Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 45 total)
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  • #575287
    phareyouwell
    45 Posts

    I saw some mention of the new Spark Verts http://www.sparkrandd.com/products/2012-verts/
    over on the thread about the new spark website, but I am looking for more info.

    Doubt anyone has gotten their hands on these yet, so my questions are more about the general concept of this type of equipment.

    I see these as useful when there is deep snow and you want to get up something that is too steep to skin without post holing. But are these at all useful on harder surfaces? It does not seem like they would be.

    Seems like if you may be encountering a range of conditions you would want your splitboard + skins for regular touring, these for really steep powdery climbs, mr chomps (or another splitboard crampon) for steepish hard pack, and regular crampons + mountaineering tool(s) for really steep hard pack / icy slopes. Thats a lot of gear to be carrying.

    Which of those pieces of gear do people think is the least essential? What are people leaving at home most of the time? Other thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Josh

    #643319
    christoph benells
    717 Posts

    people have been using the verts for years, and they work for exactly what you’d think they work for. not on icy surfaces.

    depends on recent conditions and choice of terrain for what you should bring.

    for the most part my runs usually include skins, strap on crampons and ice-ax. although i am usually riding cascade volcanoes. skin till you can’t then crampon it.

    utah for example- has real light snow that doesn’t stick to steep terrain. there you’d probably take skins, and some verts. skin till you can’t then vert it.

    if you choose to leave something at home, i’d think either the mountaineering stuff or the verts. these are for more specialized uses and conditions.

    skins and mr. chomps can handle most runs and conditions a splitboarder would be interested in.

    if you’re doing some super long tour with varied terrain and conditions, 2.5 pounds for verts is not justified enough for me to carry it. longer you go= less base weight you want.

    #643320
    shredgnar
    643 Posts

    I’ve been raving about verts since I got a pair last year. They are awesome for going up, not really for long flats, hiking on rocks, or hard ice. I am in CO and haven’t really been on any snow that was too hard packed for them. They are great for kicking steps up steep couloirs here in the winter. Spring freeze thaw, I’d probably bring crampons.

    They are another tool in the quiver, they definitely have a place and I might consider buying these before buying a split if I was a kid looking to get into the bc for cheap. They are way better than snowshoes and way cheaper than a split. I have a few tours that I do that I prefer bringing the verts and a solid board. There’s just something nice about going straight up the steeps instead of switchbacking all day.

    Edit to add: I can’t really think of a need for carrying Verts and a split ever. In the case of a long tour to a couloir, I’d probably bring the cramps.

    #643321
    fitit
    343 Posts

    I bought a pair last year, but I’ve been wanting some for a long time, and they have great float even for a 200 lb guy like me. If you look at the top of the main page here on SB for galleries people have modded them to include metal spikes or even adapters for teleboots etc. But why pounce with extra weight of bindings. These vets look like a good deal with the lightrail base plates already installed instead of the yellow straps. Also they fit nicely in the backpack or in the car. Also I’ve used them to unbury my car 😉

    #643322
    rughty
    620 Posts

    Got a pair of these from Will at Spark R&D and although I have not used them yet, I am glad to add them to my gear stash. Last season would’ve been a lot easier following BGnight up those steep waist deep powdery couloirs with them on my feet. :bananas:

    #643323
    KGN
    215 Posts

    Having never used them or seen them, I am wondering what makes them better than a good pair of snowshoes like MSR or the like. Seems like they would be lighter and smaller which is good. Although maybe not lighter with bindings attached.

    #643324
    fitit
    343 Posts

    I have MSR snowshoes and they are so heavy. you are carrying your split board bindings regardless.

    #643325
    HikeforTurns
    1113 Posts

    @kgn wrote:

    Having never used them or seen them, I am wondering what makes them better than a good pair of snowshoes like MSR or the like. Seems like they would be lighter and smaller which is good. Although maybe not lighter with bindings attached.

    no pivot, = much better at climbing steep snow

    #643326
    bcrider
    4149 Posts

    @shredgnar wrote:

    I’d probably bring the cramps.

