Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Snowboard Mountaineering
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  • #620321
    barrows
    1489 Posts

    @lbr wrote:

    I am a skateboarder.
    I have crampons. I strap them to my soft boots.

    Years ago (1998?1999?) Salomon had a r&d facility in Boulder, and they were involved in the movement for a public skatepark in Boulder.
    Because of that connection, I was aquainted with one of their r&d snowboard guys who shared a catalog with me.
    In this catalog, they had a boot/binding set-up for snowboard mountaineering. It was a tall leather double boot with a stiff sole and padding on the back of the cuff. It looked like a tall La Sportiva.
    The binding was a plate binding with a highback.
    I drooled! They were never produced, I was told, because they could not get the prototypes right.
    Salomon did, however, donate greatly to the Boulder Skatepark.

    Further derailment: Speaking of Boulder Skatepark, if you are in the Front Range and you aren’t running up to ride all this powder on Saturday, come by and watch the Halloween Havok Skate Contest! Everybody wears costumes, and it’s a blast.
    If you do, say hi. I’ll be the guy running around looking like he’s in charge of something.
    http://www.ymcabv.org/ymcaweb/files/Skateboarding/skateboard_contest.pdf
    Ric

    Yup, back then Salomon made some pretty good snowboard boots and mountaineering/ice climbing boots. Too bad they got out of the mountain boot game. I tried to get in touch with their RnD guys in Boulder, but never could seem to get through. Being local to them it would have been nice to try and help them out with the snowboard mountaineering boot project.

    Thanks for the heads up on the skate contest, it’ll be a challenge to get the park cleared of snow for Saturday, do you need any help?

    #620322
    96avs01
    869 Posts

    @barrows wrote:

    [
    Salomon, Too bad they got out of the mountain boot game.

    +1

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

    Chris

    #620323
    LBR
    116 Posts

    @barrows wrote:

    Thanks for the heads up on the skate contest, it’ll be a challenge to get the park cleared of snow for Saturday, do you need any help?

    Wow, that’s awfully nice of you to offer, Barrows! Please email me if you would like to help and I will give you details. I don’t want to hijack this thread any further.
    ricwidenor “at” gmail dot you know the rest.

    #620324
    russman
    673 Posts

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Jeremy Jones is going to build some sweet boots with his new company. Everyone should email him and press buttons to develop new stuff!!!

    #620325
    Snurfer
    1385 Posts

    Two things….
    First off, this might interest those of you seeking board specific hardboots….
    http://www.bomberonline.com/store/boots/

    Secondly, after touring with Wasatch Surf and checking out his hardboot setup it occurred to me that the mountain plates put you right back up in the air (Ex: like not having Sparks base plates with strap binders).
    Wouldn’t it be better to have a Spark Fuse type base cut in half midfoot with threaded pieces between to set boot size, then just have the AT heel and toe pieces built into that base/slider combo?
    Just food for thought. The current setup while tempting, looked sort of precarious and implied a lot of lateral torque being placed on the slider track and mountain plates.

    :twocents:

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

    #620326
    russman
    673 Posts

    The sister thread on Cascadeclimbers.com is doing pretty well:

    http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/917051/Snowboard_Mountaineering#Post917051

    #620327
    Shep
    525 Posts

    @snurfer wrote:

    Just food for thought. The current setup while tempting, looked sort of precarious and implied a lot of lateral torque being placed on the slider track and mountain plates.

    Nice visual “mashup!” I’ve been thinking about other ways to build hardboot binders for a while, and yours is very different from where I was going, but I dig the simplicity! Somebody did something a little bit like this on a slider plate with a high back as well.

    :rock:
    Shep

    #802211
    trailridge127
    2 Posts

    Well, it has been sometime since the last post in this thread. In my opinion, equipment certainly has improved and will continue. There are some very inspiring riders pushing the limits of snowboard mountaineering and local backcountry areas are becoming packed with more and more skiers and riders.

    I love snowboarding couloirs, the exposure combined with being in a spectacular position, where a fall would yield a terrible outcome.

    So the reason for this post is I backed off a route due to conditions, while I watched two very good skiers crush some steep icy conditions.

    I was the first up Dragons tail(RMNP) yesterday, conditions were very firm requiring crampons the whole way. Frozen crust. It was warm and sunny in the morning. I was confident that things would soften nicely. I stopped below the rock step and waited for the snow to soften more. Two Ski Mo guys raced up the couloir and topped out. Within 10 minutes the sun went behind the clouds and wind picked up freezing the crust again. The two skiers power jumped turned down 55 degree icy snow and continued down past me with some serious jump turns.

