Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Maximum slope with a splitboard
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #780983
    panduri
    9 Posts

    Hi all,
    I had some troubles this weekend climbing a relatively steep slope (35 deg), where my crampons gave up, the snow was wet and couldn’t hold me on the kick-turn parts. The skiers I was with didn’t have much issues and reached the peak, while I waited for them below (200 mt). Frustrating.
    I have soft boots, and sabertooth crampons. I plan getting Fitwell boots with crampons for cases like this.
    However I don’t know if it was my technique that held me down or a limitation of splitboard/softboot setup.
    What would be the slope above which you put on the boot crampons and the board on the back?

    #780994
    Snurfer
    1405 Posts

    35° are you serious? That is extreme in my opinion, I would have been booting up it. Also I don’t normally associate crampons with wet snow, but rather ice.

    My go to angle is about 12°, give or take few degrees…. YMMV

    @topodojo IG
    Voile V-Tail 170
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    K2 Taro Tamai boots
    Spark R&D Arc

    #780997
    Mansi
    43 Posts

    ….it mainly depepends on the snow conditions. If I can make my own track in wet snow or compact powder I can do kick turns until 45° before starting booting up, if its hard, I stopp between 35+40° because Im afraid of slipping. Maybe it`s a little bit easier with a hardboot setup, but I think the boardshape has also big influence. Boot crampons only make sense in hard conditions starting at about 40°. Best Thomas

    www.splitboardtouren.at

    #781002
    panduri
    9 Posts

    Problem was that the snow was not compact enough to hold the crampons, and it was too steep for booting up 300 m (900ft) with the soft shoes I have (Nitro TLS). I think I could have done it with kick turns if the snow was holding better

    I dont know how would it be with Fitwells for example?

    .
    Damn skiers made it (with effort though)

    #781005
    Snurfer
    1405 Posts

    45°… Oh you must be referring to slope angle, not skin track angle… lol

    @topodojo IG
    Voile V-Tail 170
    Voile V-Tail 170 BC
    Voile One Ninety Five
    K2 Taro Tamai boots
    Spark R&D Arc

    #781039
    panduri
    9 Posts

    Yes, slope angle 🙂 skin track was not steep, almost traversing

    #781066
    buell
    521 Posts

    Skinning more technical slopes is very technique based. There is a lot of subtle movement (or lack of movement) required to skin steep slopes.

    Skiers generally have an easier time skinning difficult slopes, especially sidehilling. This has a lot to do with the fact that their ski is more narrow than our snowboard ‘ski’ and therefore is easier to hold the edge on the slope while sidehilling.

    A good splitboard skinner should be able to keep up with most skiers on the skin track.

    Different skins have different levels of grip. I have a higher glide (less grip) set of skins and a high grip set of skins. My objective for the day determines which one I choose.

    Edit to add: Different snow conditions have a huge impact on one’s ability to skin a steeper slope. Sometimes you can do it, other times, no way.

    #781121
    panduri
    9 Posts

    Thanks buell!
    so it is more a matter of technique and lack of of experience than equipment.
    I wander if switching boots will improve the experience…

    #781124
    buell
    521 Posts

    Thanks buell!
    so it is more a matter of technique and lack of of experience than equipment.
    I wander if switching boots will improve the experience…

    It might.

    One of the best splitboard skinners I know wears soft freestyle oriented softboots though.

    #781126
    summersgone
    809 Posts

    Agreed with Buell on technique. I have a good friend who normally gets up technical climbs pretty easily. Hes on older spark blazes, softboots, with a DIY board reversed cambered board and no inner edge. Sometimes its mind blowing what he can traverse with his setup. I am on hardboots with a factory board for comparison. Technique is key. But I will say, skinning is easier in pretty much all situations with hardboots, especially sidehills. But I don’t think new gear is completely necessary. If you work on your technique, you will keep up.

    Oh, and you should be able to skin up a 35 degree slope with switchbacks. I get a bit nervous when its over 40 degrees, or bullet proof ice. Another technique that can help (but really only for emergencies) is to use your lower pole as a brace for your bottom foot. Its certainly inefficient, and can be scary, but without ski crampons, can be a life saver (and literally was for me this year).

    #781127
    Jason4
    441 Posts

    It sounds to me like you were in that really difficult snow that is ~6″/15cm of corn over a hard base. The crampons bite fine in the corn but you end up pulling the entire mess down the slope with you. In these cases ski crampons done’t seem to help much, you probably would have been fine booting up in your boots, maybe boot crampons would have been helpful to gain some purchase in the base snow under the slush.

    I wouldn’t get hung up on asking “how steep can you skin” or “what angle do you use boot crampons on” because it’s all very conditions dependent and also very dependent on your skill and risk tolerance. I was just on a climb that is described in a guide book as “steep snow climbing” and “snow up to 35*”. Snow at 35 degrees seems really mellow to me from a snowboarding perspective, it is steep enough when walking that if it is frozen corn, neve, or sastrugi then I’m very happy to have boot crampons (and that’s what I spent most of my time in on that climb). We also saw tracks from the middle of the day down low where the snow slushed up that looked like people were up there in running shoes and yaktraks which wouldn’t have been comfortable for me since we were there before sunrise on the way up and after sunset on the way down and the snow was frozen.