    In powder??? :scratch: 😉

    Not saying to always carry verts when you’re splitting…but I can think of tons of trips when they are good to have with your split. :thatrocks:

    #643327
    fitit
    343 Posts

    @hikeforturns wrote:

    @kgn wrote:

    Having never used them or seen them, I am wondering what makes them better than a good pair of snowshoes like MSR or the like. Seems like they would be lighter and smaller which is good. Although maybe not lighter with bindings attached.

    no pivot, = much better at climbing steep snow

    I’m thinking of adding something for my Karakoram binders so I can make quick a quick accent with the Verts with adjustable angle 🙂

    #643328
    tiltedworld
    406 Posts

    @fitit wrote:

    @hikeforturns wrote:

    @kgn wrote:

    Having never used them or seen them, I am wondering what makes them better than a good pair of snowshoes like MSR or the like. Seems like they would be lighter and smaller which is good. Although maybe not lighter with bindings attached.

    no pivot, = much better at climbing steep snow

    I’m thinking of adding something for my Karakoram binders so I can make quick a quick accent with the Verts with adjustable angle 🙂

    You could get a second set of ride modes to attach to the verts to accomplish the same thing.

    #643329
    fitit
    343 Posts

    Yeah, except it would be nice to have the option to have a pseudo climbing heal like MSR’s ascent snowshoes

    #643330
    Killclimbz
    1165 Posts

    With the way Verts work a climbing heel isn’t going to gain you much if anything, in fact you may lose with such a device on Verts. The whole idea behind them is that they cup the snow and compact it down in columns. That is why they are fixed attachments. You just kick in and climb up with them. I’ve also never felt like I wanted a climbing heel when using them. To each his own though.

    #643331
    fitit
    343 Posts

    Good point thanks 🙂

    #643332
    KGN
    215 Posts

    I see, it compacts the snow into columns. Makes sense with that design. Plus the non pivot.

    #643333
    Scooby2
    615 Posts

    I spent a few years on verts, they are real nice for finishing off a climb on ridge or spine while reducing the wallow factor. I am very confident on them over exposure in any kind of snow that you can get an inch or two of them into. They work on rocks. They work great with the original plastic boot wrap binding-thread lock the screws and have a few extra in the fix it bag, but they don’t pack down so well with the straps on. They can help you stay out of trouble if there is a real long spine or ridge on a feature you are ascending and you don’t want to be out skinning through fields of snow on some aspect you don’t really trust that day. If you are guiding people or a WFR/first aid type thinker, you’ll have a much better time hauling an injured person out with them on your feet instead of skinning.

    Also if you are working multiple runs on wall or peak, once you set a vert track in, you get vertical really efficiently-maybe faster than using a skin track. The pre-splitboard era trick was to put in one uptrack that would give you lots of different descent options, and not to put it in the day before a storm.

    If you are breaking lots of different trails to different peaks/ridges or following a lot of set in tracks, they suck as much as or more than snowshoes, though a lot lighter. I think there is still a lot of marketing to boarders hitting kickers that could be done to sell more of them, I mean what a great tool for 70 bucks! maybe if they were day-glo 😉

    There was somebody who used to go up Broads and drop upper mill B with some frequency with them on before splits, but never met ’em.

    #643334
    fitit
    343 Posts

    Great info! They are $75 now, so $85 with the light rail mounts installed is a good deal for those with light rail bindings.

    #643335
    Killclimbz
    1165 Posts

    I believe the original design of Verts was done by the military. They wanted a quiet way you could sneak up on someone in the snow and kill ’em.

    #643336
    samh
    726 Posts

    The Spark Verts have a puck system attached to them allowing you to attach your boot/binder system directly to them. Carrying a different snowshoe would require carrying the binder system built into the snowshoe (extra weight). The Verts also do not allow the foot to pivot like on a normal snowshoe which allows it to aid in climbing steep supportable snow. They are solidly constructed and of a lighter weight (I won’t say they’re light because IMO they’re not but they are lighter).

    --
    samh.net

    #643337
    phareyouwell
    45 Posts

    Thanks for all the info everyone.

    I am thinking back on some previous outings where I suffered my way up steep skin tracks in deep snow where I think these woulda been far superior.

    Seems like with the pucks instead of straps these should be fairly easy to fit in a pack, plus don’t have the weight of bindings on your back.

    The only disadvantage I am envisioning with the spark verts is that I could only use them with my splitboard since you need to have the split bindings. While I can think of some slackcountry locales it would be cool to have these with a solid board, perhaps with my new Venture I won’t mind riding the split more often even when I am not skinning.

    Just gotta buy the spark bindings first, but think these are going on my shopping list.

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