Forums Splitboards Denali splitboard ascent/descent
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  • #577015
    serdvc
    3 Posts

    Hi,

    Lately I have been wandering the internet looking for answers on the quaestion which splitbord to use when tackeling the Denali.

    Next june 2013 I will make an attempt conquering this stone sentinal of the north. I have allready went on 3 previous expeditions to the Elbrus, Kili and Aconcagua. To all I brought my board, besides Kili ( unfortunately), but never used a splitboard.

    Perhaps somebody can fill me in on what board to use? I have a lot of snowboard experience, but no splitboard experience. Perhaps there are people here who allready went there on a splitboard, or maybe didn’t even use a splitboard.

    Hope to hear form y’all.

    Thanks,

    Guy.

    #657019
    HikeforTurns
    1113 Posts

    Something good for big mountain conditions (variable, icy) that can support a heavy load while hauling to camps.

    Something a bit on the stiffer side I’d say. I hope to do this as well someday, and would take my Venture Odin and for sure a hardboot setup. Using an AT ski boot that is warm and climbs well with crampons is key. Good luck conquering Denali though, may just want to climb it and slide down.

    Though Im curious to see what others have used on big mountain riding. My feet would have to be amputated for sure if I used soft boots.

    Any board that is reasonably stiff and can handle variable icy conditions should do the trick. Dont forget ski crampons for the uptrack.

    #657020
    Killclimbz
    1165 Posts

    Venture Odin and Neversummer Summit come to mind as two boards I would consider for that. The Neversummer SL might not be a bad choice either. It’s the Heritage as split, not the SL, so it is stiffer. I don’t believe it’s as stiff as the Summit though.

    Definitely go with HFT’s advice on hard boots and ski crampons. I’m sure you already know this though.

    #657021
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    Chimera Mace would be a solid choice. So would a Winterstick Tom Burt split (after all, he did make the first snowboard descent of Denali).
    Stiffer is good, as you will always be carrying a bigger pack. But most important of all is reliability of the boot binding system-make sure everything is well tested and sorted, and carry spare parts for anything which could break. I used hard boots and supergaiters for my one Alaskan expedition, and would recommend that approach.
    I’ll sound like a broken record, but a shallower sidecut (long radius) is going to be a lot easier and safer to ride in the mixed conditions likely to be experienced in the high mountains of Alaska.

    #657022
    Powder_Rider
    498 Posts

    A couple years ago Lou Dawson’s Denali Ski Mountaineering Expedition was a success. Much of their success was due to planning and gear selection. In particular, the selection and fitting of AT boots (hard boots) for their expedition:

    See: Fitting Ski Boots For Denali — Today, ZZero
    http://www.wildsnow.com/2234/ski-boot-fitting-denali/

    http://www.wildsnow.com/backcountry-skiing-search/?cx=partner-pub-8093284038752434%3Ayxtlw7-4zut&cof=FORID%3A11&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=denali&sa=Search+WildSnow

    I would have the splitboard-transition down, since speed = safety in Mountaineering, see: http://splitboard.com/talk/viewtopic.php?f=44&t=11996

    #657023
    serdvc
    3 Posts

    Thanks for the usable advice!

    The cold will definitely become a hazard, I allready encountered this on aconcagua on my soft boots.. So I will go for ht ehard boots which will fit crampons better.

    Keep the tips coming!

    #657024
    FirstAscent
    111 Posts

    it has been a long goal of mine to climb Denali, whether I do it with or w/o a board, I dunno.

    I don’t have advice for you but look forward to your expedition and write up…a year from now 🙂

    #657025
    ruapehu_explorer
    78 Posts

    @killclimbz wrote:

    Venture Odin and Neversummer Summit come to mind as two boards I would consider for that. The Neversummer SL might not be a bad choice either. It’s the Heritage as split, not the SL, so it is stiffer. I don’t believe it’s as stiff as the Summit though.

    Definitely go with HFT’s advice on hard boots and ski crampons. I’m sure you already know this though.

