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[TR] mt baker - coleman-deming 3/20/2010


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Trip: mt baker - coleman-deming


Date: 3/20/2010


Trip Report:

on friday night my friends lee, rok, and i drove up [within 5 min walking] to heliotrope ridge trail to climb and ski baker. this was our first time up there. the weather was mild enough that we all slept outside, no tent, next to the car. we had followed noaa pretty carefully in the past weeks, and felt that the window we'd chosen was pretty decent. we weren't alone by far.


once we got properly caffeinated, we started skiing at 2:15 a.m.


the weather was clear on the approach, we had no prob with route finding. with a few stops for food we made it to the base of the climb about 6 hours later.





at this point rok wasn't feeling well, and following a little discussion we decided to split up. lee and i would try to tag the summit, and rok would descend and wait for us. so we all had snacks (power bars and rye bread) and pressed on.




lee and i pressed on as this pesky wind started to pick up... by the time we reached the top of the roman wall it was pretty difficult. we were intent on skiing down, so we carried our skis up. we definitely pushed it on the time, and selfishly decided to push for grant peak, despite being beyond the time that we'd told rok we'd turn around.


anyways, we tagged the actual summit, and then all hell broke loose. i talked the NF ranger later, and she said that despite the clear forecast the rapidly changing weather brought on this tempesuous wind (do i hear 60-70 mph?), which really made it ... an experience. by the way, skis on back make for awesome sails.





by the time we were descending, the wind was pretty tough to deal with. i crashed and tumbled pretty well on the icy descent and semi-busted my ski binding. after fixing the situation (read: putting the skis back on the pack and boot-packing down), lee and i made it down to the saddle. i was able to keep the ski on my boot by locking it (not good, but i felt pretty ok by then), and we skied our way down to the trees.



this was another interesting experience: ski for a second, lean down to avoid getting blown over by the gusts, wait for clearing in the wind, ski again...

the wind was strong enough to blow me uphill when i was clearly aiming down. we encountered one unstable north- northwest-facing slope that fractured into a 1,5 inch slab under my skis. yikes. but we made it down alright and met up with rok at a bar in glacier.






huge thanks to the people who told our partner that we were still on the mountain, and told him that my binding was busted and it slowed us down, and who gave him a ride down to town. this was a series of marginal decisions on time allowance that nearly turned into a fiasco. but overall, an awesome day out, thanks to lee and rok!


Gear Notes:

axe! crampons! avy gear - the north- and northwest-facing slopes are wind-loaded!

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"locking" the binding? Dynafit? Don't worry, I always lock the heck of the binding when the skiing matters. Click click click till it stops.


hey doug. yeah, i'm not entirely sure what's up. i can click into the front pins, but when i go to lock down the heel it torques the boot out of the front pins. this may have happened when i crashed, or more likely (since i've crashed MANY times before in much worse ways) the binding isn't mounted completely straight. i haven't skied on this setup before, so i don't know. yeah, my other skis have the same bindings and i've never had any problems.


i tore my mcl two years ago when my binding didn't release, so i avoid locking on the downhill. i did it on the mellower terrain down below b/c it was the only way i could ski down.

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That is odd. The only thing I could think is ice/gunk getting into the toe divots and not letting the bindings fully click - happened tons to me when I was first messing around with my Dynafutzes. Is it doing the same thing at home in a "controlled" scenario?


Sorry you got jipped of a fast descent :/

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good point. i came home, and in my very controlled livingroom, i clipped the boots in.

it's definitely a problem with the binding. the rods are off by about 3-4 mm, big off, considering the length of the pins in the front. back to the shop this week i go. damn.

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I agree about your living room being a controlled environment, but does it have external validity?

don't know. i'm guessing that if you brought another pair of of skis with misaligned bindings into it, they would probably still be misaligned. as a negative control, i have a pair of skis with properly aligned, same-type bindings that work equally well in the livingroom and on the slopes. with only two data points, can we really assign significane though?


Approx. what time did the weather turn to shit? Had you made your turnaround time, would it have helped the situation?

the wind really picked up around noon. around 1 o'clock things got really nasty. yes, had we turned around, we might have had an easier time.

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Welcome to the wonderful life of being a Dynafit owner.


I worked in the shop at OMC in Portland and we noticed this too - but our determination was that during a bad wreck it more commonly was the boot that got misaligned, not the binding. A new boot off the wall fit the "busted" bindings perfectly while the old boot was off.


Either way - you pretty much have to ski Dynafits in lock-down mode any time you are in consequential terrain ... period.


Hate to say it, but nobody wants the G3 Onyx bindings mainly because they don't look as sexy. A tad heavier, but they don't seem to have this problem.

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