    I tucked my tail, put my crampons on and climbed to the top and rode out the backside.
    Tough conditions are always going to exist . How do you guys/gals manage steep icy conditions on a snowboard?

    I feel like skiers have an advantage in this terrain. I know my technique needs to improve but sometimes is difficult to replicate those conditions on a not so serious line. I ride a jones solution with spark surge bindings and the new K2 alpine boot (soft boot but the stiffest boot I can find).

    On icy terrain my turns are longer riding the edge for the traverse, while I am sure a skier would take more a fall line approach with tight jump turns.

    1. Is jump turning fall line possible on steep/icy terrain with a snowboard?

    2. Is a hard boot setup better for firm conditions?

    3. Fitness is important; Is there any training outside of the mountains that is beneficial in tough conditions? Like box jumps weighted jump turns.

    4. Can skiers manage tougher conditions, due to four edges better than snowboarders?

    I know this may sound stupid, but I am eager to hear what others have done or do to improve in this area.

    Thanks

    #802215
    buell
    512 Posts

    Equipment had improved a lot since the last post in this thread.

    Yes, you can jump turn a snowboard on steeper, firm snow. Just make sure you land as gently as possible, keep your body centered over the board and be prepared to slide downhill a bit as you bring your board back under control. What I call a ‘quick turn’ is another option. That is when you do not get the board completely off the snow but you get it around really quick and get the edge back under control.

    Any good set up that you are comfortable on should be able to ride steep / firm conditions. Softboot or hardboot would be personal preference. I prefer hardshell boots for ascending firm snow, but I have seen plenty of softbooters climb anything (and more) than I can climb.

    Yes, working out helps. Plyos like you mention, cardio, weights (squats, lunges).

    Skiers sometimes have it better, snowboarders sometimes have it better. It just depends on the situation.

    Other thoughts:

    In steep terrain, there will always be riders / skiers putting down tracks in places you would not dare go. Always remember to stay within your ability level and comfort zone regardless of what others are doing.

    Practice.

    If you are riding truly dangerous slopes, build up to them by progressively increasing the slope angle or practicing on short pitches of steep slope that have a safe run out. Make sure you get to practice in a variety of snow conditions.

    Understand that steep lines have a narrower window when they are good (safe to ride). A little breeze could make the difference between fun and dangerous.

    Always be willing to turn around. Coming home safe is far more important that getting the line.

    Have a back up plan. If the steep line you climbed is the only way down, be extra certain that you can get back down it that day. Ideally you can always get out by an easier route, if needed.

    #802233
    vapor
    346 Posts

    Interesting reading from old posts, haven’t he term “moonboots” in a long time.

    #802367
    Kahti Ryan
    48 Posts

    @trailridge127

    1. Yes, but is always going to be more dodgy than keeping snow contact. As buell said quick pivot turns are safer if possible. Having a slightly less stiff board can help with them.

    2. For the ascent, Hardboots vs “resort” boots, yes. Vs split specific boots with a reinforced toe and crampon compatibility, not so much. For the way down, having a setup you’re fully comfortable on is the most important.

    3. Mitch and Bibi Toelderer did a video series a few years back on getting “splitboarding fit”. I have limited internet just now but I’m sure a quick search would find it. Apart from that you can never be too fit or to strong, everything helps. On longer and more nasty days though endurance may become more important than all out strength. Getting to the top of a line and being too tired mentally can be really dangerous (from experience!) Practice pacing rather than just getting strong.

    4. Yes, definitely. I have recently been getting my skiing past a punter level (on piste) and skiing icy steep black runs is so much easier than on a board, despite me having way better boarding technique. Also being able to stop and step up/down and traverse easier gives skiers a definite advantage on certain lines. As a pure mountaineering tool I have to admit skis are way more versatile. But that’s not why I snowboard!

    Would also like to echo buell’s comments above. Get home safe is the number one rule. Know your limits. Don’t be afraid to back down. Remember it is all about having fun, not being the most extreme! I have spent most of this season in resort for the first time in three years (instructor courses) and its incredible how much fun I can have just maching out a eurocarve or hitting a kicker, with way less consequence than riding some ridiculous no fall line. Not that I will stop splitting anytime soon but its been a good reminder of why I started snowboarding in the first place.