    I’d also be surprised if people are accurate judging angle here unless they’ve practice a lot with a clinometer. I’m ok at judging 45* but move much to either side of that and my accuracy drops and I do compare my guesses with measured slope angle.

    #781128
    Jason4
    441 Posts

    I forgot to mention that the sidecut makes a big difference in traversing too. I find that skiers tend to have much less sidecut in their touring skis and we have no sidecut on one side and lots on the other. You might try playing with different techniques of which edge you’re really supporting your weight with to see what works best for you.

    #781129
    cometogether
    385 Posts

    I would say this is a case of practice practice practice! there where slopes I used to give up on and just boot the last part and there have been times when I try my best to not give up even when I slip a couple times, It can be some pucker slipping on steep stuff but it will help you make sure your technique is dialed. ANd soon youll be laying the cut for those skinny track makers!

    PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!

    #781249
    HansGLudwig
    601 Posts

    I just returned from a trip with an icy, dawn patrol. Our leader, on skis, danced right across an avalanche path (35-40º) which had ripped to the ground last week and had since melted/frozen over. I, with my crampons already on, got embarrassingly puckered and slowly picked my way across the slope with the help of calming words from a ski-touring partner to my rear; behind him was a fellow splitter.
    I watched them waltz across, in seconds, what took me ten minutes of careful foot & pole placement and calming breaths; and I learned a few things about traversing…
    Gear
    * If the skin track angle (traverse) is flat enough, split-crampons prevent you from sliding forward and getting out of the “pucker zone” quickly. They skied through what I had to walk.
    * Strappy Straps are another idea and they’re easy to make-shift them in the field. Voile straps stretch and don’t really help that much. Nylon or velcro straps work better but, in general, I find the idea is more faff than it’s worth.
    * When I use the heel-lifters + crampons (Mr Chomps), I need to use both the Chomps wire in conjunction the one on my board (both up). If I only use the Chomps wire, my weight is concentrated forward, near my touring bracket and not pressed into the rear-half of the ski, where the skin grips the snow.
    * Wall-to-wall skin coverage certainly helps. You want the edge and just a few millimeters of base showing. The rest should be carpet.
    * I find the straight (inside) edge grips better than the curved one. It might be better to tour with them not reversed so the grippy edge is downhill. YMMV
    * I have rotated my highbacks so they lean perpendicular to the outside edge when I ride (not to be confused with “lean adjust”). This means when I tour, they are asymmetrical and while I can really confidently press into my outside edges; not so much with the inside edges. You know…that downhill, inside edge you need when traversing an icy slope? Hehe.
    Before I go out again, I will rotate my highbacks so they lean parallel to the foot which means I can pressure both edges symmetrically; albeit at disadvantages to outside edging when touring and heelside turns when riding.
    My hope is the advantage in touring will outweigh any disadvantage to riding. YMMV But hey, most people don’t even know bindings an be adjusted in this dimension!

    Technique
    * As @summersgone said, place the basket of your downhill pole under where you’ll place your downhill foot. This gets really clunky with crampons but is nice in a pinch.
    * Our instinct is to edge into the slope to prevent sliding downhill. Done too much, this prevents the skin from gripping the snow and keeps you from sliding backward. The trick is to keep your foot level, if not just enough downhill that you won’t slip. This allows for more surface of the skin to grip the slope.
    * Lastly, there is a kick-in technique my splitter buddy showed me after the fact, which I’m dyin’ to try on my next tour. The idea is you want to get a metal edge AND skin with each step. This is less of a problem with the straight edge of the split-ski and helps more with the curved edge; especially those with small sidecut radii. When you move your foot forward, kick into the slope —across your body— before your weight it. The idea is to get the edge as deep into the slope as you can; which also gets you plenty of carpet biting the snow/ice too.

    Like @cometogether says, “PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!” Get your gear dialed. Practice your technique such that you don’t have to think about it. Look awesome when touring with skiers. Break splitboard stereotypes.

    Edit: I just read the OP again and realized this thread was about wet snow not ice. Well, I hope someone finds this info useful.

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    #781326
    FloImSchnee
    289 Posts

    * Wall-to-wall skin coverage certainly helps. You want the edge and just a few millimeters of base showing. The rest should be carpet.

    Agree basically, but I even trim the skins so, that only edges are showing, and the entire base is covered. Skins need then to be applied carefully, but it definitely helps.

    * I find the straight (inside) edge grips better than the curved one. It might be better to tour with them not reversed so the grippy edge is downhill.

    Oh yes!
    And most importantly: you have best grip when it matters most: during a kick-turn.

    Always keep in mind when skinning steeps: weight your heel!

    Side note:

    * When I use the heel-lifters + crampons (Mr Chomps), I need to use both the Chomps wire in conjunction the one on my board (both up). If I only use the Chomps wire, my weight is concentrated forward, near my touring bracket and not pressed into the rear-half of the ski, where the skin grips the snow.

    As far as I understood, the Chomps wire isn’t meant to work as a climbing wire anyway, but only to push Chomps down into the snow.
    Always use both wires up or both wires down.

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