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Ski touring for wallies

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Weathercam wrote:

I do have a lightweight Petzel ski touring / mountaineering helmet but only choose to use that if the terrain is severe, the chance of rockfalls/rappelling etc]


Talking of which, time to go exploring...



Recovering after a villainous bootpack!

http://youtube.com/v/RT853uujhSc

Freeride!

http://youtube.com/v/a7uvaQkwU7A
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@BobinCH, yeah if I was in that terrain above then I'd use a lid too!
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@Weathercam, Yes, and I only started wearing one on descents after a colleague received a severe head injury when a client collided with him. I'd also opt for one where risk of rockfalls made it worthwhile on ascent and when in climbing mode Ski Mountaineering. In Austria (Salzburgland) when guiding or even playing off-side, helmets are compulsory for descents when working. Not having a go, just curious. Entirely up to the individual what you do in your own time. Great Photos by the way.
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@RedandWhiteFlachau, so are you UIAGM or something else just curious as most guides I know don't get too involved with this debate
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Weathercam, same. Never seen a guide here with a helmet on. I’m wearing mine more and more as scared of shark attacks but it’s a pain on bootpacks as I can’t attach it to backpack when carrying skis, so it sits at the front and fills up with snow snowHead

I put it on when beached on some rocks, although wouldn’t have been much use in a fall Skullie
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Weathercam wrote:
@RedandWhiteFlachau, are you a qualified guide then? As most I know do not wear a lid when touring, and when asked say it is up to you whether to wear one, and around these parts, and probably in the many other locations I've ski toured in I'd say as much as 75% ski tour without a lid.


According to a doctor of the trauma department of Grenoble hospital head injury isn't a major factor in ski touring injuries - most people are ski touring pretty mellow stuff and at lower speeds (see the studies by: Saragaglia & al. et Nay) and the risk of colliding with other skiers is limited compared to alpine skiing. There is a greater risk of collision with trees / rocks compared to piste skiing but at much lower energy levels. The big risk is to knees - due to the nature of the terrain and also the release characteristics of ski touring bindings. Feet injuries are also significant (due to the nature of touring boots) as are fractures / spiral fractures (boots/bindings at fault).

Obviously if you are doing ski alpinism - steep slopes, climbing etc it is different, even climbing a steep couloir you have the risk of ice blocks being knocked off by other skiers. The most important serious risk is: avalanche (hence Weathercam's suggestion of an ABS).

The French Mountaineering Federation have recently mandated that all minors wear helmets both climbing and descending on club tours, I think this is a bad move. They also recommend that adults wear helmets at all times. If you are going to wear a helmet why not back protection?

Coming back to Weathercam's comments about XC skiing, it has a higher accident rate than ski touring in the French statistics (club activities), as does piste skiing. 0.08% per skier day compared to 0.06% for ski touring.
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@davidof, You make good points as always and I've followed your blogs for many a season. I'm not suggesting that you should wear a helmet, that is a matter of personal choice, hence my original post. But the issue of "'Elf and Safety" is becoming more pervasive year on year hence the French directive I suspect. You are less likely to get sued by the more enthusiastic Tourer if they injure themselves, but the touring "Punter" (if I may) will take you to court as quick as a flash.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
RedandWhiteFlachau wrote:
@davidof, You make good points as always and I've followed your blogs for many a season. I'm not suggesting that you should wear a helmet, that is a matter of personal choice, hence my original post. But the issue of "'Elf and Safety" is becoming more pervasive year on year hence the French directive I suspect. You are less likely to get sued by the more enthusiastic Tourer if they injure themselves, but the touring "Punter" (if I may) will take you to court as quick as a flash.


I suspect the FFME (and the CAF are having similar discussions I'm told) have insurance pressures.

There is no real reason not to wear a helmet if you have one and don't mind wearing or carrying it. I just think legislating for everything takes away some responsibility from end users. Regarding the knee/leg injury aspect, some of the better pin bindings and boots no doubt help a bit here and a leg injury is probably less likely to be life threatening compared to a head injury (both of which you may sustain in an avalanche).

Back to the French hospital stats - mountain bikers are the biggest sufferers from head and back injury - more than climbers.
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davidof wrote:
......There is no real reason not to wear a helmet if you have one and don't mind wearing or carrying it........


Exactly each to their own and most new decent alpine packs often have a well-designed helmet carrier that does not affect the skis if carrying A-frame etc or slopping about when skinning, but can still be yet another element of a faff to contend with Laughing

Your point about knees etc is so true, I know far more people me included who have done a knee touring and getting caught out on shite snow.