    #802377
    schwalbster
    313 Posts

    Would also like to echo buell’s comments above. Get home safe is the number one rule. Know your limits. Don’t be afraid to back down. Remember it is all about having fun, not being the most extreme! I have spent most of this season in resort for the first time in three years (instructor courses) and its incredible how much fun I can have just maching out a eurocarve or hitting a kicker, with way less consequence than riding some ridiculous no fall line. Not that I will stop splitting anytime soon but its been a good reminder of why I started snowboarding in the first place.

    I really like this sentiment. I’m in the same boat. Had a lot of fun on the slopes and in the park recently. It’s funny that carving is apparently cool again 😉 It’s very easy to get caught up with the urge to chase the gnar. You get inundated via social media of everyone getting after it. I caught myself getting quite down this season. Major FOMO, fear of missing out. Even though I had some amazing days this season and it’s far from over. I had to remind myself that it’s not about that. That’s all ego. It’s about having fun, a good time in the mountains and with that enriching your life and coming home safe. Having a little kid, I’ve backed off from no fall lines a long time ago.

    After much research, experimentation and consideration, I have decided adulthood is not for me. Thank you for the opportunity.

    #807151
    russman
    673 Posts

    Man, its been A WHILE since I read this thread! I remember posting the original thread when I was pissed off after having just spoken to a guy at K2.

    I started by asking a La Sportiva engineer if they would ever be interested in creating a new snowboard boot that took crampons. Back in 2009 nothing like that existed for production boots. In his pompous european attitude, he basically told me to “**** off”. Then, when spoke with the guy at K2, he basically told me, “we don’t see splitboarding as a viable business opportunity, and its never going to go anywhere”. I was pissed! And here we are 8 years later, and there are almost countless production splitboards on the market.

    So the frustrated tone of my first post was due to this conversation with the K2 guy, and feeling like I had been blown off.

    A lot has evolved in these 8 years, and I’m proud to say that I’ve played at least a small part in the evolution of splitboard equipment through my work at Karakoram. It was never a career path I sought out after, rather, it sort of found me.

    I think Trailridge’s questions are super valid, so I thought I’d add my responses as well:

    On icy terrain my turns are longer riding the edge for the traverse, while I am sure a skier would take more a fall line approach with tight jump turns.

    Its probably almost entirely due to rider skill, and style of riding. Snowboarders can absolutely do fall-line charging, but on scary terrain its easier to get into the habit of traversing before turning. Traversing in general is required for slough management, or getting out of the way of a wet slide. Its also a way to dial in your sense of the slope, and gain an understanding of exactly the conditions you’re working with.

    I personally do a lot of traversing if I’m “exploring” a big face in order to find the best line, or best snow conditions. Or if I’m cleaning the slope for my partners, I’ll do long traversing ski cuts before dropping in. The way that I end up riding the line is always 100% dependent on the snow conditions. Fifty five degrees can feel mellow in stable pow, while 25 degree slopes can be terrifying in bulletproof ice. Its all to do with snow type.

    Also, when I’m on a really big line, on high angle terrain, on firm snow, above exposure, my riding COMPLETELY changes. “Snowboard mountaineering” is a huge term that can encompass almost all splitboard travel, so I use the term “snowboard alpinism” these days. When I’m on a super high alpine descent where the stakes are high, I’m planning each turn in a highly calculated manner. I never just dive into a big steep face carelessly (which is why I’m probably still here).

    I end up tiptoeing into the route on my toe edge with ice tools in hand, reading and feeling the snow, and executing my turns with laser precision. Sometimes that entails doing some traversing, other times that means doing really fast and edgy fall line turns, and other times it means “drifting” a turn down many vertical feet before the next turn. If you’re having a hard time penetrating the slope with your edges, there’s another technique where you jump and physically “slam” your edge into the slope, in order to force it to gain purchase. This technique is much harder however, and if you’re having to do this, you should probably reevaluate your choice of descent.

    Sometimes, when I get really lucky with good snow conditions, I can do dynamic carving down a scary face, but its usually very difficult to find big lines in perfect snow like that (unless you’re in Alaska…).

    I have found that the more I ride big technical lines, the more specialized my riding becomes, and learning how to control your edges, PARTICULARLY on your heelside turn, is absolutely everything.