    The Summit split is actually less stiff than the SL split, but more damp, according to their website. Summit split: flex = 4, dampening = 8.5
    SL split: flex = 5.5, dampening = 7

    #657026
    iriecoyote
    291 Posts

    I hope you have experience on skis. I haven’t been but I’m sure you’ll find yourself in technical situations on the ski ascent. Of course you can switch over to crampons to climb I’m just sayin’ Denali’s a big hill to start splittin. Good luck!

    #657027
    nordicbordn
    225 Posts

    soo you want to splitboard the highest mountain in the US? and.. youve never used a splitboard before? something about that fact, and the fact that youre expecting to need a year to prepare makes me think you really do not have the technical knowledge and mountaineering experience denali requires. you ever ride rainier? any peaks in alaska for that matter?

    not trying to discourage you but only two professional snowboarders i know of have completed this feat. either youre some sort of unknown prodigy, or youre in over your head. denali is frigid, merciless, and prone to avalanches 12 months of the year. let me know how it goes dude

    #657028
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @nordicbordn wrote:

    soo you want to splitboard the highest mountain in the US? and.. youve never used a splitboard before? something about that fact, and the fact that youre expecting to need a year to prepare makes me think you really do not have the technical knowledge and mountaineering experience denali requires. you ever ride rainier? any peaks in alaska for that matter?

    not trying to discourage you but only two professional snowboarders i know of have completed this feat. either youre some sort of unknown prodigy, or youre in over your head. denali is frigid, merciless, and prone to avalanches 12 months of the year. let me know how it goes dude

    Nordic, perhaps you are being a little overly harsh here. The OP has high altitude, very cold conditions mountaineering experience already (Aconcagua). The climbing season on Denali is May/June, so he has all of next winter to dial in his splitboarding technique if he intends to attempt Denali next season. A full season of splitboarding seems totally reasonable to learn how to skin, and I assume he is already an accomplished snowboarder as far as descending skills go. For very many people Denali is their first Alaskan mountaineering experience, and many of these folks are successful. I would not be so discouraging here, the only way to learn how to expedition in Alaska is to do it.

    #657029
    Powder_Rider
    498 Posts

    Thread Drift….

    I am wonder what are the steps for crevasse rescue? In particular I am wondering if you are the splitboard rescue-e . AKA You fallen into the crevasse, and and you climbing partner(s) have self-arrested your fall. You hanging in mid-air and the crevasse floor is 100 meters down and the crevasse wall is 20 meters away.

    How does one manage getting-out your split-board bindings, (both in tour-mode and ride-mode),

    So do does your choice bindings become an important factor in mountaineering?

    Do you wear ski-leashes?

    Can you get out of the bindings, or pull the tour pin?

    How does one manage not losing your splitboard and equipment and securing it?

    Keep in mind the most difficult part of crevasse rescue for the rescuee, is the over hanging edge of the crevasse. So you cannot have a yard sale hanging about in this situation.

    Skier Falls into Crevasse – Hangs by one toepiece
    [youtube:2e07zyqv]g5JK8LRWQjE[/youtube:2e07zyqv]

    Another point is managing transition when using skins and splitboard crampons in steep, exposed icy terrain . How easy is to change-out or install the splitboard crampons. Voile you have to remove the binding, tour-pin, then install all the above. Whereas the Dynafits. The crampons slide right in to the toe piece binding.

    [youtube:2e07zyqv]LoiHW0xvxs0[/youtube:2e07zyqv]

    #657030
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    @powder_rider wrote:

    Thread Drift….

    I am wonder what are the steps for crevasse rescue? In particular I am wondering if you are the splitboard rescue-e . AKA You fallen into the crevasse, and and you climbing partner(s) have self-arrested your fall. You hanging in mid-air and the crevasse floor is 100 meters down and the crevasse wall is 20 meters away.

    How does one manage getting-out your split-board bindings, (both in tour-mode and ride-mode),

    So do does your choice bindings become an important factor in mountaineering?

    Do you wear ski-leashes?

    Can you get out of the bindings, or pull the tour pin?

    How does one manage not losing your splitboard and equipment and securing it?