And then post-operation, you then have the decision to tour or not with the brace, and/or carry it on the up and then put it on for the descent.

Took the family up for more of a dog walk than a ski tour this afternoon towards one of our favourite spring areas (as in the Spring we can drive a long way up as the snow recedes), however now to get to our ski tour area it's probably a 90min hike before the climbing actually really starts but it's looking really sweet and might be worth the effort.

That should still be cold snow still as NW facing, we call it Telly Tubby land, and that's the Italian border along the ridge right of picture.

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Weathercam wrote:
BobinCH wrote:
Weathercam wrote:

The only negative is pulling up the lever to lock into walk mode, it's quite stiff, but might well ease up with use, a bit like the Shift issues.


Good to know. Didn’t move when I tried to pull it - thought it didn’t lock Puzzled #wally



Now that made me chuckle Laughing

Hopefully some off the back slack country circa Noon


Finally locked ‘em today. Jeeeeesus the mechanism is stiff - thought I’d broken it. Top Pace on the up with the brakes not locked, not.... Missed the DPS’s on the down Madeye-Smiley

http://youtube.com/v/C3jshF0hAlQ
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Did my second tour on Thursday - this time from back of apartment in Chatel 1220m to the top Le Monclan 1970m. Left at 9 am and followed the closed home run on brown snow, followed by a nicely groomed blue cat-track to around 1650m. At that point the track turned to a less-glide / more-stom frozen road for piste bashers which was made up of a mix track grooves going across and death cookies, it also got very steep in parts for the last 300m climb for 2km.

The total 5k / 750m climb took me almost 2 hours with ten odd stop here and there to faff with layers, ruck sack and take photos. Didn’t really rest - average HR was 153 bpm and maxed out at 180 when I sped up at the top. This was hard going but did not find it tough - very much like a long climb on the bike which i am used to - altbough at 1/2 the vertical speed on skis. I really enjoyed it - especially the fitness aspect. Took less than 10 mins to ski back to apartment so no faff.

I was using Faction Dictator 2.0 96mm, Salomon Shift and Tecnica Cochise 130 boots. Need to find a better rucksack as my Osprey downhill bag is not fit for purpose and my Scott airbag rucksack was not necessary for this trip.

Funny moment was about 10 mins in when a skinny French guy in Lycra went past me shouting “trop lourd” as if I had Wally written on my back!

Started to google light weight gear!

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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
“Need to find a better rucksack as my Osprey downhill bag is not fit for purpose and my Scott airbag rucksack was not necessary for this trip”

I be just got the new this season Ortovox Trace 25 L - comes in a variety of sizes and back lengths and is nice and light at ~450gms, typically very well designed Ortovox kit.

If you want to make an instant weight difference try the Tecnica Zero G Pro which is 130 flex and saves 500g over the Tecnica Cochise 130 - or 500kg over 1000 strides....
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Just back from probably my worst ever ski tour and at times quite scary on my own.

As temps were +6 in the valley and sunshine I opted for repeating going off the back where I went on Thursday and maybe exploring NW facing slopes in search for powder.

It was a little breezy in the valley this morning but didn't really think any more about that, plus all lifts were running, it was only when taking the last drag that I can see the wind howling at altitude.

I decided to pass on skinning up further to find the powder and opted for a straight off the back, and the snow was dire, I was traversing all over the bowls to try and find any decent snow, and the wind suddenly was insane, but I was sort of beyond the point of no return, though in hindsight I should have skinned back up.



I did find some decent snow and carried on down to the valley floor, and then started to climb, but I was very concerned at the wind and what it might be doing to the snow as I did not have crampons with me, and I was tad a paranoid about stuff coming down, I also had a few issues (see below) getting my brakes to lock.

I was crossing a gulley and twas a little tricky traverse and then I just could not get any grip, it was the weirdest snow, very loose windblown on hard snow, and I ended up sliding down losing a ski, then get shite together and two mins later repeat again, and I knew there was more tricky technical stuff ahead plus the bonkers wind, which luckily was not constant so I could cope with the gusts.

At this stage, I was considering skiing all the way back to the lower valley and getting the OH to come and get me or hitch back, but I carried on not wanting to be beaten in some masochistic way.

The issue with the brakes was in fact helping my grip as they acted like mini crampons, as I climbed higher the wind was easy gale-force maybe stronger gusts as I had to crouch down to avoid being blown over, I was sort of following my skin track from a few days ago though at times it disappeared with the windblown snow, and then I thought maybe the lift I was aiming for would be closed because of the winds??