    I cannot stress enough how critical heelside turn placement is. I’ve seen several snowboarders throw in a sketchy heelside turn on critical terrain, and literally almost die because they skittered out onto their asses (a classic newbie mistake on steep terrain). Having the right body position is a huge deal, and knowing how to feel where and when the edge is biting, versus skidding, is everything.

    Prioritizing and mastering the heelside turn, in my experience, is everything. Toeside turns also need refinement, but they are always easier and far more powerful.

    Almost most importantly, I would add here that most snowboarders absolutely underestimate the incredible power of forward lean. Its rare that I see somebody riding with super cranked forward lean, and on heelside turns on hard snow, there really is no other way to create the necessary leverage to truly pressure the heelside edge.

    Guys who claim that they can ride steep ice without highbacks, are lying. “Highbackless” riding on steep terrain only happens in power conditions. We’re not sliding handrails or hitting park jumps here, we’re holding an edge on super steep, terrifying terrain, where a fall would be fatal.

    So, crank your forward lean!

    1. Is jump turning fall line possible on steep/icy terrain with a snowboard?

    ABSOLUTELY!! Google Marco Siffredi and check out some of his older videos. Also, there’s a rider in Chamonix that I work with named Julien “Pica” Herry. From my industry perspective, I would have to say that “Pica” might just be one of the greatest snowboard alpinists to ever live. He has a style all to his own, but is absolutely remarkable in his skillset. He’s riding up to 60 degrees, on hard snow, above terminal exposure,doing perfect jump turns, and skidded fade turns. So yes, highly technical fall-line turning is absolutely a critical skill to develop if you want to ride this type of terrain.

    2. Is a hard boot setup better for firm conditions?

    This is a bit of a controversial topic, and there are many different opinions on this. Personally, I really try to actively not have an “opinion” on the hardboot / softboot debate, and simply accept the fact that there are people on both sides of the isle here that absolutely slay it. Personally, although I have a hardboot setup now, I still prefer my softboot system. I find the ability to “feather” the turn very important, as this is essentially my tuned suspension system. Imagine how the suspension in an offroad truck works; You need very good wheel travel, as well as good shocks that tuned to your application. For me, softboots offer this type of “fine tuned” suspensions system for my ankles, knees and hips.

    I would also argue that for me personally, I use a very large range of motion in my turns, and often end up in a full deep squat position (ie. think 4×4 wheel travel) particularly on heelside turns on very firm snow. I haven’t been able to gain a natural hip / knee / ankle triple extension out of my hardboots yet, and would be terrified to ride something consequential in them.

    In the end, the best system is the system that you feel the most confident and athletic on.

    3. Fitness is important; Is there any training outside of the mountains that is beneficial in tough conditions? Like box jumps weighted jump turns.

    Fitness is absolutely critical to big mountain human-powered riding. The primary challenge is having enough gas left in your tank after having climbed many thousands of feet, so that you can safely and effectively ride back down.

    Personally, I have found enduro mountain biking to be the absolute best overall training tool. You really want to have a super high aerobic base, but then also still have plenty of anaerobic power so that you have enough strength to deal with the demands of snowboarding at high altitudes. Mountain biking seems to provide this in a very potent way.

    One other thing I would add here, is that resort riding is a KEY component to being a powerful big mountain shredder. The only way you really gain the needed leg power is by putting in your vert, and hammering out shitty snow conditions lap after lap.

    Its also the only way you can work on the core of “snowboarding skills”. Gaining that board control is absolutely paramount, and unless you’ve already been riding for many years, you won’t gain that board control and skill by only touring all winter. It look at resort riding, truly, as gym time for the big mountains.

    I personally make myself go ride chairlifts as much as possible on days that are the worst and most challenging conditions. Such as bullet proof ice cycles, dust on crust in a whiteout, and even the pouring rain. We all love powder days, but just riding powder won’t help me ride terrifying descents on the north side of Mount Rainier.

    In terms of other exercises, my background in exercise physiology tells me that sport specificity is key, and the best way to get fitter for a sport is by doing that sport. However, if you do in fact have strength discrepancies, hitting the weight room and doing squats can help. But be careful here, because becoming a meat head will KILL you aerobic fitness, and being aerobically fit is arguably far more important to mountaineering than anaerobic strength. I see a lot of guys making this mistake, thinking they’re getting “in shape” for climbing, when really they’re only working on beach muscles.