    Keep in mind the most difficult part of crevasse rescue for the rescuee, is the over hanging edge of the crevasse. So you cannot have a yard sale hanging about in this situation.

    Skier Falls into Crevasse – Hangs by one toepiece
    [youtube:2h6ajmap]g5JK8LRWQjE[/youtube:2h6ajmap]

    Another point is managing transition when using skins and splitboard crampons in steep, exposed icy terrain . How easy is to change-out or install the splitboard crampons. Voile you have to remove the binding, tour-pin, then install all the above. Whereas the Dynafits. The crampons slide right in to the toe piece binding.

    [youtube:2h6ajmap]LoiHW0xvxs0[/youtube:2h6ajmap]

    The intracacies of crevasse rescue techniques are too broad of a topic to go into here. Learn the techniques from books first (the classic: Mountaineering, The Freedom of the Hills) and then perhaps take a class as well. Make sure you practice rope ascending with the same gear you will use (I like tiblocs for lightweight ascenders) before you leave on an expedition, and get your techniques down: hanging 30 feet down in an Alaskan crevasse is no place to learn how to use your gear.
    Yes, I recommend leashes for anyone splitboarding in terrain where crevasse falls are likely, and make sure the leashes are designed so they are easy to clip into your harness as well.
    BTW, on the normal routes on Denali you do need to be prepared for crevasse falls, as they are possible-but the route is travelled so much, that crevasse falls are very unlikely. Now if you plan on heading through the valley of death to the base of the Cassin or South Face, that is another story.

    #657031
    nordicbordn
    225 Posts

    I digress.. barrows you are correct. i should not be harshing his mellow, clearly he possesess high altitude experience, but at the same time, there are just so many variables (avy, crevasses).
    OP, i assume this is not a solo ascent? if so, are u comfortable with and trusting of your partner with your life? its you guys and mother nature out there. the epitome of self-reliance.

    However, the rhetoric you used (i.e. the word conquering) sort of led me to think that your judgment and motivations may be somewhat narrow and one-sided.. not the kind of attitude a ski mountaineer would benefit from.
    Don’t want to bring you down man, just make sure you know exactly what youre doing well before its done. If youre getting a vibe, my apologies, I guess sitting around with a broken leg from an avalanche will make you cynical

    #657032
    96avs01
    875 Posts

    @barrows wrote:

    The intracacies of crevasse rescue techniques are too broad of a topic to go into here. Learn the techniques from books first (the classic: Mountaineering, The Freedom of the Hills) and then perhaps take a class as well. Make sure you practice rope ascending with the same gear you will use (I like tiblocs for lightweight ascenders) before you leave on an expedition, and get your techniques down: hanging 30 feet down in an Alaskan crevasse is no place to learn how to use your gear.
    Yes, I recommend leashes for anyone splitboarding in terrain where crevasse falls are likely, and make sure the leashes are designed so they are easy to clip into your harness as well.
    BTW, on the normal routes on Denali you do need to be prepared for crevasse falls, as they are possible-but the route is travelled so much, that crevasse falls are very unlikely. Now if you plan on heading through the valley of death to the base of the Cassin or South Face, that is another story.

    Some good info from Barrows. I would disagree on the recommendation of FOTH for crevasse rescue info, I find that text to be inadequate with respect to crevasse rescue techniques. I opt for either:

    Selters Glacier Travel (preferred)
    or
    Glaciers! from Falcon Guide

    While the main trail (WButt route) is indeed well traveled I would not consider the possibility of a crevasse fall unlikely, especially on the lower glacier. I punched through to my mid thigh with slowshoes on descent while traveling at night no-less. Granted skis/split skis would have likely reduced the possibility of such event, one has to prepare to expect a fall at all times until you have chosen your camp site, probed said area for any crevasses, and marked the boundaries of the probed/cleared area.

    In addition to learning how to deal with your split gear in the event of a crevasse fall you also need to be prepared to deal with the additional hassle of a sled/gear attached to your harness and rope.