Anyway finally I was in a more sheltered area and then could see afar that thankfully the chair was working, if it had been closed then I would have had an extra 30mins climbing so not a big deal up an empty piste.

The image below is of our skin track from Thursday where we'd compressed the snow and you can see how the wind has scoured the snow on the windward side!




BobinCH wrote:
........
Finally locked ‘em today. Jeeeeesus the mechanism is stiff - thought I’d broken it. Top Pace on the up with the brakes not locked, not.... Missed the DPS’s on the down Madeye-Smiley ....


So I left the skis in the van overnight as I have done since I've had them, and did think maybe they had iced up under the locking plate, as I've had no issues on four or five tours with them now.

I did recall reading on Wild Snow how the brakes can be a PITA to fit https://www.wildsnow.com/27135/fritschi-xenic-technical-review/ and on closer examination, I can see the issue, and can now move them to avoid the problem, however I'll be taking them back to the shop who mounted them to make good 100%.

BobinCH I can post photos if you like?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@mishmash, will look for the Ortovox bag when next in resort and will try on. My wife loves the functionality of her free riding bag. As for boots I see your point but mine are a one-boot quiver and love them for day to day skiing and occasional uphill jaunt. Think I am going to look for a specialist light weight boot / skis / bindings for days when I just want to go up and happy to compromise downhill performance like my last tour.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
This was proper Wally...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I use stretch leashes on my touring rig, ski brakes don't work too well on steepish/hardish slopes.......
Plum leashes are good or the B&D from Spyderjon
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@KenX, makes sense. I think I’ve actually got some old DF leashes somewhere. Will have a dig...
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
KenX wrote:
I use stretch leashes on my touring rig, ski brakes don't work too well on steepish/hardish slopes.......
Plum leashes are good or the B&D from Spyderjon


While kick turning and trying to get an edge in icy conditions I lost a ski above 4000m altitude in the middle of nowhere and the ski went a long way, so I can see the point of leashes.
Having said that I always thought leashes can cause the ski to smack you repeatedly in a tumble and drag you under in the event of an avalanche. Maybe it make sense to have brakes and leashes in certain conditions (hard & steep).
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I've had two falls with leashes with ski coming off (low din settings) and I think the knee injury I sustained both times was due to the leash, so I am a bit wary of them, though like everything on the mountain there is a time and a place.

I don't ski with my pole leashes, but I do on hard steep icy terrain climb with them as I've seen people lose a pole a long way.
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BobinCH wrote:
This was proper Wally...


Just checking, did you have the toes fully locked in for ascent ??
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DB wrote:
KenX wrote:
I use stretch leashes on my touring rig, ski brakes don't work too well on steepish/hardish slopes.......
Plum leashes are good or the B&D from Spyderjon


While kick turning and trying to get an edge in icy conditions I lost a ski above 4000m altitude in the middle of nowhere and the ski went a long way, so I can see the point of leashes.
Having said that I always thought leashes can cause the ski to smack you repeatedly in a tumble and drag you under in the event of an avalanche. Maybe it make sense to have brakes and leashes in certain conditions (hard & steep).


What you want are the (breakable) leashes spyderjon sells wink

https://www.thepisteoffice.com/index.php/the-piste-office-store/ski-leashes-traces-ties/b-d-ski-leash_55684bf72b3c5-detail.html
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Dabber wrote:
BobinCH wrote:
This was proper Wally...


Just checking, did you have the toes fully locked in for ascent ??


Yep toes locked for ascent. Came off in ski mode
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@BobinCH, ah ok didn't realise thought you were on the way up , good job those brakes held , looks like could have been a Long hop down
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@BobinCH, are these Fritschi Xenic 10 bindings and what were your main reasons for choosing these over say the Marker Alpinist? I am thinking of getting the Markers with brakes on my new setup based on a couple of reviews but not had a deep look.
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Ozboy wrote:
@BobinCH, are these Fritschi Xenic 10 bindings and what were your main reasons for choosing these over say the Marker Alpinist? I am thinking of getting the Markers with brakes on my new setup based on a couple of reviews but not had a deep look.