    4. Can skiers manage tougher conditions, due to four edges better than snowboarders?

    In short, yes. The skiers have a massive advantage on mountaineering descents. Having 2 edges on the slope each time you throw in a turn makes a profound difference. Going back to the “tuned suspension” concept here, its like they have twice the “fine bump” suspension that we do. Every bump we hit moves the whole board, where skiers have a whole other ski when one gets squirrely. They also have the “same turn”; Meaning, its either right or left. They don’t have to contend with having a heelside turn where they have less precision.

    All that being said, I would strongly argue that a snowboarder’s toe edge is by far, the most powerful position a human being can be in when on some big scary slope. You can have 2 ice tools, and that toe edge can act like one giant crampon front point.

    I would also add here, that despite skiers generally having the upper hand, that truly amazing things have been accomplished on a snowboard in the high alpine. For example, the first person to ever slide off the summit of Everest was Marco Siffredi, a snowboarder. He successfully rode the Norton Couloir, an absolutely AMAZING achievement.

    Also, if you haven’t yet, check out Xavier de la Rue’s film “Mission Antarctic”. The last line in the film is called “The Captain”. This has to be the single steepest terrain any snowboarder has ever ridden. It has to be… Its literally 60+ degrees for 500 vertical feet, above yawning exposure above seracs into the ocean. Xavier actually enters the face on his heelside edge and only has a single ice axe. Its the most incredible piece of snowboarding I’ve ever seen… Watch how smoothly and effortlessly he cranks fall-line turns on that face. Its mind blowing… My friend Lucas Debari was on that trip, and he says its the steepest thing he’s ever seen.

    Lastly, I’ll echo what Buell said in his post:

    There will always be other skiers / riders putting tracks on slopes that are above your skill level. That’s sort of a given. I sometimes compare my riding ability to skier dudes like Dan Helmstadter or Drew Tabke, and I have to remind myself that these are super elite level skiers who have an insane amount of experience. Although I pride myself in being a strong rider, there are guys who are just on a TOTALLY different level.

    Despite the fact that I also, almost always make conservative decisions, I’ve still gotten myself into several potentially fatal situations because I was overconfident in my abilities, and also underestimating how seriously dangerous firm snow conditions can be. There’s nothing worse than dropping into a face thinking you know what the conditions are, and finding yourself riding into bulletproof ice conditions. This has happened to me on the Mowich Face on Rainier, on Mount Shuksan in the North Cascades, and also on smaller peaks where I was overly confident.

    As Buell said, practice, go slow, prioritize staying alive, and eventually you’ll get to ride some things that challenge you and that give you that amazing satisfaction of accomplishment. So far in my life, nothing has come close to the satisfaction and profound sense of gratitude I’ve gained from some of these snowboard alpinism trips.

    #807179
    powderjunkie
    1661 Posts

    Great Posts Buell and Russ.

    I don’t think one can emphasize enough the importance of a controlled heelside turn or traverse and the ability to do a jump turn.

    I remember Tom Burt saying “have you ever fallen forward on your face on a heelside turn?”

    No? – so get your weight over your edge/board and resist that temptation to lean back thinking that you’ll dig your edge in more or slow yourself down.

    Enter your line on your toe edge and think of your toe side turn as your safety/control position.

    Damn, now I want to go ride something steep. 🙂

    #807430
    russman
    673 Posts

    Great Posts Buell and Russ.

    I don’t think one can emphasize enough the importance of a controlled heelside turn or traverse and the ability to do a jump turn.

    I remember Tom Burt saying “have you ever fallen forward on your face on a heelside turn?”

    No? – so get your weight over your edge/board and resist that temptation to lean back thinking that you’ll dig your edge in more or slow yourself down.

    Enter your line on your toe edge and think of your toe side turn as your safety/control position.

    Damn, now I want to go ride something steep. 🙂

    This is a great post!! I really dig how you describe the heelside turn… So many people make the mistake of chattering out onto their butts on hardpack / icy turns. I advise people, that before entering truly serious terrain, that they absolutely perfect the art of a deep, high speed heelside cranking turn on an icy groomer. If you can even start to chatter out, but still save it an stay on your board, then you have an idea of the critical technique of riding steeps.

    I also really love how you describe the toeside turn as the safety turn. So true!!

    I may go ride something scary this weekend… If I do, I’ll post it up!

    #808767
    Ecobrad
    2068 Posts

    Only a newbie would butt slide in a chute from a heelside turn gone wrong. Or maybe two newbies.

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