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 Post subject: Simple avy or tree well release for most strap bindings.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 4:47 pm 
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Location: Bozeman MT
Hi all,
It seems there's been lots of interest in a release mode for avalanches or tree wells for strap bindings. San Frantastico showed one idea last year which can be seen here: http://www.splitboard.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=24010&highlight=#24010. I've been getting emails about this as well, and saw this in the February / March Issue of Backcountry Magazine:
Image

So here's my idea for a release, drill a hole through the release tab on your ankle straps and run a cord through it. In the event of a slide, or you end up hanging like luke skywalker in a tree well, pull the cord and get out. Video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Gyg9zNb0vU

It doesn't approach the ideal of having bindings that will blow off automatically when you're caught in an avy, but I've shredded some slide for life conditions where under no circumstance would I want to come out of my board. It's not perfect but it's a start. I have no interest in patenting this idea and am using this as my initial public disclosure, not to say that somebody else didn't think of it first.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:15 pm 
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Location: bc
you could sew a velcro flap onto your pants, rear leg mid-thigh, and have the two cords from each binding link into a zero friction roller link which has one cord that runs to another velcro flap, with a big, light, yellow hand grip hanging off, ready to be pulled

just reach down and pull straight up towards your head

this way in the transition you could open up the velcro, close both the pant flap and cord flap on themselves, transition up the board, and then attach the cord to your pants mid-thigh again to skin up.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:32 pm 
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yeeaa ghetto paintage

Image

So that the velcro wouldn't wear out and be annoying to handle during the transition, you could have the flaps have both the "female" and "male" velcro (official terms anyone!??) and they could fold back on themselves during transition, or attach to each other on your thigh in "69" mode... haha

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:35 pm 
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Location: Bozeman MT
Nice diagram, I've seen much worse! Looks like a good start. I like the thought of something that works equally well in split or board mode, since you spend most of your time on the way up.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:08 pm 
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Location: bc
you'd probably actually want the cords like this, also this way, if you pull up on the handle with even like 5lbs of force, the inwards tension on both the ratchet cables is something like 30lbs...

Image

you could probably have an intersection like 10cm away from the bindings with 2 cords running to the heel strap and toe strap, that would ensure the both feet would pop out for sure.

On the skinning mode, if only your heel strap came off, and your binding is free to rotate, the chance of both feet coming off is probably not the greatest

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:31 pm 
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Location: Jay Peak, VT
IMO, you don't have them release at the same time... Two cords would be more reliable and user friendly. THink of the old racing bindings that had pins the heels... The release mechanism was a chord with a handle coming out of the top of the boot. It worked... but it was annoying... I never used step-in alpine settings back in my racing days... Then again, i would never go back to an alpine setup!

Good stuff though...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:08 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm
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Location: California
An avalanche release system comprised of strings!

Now that's forward-thinking. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:10 am 
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Location: PNW Hood Canal
bcrider, you don't like strings?
I have a mod to my mtn plates that permit me to pull a pair of cords, not strings, that take about 12# of pressure upward to open the toe bails.
<a href="http://s256.photobucket.com/albums/hh192/Mumbles24/?action=view¤t=DSCF1350.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh192/Mumbles24/DSCF1350.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
The cord on mine is utility rope with about 80 pound working load. Maybe 4-6mm.

Here is a photo of the steel ring attached to the toe lever. I have two latches that connect, one per boot. I have a loop that snaps with two snaps around my waist belt that as I pull upward also causes the snaps to release. I have tested it on some low angle slopes and I can get out of the binding successfully. I hope that I never have to use it, but it could be one more level of protection not to get sucked down into the snow cement.

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 Post subject: Quick release for plate bindings
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:17 pm 
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Location: Denver Colorado USA
I run the tension significantly lighter on my toe lever when backcountry boarding so that this system works more reliably. When riding inbounds, they are cranked much more tightly.

http://www.wildsnow.com/articles/snowboard_quick_release/snowboard_release.html


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:22 pm 
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Location: Lethbridge, AB
A modern ratcheting mechanism is a pretty quick release all by itself. For the old timers that recall the early bindings, releasing them involved pushing down and then pulling. The new ones you just pull up and you're free, so I'm not sure I see the benefit of a string or cord.

Having a string just means you don't have to bend over as far. Having a string also gives you something to get caught, snagged or otherwise come undone when you don't want it to.

I went for a small ride last winter in 1.5ish slide. Fairly disorientating, but my first instinct was to ride out of it. By the time that didn't work, it was over and I was chest/waist deep.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:03 am 
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I have a feeling that if you get caught in anything 2 or up, you'd want to be able to just reach down to a familiar spot and pull hard, and that's it, your board is gone from your feet before you even notice, the handle is ripped from your hand and you can swim. I've heard a good amount of avy accounts in which the victim feels like the avy lasts for a long time, and swimming is crucial to stay at or near the churning surface before it stops. I've also heard of accounts of the victim consciously and frustratingly noticing that the board is heavily anchoring them deeper into the flow. I've even heard of one account where the victim was upside down and the board was pulling them upwards towards the surface, however it was keeping them upside down with their head deep in the snow, and it ended up being a 2m burial (the person got air access in 15 minutes and survived)...

