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diepj

Skis and Mountaineering Boots - Silvretta??

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As far as I can find online the only way to approach using your mountaineering boots is with an old pair of Silvretta 404 or 500's. While they come up for sale occasionally it seems like they're becoming relatively rare.

 

My goal is to set up a rig for AK and while I know folks are climbing there in TLTs or carrying climbing boots that's not what I'm looking for. I'm also not looking for ski performance, I just want to drag a sled across moderate angle glacier and not do it with snowshoes.

 

In an age of on demand 3-d printing are the Silvrettas of the '90's still the only way to go?

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There is a second hand store in Issaquah (Superior Seconds) where I have seen some AT skis with Silveretta 404s and 500s for pretty darn cheap.

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There are a couple of things from the splitboarding world that might help you out. You can get splitboard bindings to fit modern double boots pretty well (Spantiks or Baruntses) but you might need to do a little fiddling to optimize the fit. If you don't care much for the performance I'd suggest an older pair of Spark bindings with the pins (carry an extra pin!).

 

You could also go with the voile mountain plates and mount the touring pivot piece on any ski you want for the approach. It's a much clunkier answer than Silvrettas but parts are easy to come by and still in production. The mountain plates would fit onto a mountain boot that's fully welted but without a highback the skiing/riding performance would be really bad.

 

There are also a few options for ways to lock down the heels for a quick way to tear up your knees in case you fall but that's easier with the current split bindings.

 

There's also the option of retrofitting a Dynafit socket piece into your boot. Look around a bit, it's been done but again, the skiing is terrible but it would be more interesting than snow shoes.

Edited by Jason4

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Silvretta bindings work well and are fairly lightweight. I have also had luck using mountain boots on the older Fritschi bindings, but these are considerably heavier and do not work with every boot, but maybe worth a look....

It's an expensive option I know, but it's really hard to dispute the skiing and climbing ability of the TLT boots. I have not looked back since I got a pair. It's really a pain trying to ski in mountaineering boots.

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many mountain boots will fit into fritschi bindings,

 

and yes, the voile mountain plate is basically a simple silveretta with no release. I've used this setup alot, and wouldn't you know it, i have all the extra parts to set you up too...

 

10598730614_29ddfb9ed6_b.jpg

 

 

I got all this stuff i need to get rid of, i'll set you up at real good price.

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Thanks for the input/suggestions guys! I hadn't thought to look at splitboard gear, and frankly had no idea how their set-ups worked but assumed they would have nothing to do with skiing.

 

The voile mountain plates look ideal for what I want to be able to do i.e. ski very carefully for transportation, not rip for the adrenaline. I've got other set-ups for that... Plus I am probably looking to strap on Phantom 6000 boots, so a dynafit retro isn't a great option there.

 

Christoph - I'll shoot you a PM...

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I can promise you this - you're gonna be miserable trying to ski in your Phantom 6000 boots. If the glacier gets any steeper than about 8 degrees (the pitch of the gentlest bunny slopes), you're gonna have a really bad time.

 

My partner and I both took Phantom Guides and Silvrettas to Chamonix just to tool around on the glacier and approach climbs. It was an unmitigated disaster and nearly ruined our trip. And we weren't even trying to ski with sleds. Just daypacks.

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The folks I know who have OK experiences on the downhills (even moderates) with Silvrettas and mountaineering boots tend to be people who are lifelong skiers with skiing ability that is well above average.

 

I tried it out and felt like I was one tiny mistake away from a tib / fib fracture the whole time I was going slightly downihll.

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A good skier with a 50lb pack will fall somewhat regularly as soon as they start going down any incline. A sled will complicate it for sure. Euro shops sell some things that are basically snow blades with a crampon style binding. get those if youre really keen.

I had silvrettas on approach skis. after 4 nights at the resort i could kind of ski blue runs in nepal evos. Then i got tlt 5's and ditched the silvrettas, never missed em. The motion sucks, you will likely get blisters, silvretta bindings weigh more than my skis and bindings together. TLT's also arent that cold. i use mine to climb technical ice if its colder than -20 celcius. good to -35 or so. overboots after that.

if youre just pulling a sled for a bit use snowshoes. if you need skis, use real skis.

 

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It's good to see some other people chiming in with the voice of reason here.....this whole debate about the right boot for mountaineering/skiing I thought was settled after The TLT boot came out. True, the TLT 5 might be a bit chilly for really high elevation climbs but I feel like the the TLT 6 is for sure up for the challenge for all but perhaps the coldest of N American expeditions, and way warmer than most climbing boots. Why not go euro and climb and ski in the same boot effectively? Unless you are really at the cutting edge and need the performance of a dedicated climbing boot I don't see a down side. Check out some videos on Cold Thistle and see what folks are pulling off in their TLT boots!

You can screw around with last century silveratta bindings or some unreleasable/unproven concoction or ski and climb better with equipment that is readily available.

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for all but perhaps the coldest of N American expeditions

 

My goal is to set up a rig for AK

 

not sure where diepj is going in AK, but the most popular climbing venue there is the central alaska range.