Yes. The shop I got them from said they were better than Alpinists. Something to do with the release characteristics. With hindsight I wish I’d asked @spyderjon who would have recommended the Alpinists...
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@BobinCH, but on the plus side they’re light and, in that photo at least they held, just ... just a classic shot but you have to admire the kahoonas of preferring to take the shot rather than gingerly reaching for the ski. Reset priorities ;o)
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
BobinCH wrote:
Ozboy wrote:
@BobinCH, are these Fritschi Xenic 10 bindings and what were your main reasons for choosing these over say the Marker Alpinist? I am thinking of getting the Markers with brakes on my new setup based on a couple of reviews but not had a deep look.


Yes. The shop I got them from said they were better than Alpinists. Something to do with the release characteristics. With hindsight I wish I’d asked @spyderjon who would have recommended the Alpinists...


Good to know and thanks.
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Another alternative is the ATK Crest, which also have brakes but are lighter than the Fritschi Xenic 10 or Marker Alpinist, when they have brakes fitted. I’ll find out next week how good they are, when I try them for the first time.
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You know it makes sense.
PowderAdict wrote:
Another alternative is the ATK Crest, which also have brakes but are lighter than the Fritschi Xenic 10 or Marker Alpinist, when they have brakes fitted. I’ll find out next week how good they are, when I try them for the first time.


Yes @Gorilla is selling a pair of these. Seem like a good option also
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I've now done circa 10 sorties on the Xenics.

Doing a very hard aggressive kick-turn in a somewhat precarious situation a few days ago my ski came off and I had around a 15m descent after it, so I'm not too sure if maybe I had not pulled the lever up all the way, which is very hard indeed, or with the vicious kick I applied the toe of my boot pinged the binding, anyway lesson learnt.

Leaving my skis in the van overnight I have had some icing issues in the morning when switching into climbing mode and locking the brakes, but I now know what to look for.

I have pushed the binding, almost out of my comfort zone, on hard pistes skiing fast and luckily no release issues.

Tech bindings are what they are, and I had and seen various issues over the years*, and a guide mate of mine answered this in a feature
MOST UNUSUAL ITEM IN YOUR KIT / BACKPACK: "The small espresso spoon lightly bent and held by the 'spoon side' that clears the ice underneath the toe piece on pin bindings is a true life saver. I wouldn't leave home without it."

If you're not comfortable with the idea of them then go Shifts or something.

*I also could recount the broken Dynafit binding a guide had on the first day in Lyngen a long while back, and then five days later we're climbing up and a group was skiing down, one dude had all Dynafit clothing, and as a few groups are there testing gear I asked if he was anything to do with Dynafit, and his mates laughed and said he was Mr Dynaift, Fritz Barthel, he was not best pleased to see the broken pin the guide had in his pocket.

Next season (this was 3-4 yrs before the patent expired) I toured with Fritz and his father for a day as they were down in our neck of the world and he gave me a whole bunch of spares he had!!!


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Tue 14-01-20 9:17; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
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I have frame bindings and one thing I always carry in my skin bag is a cut down dish washing brush with a scraper tip. Brilliant for clearing ice and frozen snow.
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https://www.thepisteoffice.com/index.php/2013-09-09-17-07-34/touring-binding-de-icing.html
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@Weathercam, it’s the delta angle that I don’t like (at least it’s what I think I don’t like) on the Xenics. Ok on piste but in variable conditions they’re pushing me very back seat which is just not comfortable. The DIN’s were my own fault and the other fiddly stuff is typical to most tech bindings.

Ps PM’d you re Japan
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spyderjon wrote:
https://www.thepisteoffice.com/index.php/2013-09-09-17-07-34/touring-binding-de-icing.html

This is on my to-do list, though I did think that as someone with tiny hands, I could trim a bit more off and get the weight down to 12g NehNeh
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@Scarlet, Put it in a hard plastic bag in your pack though otherwise like me you'll get wire bristles stuck in your fingers when you go diving into your rucksack - painful! That'll add a few g's back on wink I reverted back to slamming the skis on the deck.....removes ice no trouble.
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@Markymark29, or something I have never had to resort to with iced bindings but have done with an iced rear mech etc and that's relieve oneself over them Laughing
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@Weathercam, just exactly what do you mean by "relieve" yourself? Toofy Grin
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@spyderjon, ......the mind boggles eh?! Shocked
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@Weathercam, did it work or did you get yourself into a more sticky situation?
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A question for @BobinCH, and everyone else. I'm about to pull the trigger and I'm trying to decide on bindings. Is the weight of the Salomon Shift noticeably different to your lighter set up? At the moment I will do more downhill that uphill, but can see myself getting into touring more.

Another question, is doing a lot of piste skiing on the tech bindings bad for them?
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