get in gear.

 

Good thread, it's nice to hear/view alternate opinions and options. For me personally if not for a bad knee I may be rockn an AT setup, but haven't found my split to hold me back yet.

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Ive been skateboarding for 24 years snowboarding for 20 and climbing for 10. Ive done many backcountry adventures in the Wasatch and Cascades with others and sometimes solo. A Split board in my opinion does not function like a real snowboard. I prefer to pack my snowboard boots in my pack and switch my mountaineering boots out at the top and ride down.I dont know what you mean about idiot skaters. You obviously have some weird prejudice against them that stems from your childhood. I ride with teleskiers and ATskiers and snowboarders alike. Ive seen plenty of "snowboard mountaineers" and "ski mountaineers" that have never skateboarded in there life that have no business descending a mountain on anything that slides fast. In the 80s I didnt know any snowboarders who didnt skate. It sounds like you started snowboarding last year so maybe you feel the need to stay true or pure in whatever club you think your in by bashing people who skate. Skateboarding is what turned me on to snowboarding in the late 80s when no one else but skaters were snowboarding. Your probably just another dweeb turned on to snowboarding when you saw a commercial during the x games for some energy drink. Todays snowboard gear does allow for killer lines down mountains if your actually riding a snowboard. Plain and simple--Snowboardboots,snowboardbindings, and a snowboard. Just figure out how to get them to the top. Its not that hard. Sorry its just not the same riding something that splits in half with ski boots on.

Peace

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Ive been skateboarding for 24 years snowboarding for 20 and climbing for 10. Ive done many backcountry adventures in the Wasatch and Cascades with others and sometimes solo. A Split board in my opinion does not function like a real snowboard. I prefer to pack my snowboard boots in my pack and switch my mountaineering boots out at the top and ride down.I dont know what you mean about idiot skaters. You obviously have some weird prejudice against them that stems from your childhood. I ride with teleskiers and ATskiers and snowboarders alike. Ive seen plenty of "snowboard mountaineers" and "ski mountaineers" that have never skateboarded in there life that have no business descending a mountain on anything that slides fast. In the 80s I didnt know any snowboarders who didnt skate. It sounds like you started snowboarding last year so maybe you feel the need to stay true or pure in whatever club you think your in by bashing people who skate. Skateboarding is what turned me on to snowboarding in the late 80s when no one else but skaters were snowboarding. Your probably just another dweeb turned on to snowboarding when you saw a commercial during the x games for some energy drink. Todays snowboard gear does allow for killer lines down mountains if your actually riding a snowboard. Plain and simple--Snowboardboots,snowboardbindings, and a snowboard. Just figure out how to get them to the top. Its not that hard. Sorry its just not the same riding something that splits in half with ski boots on.

Peace

 

Not bashing skateboarders in general. Just bashing the retards that think they are hella gangster....

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Yea, another elitist attitude on the slopes. Just what we need. :rolleyes:

 

Different strokes for different folds, and some of those folks can rip on a splitty. Just cause you can't, don't make it wrong.

 

Skate away, bro.

 

Cheers.

Jimbo

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