 

I think that Spantiks and Phantom 6000's (popular boots in AK range) are much warmer than tlt's. I havent used the 6, but have used the 5 for the last few years.

 

Double climbing boots are really the best option up there, as lots of routes have rock climbing for several pitches, and descents that don't bring you back to your skis. bringing skis up and over routes there is not really an option on many mountains.

 

I did use TLT 5's, with closed cell foam under the liner, and 40 below over boots for a successful Denali West Buttress snowboard descent in May this year.

 

Edited by christophbenells

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Thanks for the input everybody.

 

My goal would be trying to get to 11k (not 14...) on the butt or tooling around in the Ruth Gorge.

 

I have pretty good skiing skills so I at least want to try it out. If in the end I find that you're all right I'll be the first to admit it. I've already got a stack of skis and climbing boots so I figured I'd try it out on the cheap first before I pony straight up for the Dynafits and TLTs. I know Denali has been done in the TLT5's but I'm still skeptical about them (with regard to warmth - not climb-ability). I haven't heard anything about the 6 - I'll keep my eyes peeled on those too.

 

I'm going to try the voile set-up and see how bad it really is...

 

Depending on the situation snowshoes might not be that bad either.

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If you're going to Denali bring an AT setup in addition to your Spantiks or Phantom 6000's for the upper mountain. The skiing is fantastic and the only way to get around. It took me 2 hours from 14 camp back to BC, including the skin up heartbreak hill and digging a cache at 11 camp. When the weather sucks you can always entertain yourself by getting in ski runs.

 

Skiing with a sled isn't the best, but there are ways to rig it so you can ski easily and quickly downhill.

 

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Just an idea, before purchasing any additional gear, and since you have skis:

 

Adjust the bindings on the shortest skis you have to fit your mountaineering boots and try descending on them with a good size pack. I performed this experiment 15 years ago and immediately bought a proper AT setup.

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i don't think people are actually reading what the OP is posting...

 

he wants this set-up to approach climbs in the ruth gorge...using ski boots for that is not needed.

 

going up to 11k on denali...definitely want ski boots for that.

 

if you are good, you can ski in mountain boots. I have skied 20~ degree slopes in the setup pictured above, you just have to get used to leaning forward correctly.

 

Xc skiers have even less support then mountain boots, think of the stuff that went down on 3 pins in places like the Sierras in the 70's. Weren't the Skoog guys skiing all those cascade peaks in mountain boots back in the day?

 

 

Edited by christophbenells

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right, for the Ruth 404's are the way to go. It's super flat. Even going up to the west fork from the mountain house is flat. If you brought a real ski setup you could do the Japanese Couloir which would make a fantastic ski descent. The time for that would probably be april or early may...

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i don't think people are actually reading what the OP is posting...

 

he wants this set-up to approach climbs in the ruth gorge...using ski boots for that is not needed.

 

going up to 11k on denali...definitely want ski boots for that.

 

if you are good, you can ski in mountain boots. I have skied 20~ degree slopes in the setup pictured above, you just have to get used to leaning forward correctly.

 

Xc skiers have even less support then mountain boots, think of the stuff that went down on 3 pins in places like the Sierras in the 70's. Weren't the Skoog guys skiing all those cascade peaks in mountain boots back in the day?

 

Thank you and exactly. If skiing was what I was interested in I would have TLTs and dynafits hands down. And I'd go to Utah instead of Alaska. Or I'd use the stack of tele setups currently collecting dust in the garage.

 

My main interest is making it easier and relatively safer to glacier travel in order to climb. I don't have an unlimited budget so I'm not trying to have the perfect top of the line solution for every trip and every situation. If I am going to save a couple bucks I want to see if its feasible to do it on the ski side of the equation. Again, I'm after a utility experience not a chance to model a snorkel in blower powder.

 

People have been skiing to climb in Alaska for generations and somehow they made it work without TLTs. How? And what is the closest reasonable modern-day equivalent? This is the question I was really trying to ask. I get that there are drawbacks, limits and trade-offs. I was aware of many and I've also picked up some more insights, so I do appreciate the voices pointing these things out.

 

Given a limited budget I'd rather approach with relatively antiquated ski gear than climb with antiquated climbing gear!

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Read the latest Marc Leclerc blog to get pumped on skiing in mountain boots and silverettas. And get some insurance for your knees.

 

http://marcleclerc.blogspot.com.ar/

I elected to spend the remainder of the day skiing around the pass and to climb Pollone the following morning. The afternoon was spent in a leisurely manner, skiing laps down the long undulating slope to the base of the Supercanaleta and skinning back up. I am not an expert skier, especially in climbing boots, so this was a perfect and enjoyable place for me to practice making turns in a spectacular setting. Despite the mellow angle of the hill, I still wiped out in ways that surely would have made good entertainment had others been around to watch.

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Sweet! Thanks for the link.

 

There are many things I won't aspire to in that TR including running laps in my mountain boots!

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