    Denali was where I saw my first splitboard, and it has long been a goal of mine to return with a split. But you need to be confident in your riding skills in all types of terrain/conditions, and know when to pull the plug and climb back out if needed. We meet some ski patrollers from Bozeman in 2006 who had skied the rescue gully one day, returned the next day to find the route unskiable and had to transition back to crampons after descending a couple hundred feet. They indicated it was the sketchiest change over they had ever performed, serious pucker factor.

    165 Venture Divide/Spark Frankenburners/La Sportiva Spantiks
    163W Jones Solution/Phantom Alphas/Dynafit TLT5s
    162 Furberg

    Chris

    #657033
    Powder_Rider
    498 Posts

    1+

    The intracacies of crevasse rescue techniques are too broad of a topic to go into here. Learn the techniques from books first (the classic: Mountaineering, The Freedom of the Hills) and then perhaps take a class as well.

    FYI: I have taken such courses and climbed the Mendenhall Glacier the when I lived in Juneau, AK (circa 1983). BTW: The Mendenhall Glacier and the Juneau IceField is a great place to explore and mountaineer (practice), without the epic of High Altitude Mountaineering.

    What I have not tried is mountaineering with a splitboard. I was hoping someone (who splitboard mountaineering) could address the intricacies of splitboarding (including gear selection) in glacier / crevasse terrain.

    #657034
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    Well, I’ll bite. First thanks to Chris to the more recent references on glacier travel.

    The only differences with a splitboard vs skis is deciding what type of boot and binding system to go with. Certainly for splitboard mountaineering I prefer a good hardboot set up with dynafit toe pieces, and for AK type cold, I use a supergaiter as well, and use Intuition liners, and make sure my boot fit is perfect (not too tight, room to wiggle the toes, and no circulation cut off in the boots).
    Testing the system extensively, including overnite winter trips should be a prerequisite, making sure the system is bomber, even in temperatures far below 0 degrees. Ski crampons are a good idea, but if conditions get totally icy, you are going to be walking in your boots with crampons, so ski crampons are not essential.
    A leash system which retains the split in ski mode is essential, and an easy way to clip in the skis (in fact, all your gear should be easy to clip in).

    #657035
    serdvc
    3 Posts

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the replies and concerns. Denali is a tough mountain, and as I have stated, I do posses high altitude experience. The only problem is that I dont have any splitboard experience.

    I have skied many years, and snowboarded even more. I am not delusional in any way, thats the reason I want to prepare my expedition one year prior to departure.

    Also, this is not a solo winter descent, I will be guided by two ski guides, so they can assist me whenever needed.

    Back on topic: from what I understand is that ATB’s are compusary if you want to hold on to your toes. But regarding which board, I dont really have a clear view yet.

    I live in holland, and the option regarding splitboards are quite limited. I can easily get my hands on a jones solution, or k2 panoramic. So which one would be the best you guys think?

    Thanks a bunch.

    #657036
    barrows
    1490 Posts

    It is a global economy these days. I would suggest that you choose a splitboard based on what will work really well in the crappy snow conditions one is likely to encounter in high altitude splitboard mountaineering, and not on what is easy to get your hands on in Holland.
    There are two parameters which are critical for a board for this use: stiffness and sidecut depth. You need a stiff board both to support the extra weight you will be riding with, and to provide solid, predictable, edge hold in variable conditions. Additionally, a long radius sidecut will also allow better edge hold, be easier to control, and is safer (not as hooky, easier to ride with sliding turns) when dealing with crappy snow (windboard, sastrugi, breakable crusts, ice, etc).
    Additionally, I would be more comfortable with a board which has high quality construction when I am flying halfway around the world and spending loads of cash to make a mountaineering trip.
    Chimera (the Mace) and Winterstick (the Tom Burt, and Severe Terrain) both make very high quality boards which are stiff, with longer radius sidecuts, and that are very well suited to the variety of snow conditions one is likely to encounter during high altitude mountaineering descents. Both companies are also willing to make slight custom adjustments to the board for your intended purpose (flex adjustments for instance), and for a price, Winterstick (aka Wagner custom) can do full customs.

    #657037
    nordicbordn
    225 Posts
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