You'd also want to be absolutely sure that both bindings will release at the same time, and that both feet will be entirely free immidiately. Imagine being attached to your board by one foot in a churning avalanche... I think that as long as all your straps open up entirely at the same time, there is no worry, both your feet will come out quickly and easily with nothing to snag on. If you have two separate cords to pull on, many things can go wrong. First of all, you have to find two handles in a very short amount of time and pull on both of them, secondly, if one releases first and then the board is pulled from you and the second isn't entirely released yet... bad times. Also, I'd bet that one of your first reactions would be to use one arm to either protect your mouth/face or to pull towards the surface with it. Will you have the ability to properly hunch over and pull in two distinct locations simultaneously while your face is being jammed full of snow? You want to be able to reach down with one arm to a very easy location, and you don't even want to have to hunch over. It literally has to be split second easy, past the decision to actually pull, there has to be no thinking involved in actually carrying out the pulling of the mechanism


If these cords were all sheathed metal and they had a little slack in them for the flex of the board and all that, I don't think they'd ever get in the way of riding, I don't think you'd notice them. Even in very tight trees I doubt it, it's in between your legs, in the middle of the triangle of power! :)

Transitioning your board you'd just have to lay the board down on the snow and remove both bindings and put them side by side next to each other, since they're attached by a cord that's only like 30" long. The board is then free and you can split it, lay the skis down and then attach the bindings one at a time. I don't think it would be annoying at all, you'd just have to modify your transition system a tiny bit by placing the bindings next to each other on the snow, which most people do anyway. You could even keep the cord velcro'ed to your thigh throughout the whole process, it wouldn't add any time at all to the transition.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:29 am 
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Location: California
Great insight, thanks.

stomppow wrote:
I have a feeling that if you get caught in anything 2 or up, you'd want to be able to just reach down to a familiar spot and pull hard, and that's it, your board is gone from your feet before you even notice, the handle is ripped from your hand and you can swim. I've heard a good amount of avy accounts in which the victim feels like the avy lasts for a long time, and swimming is crucial to stay at or near the churning surface before it stops. I've also heard of accounts of the victim consciously and frustratingly noticing that the board is heavily anchoring them deeper into the flow. I've even heard of one account where the victim was upside down and the board was pulling them upwards towards the surface, however it was keeping them upside down with their head deep in the snow, and it ended up being a 2m burial (the person got air access in 15 minutes and survived)...

You'd also want to be absolutely sure that both bindings will release at the same time, and that both feet will be entirely free immidiately. Imagine being attached to your board by one foot in a churning avalanche... I think that as long as all your straps open up entirely at the same time, there is no worry, both your feet will come out quickly and easily with nothing to snag on. If you have two separate cords to pull on, many things can go wrong. First of all, you have to find two handles in a very short amount of time and pull on both of them, secondly, if one releases first and then the board is pulled from you and the second isn't entirely released yet... bad times. Also, I'd bet that one of your first reactions would be to use one arm to either protect your mouth/face or to pull towards the surface with it. Will you have the ability to properly hunch over and pull in two distinct locations simultaneously while your face is being jammed full of snow? You want to be able to reach down with one arm to a very easy location, and you don't even want to have to hunch over. It literally has to be split second easy, past the decision to actually pull, there has to be no thinking involved in actually carrying out the pulling of the mechanism


If these cords were all sheathed metal and they had a little slack in them for the flex of the board and all that, I don't think they'd ever get in the way of riding, I don't think you'd notice them. Even in very tight trees I doubt it, it's in between your legs, in the middle of the triangle of power! :)

Transitioning your board you'd just have to lay the board down on the snow and remove both bindings and put them side by side next to each other, since they're attached by a cord that's only like 30" long. The board is then free and you can split it, lay the skis down and then attach the bindings one at a time. I don't think it would be annoying at all, you'd just have to modify your transition system a tiny bit by placing the bindings next to each other on the snow, which most people do anyway. You could even keep the cord velcro'ed to your thigh throughout the whole process, it wouldn't add any time at all to the transition.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:36 am 
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Location: Bozeman MT
In no particular order:
I agree that you definitely want both feet to come out at the same time. One foot out would be bad, especially in a slide. The easier it is to find the release the better. I think I would rig lines through my pants and have a mini carabiner or something to connect to the leashes on the release tabs. It didn't take much force to pop the strap in my little vid, and that was with the ratchet cranked down really hard. When I'm doing kickturns I can get my feet pretty far apart, I'd hate to be going for one and have a foot release because my feet can only get so far apart.

I had a good talk with SanFran last night about this. Having been in a slide he's suspect of being able to reach down and release something when you're in the thick of it, but it's a hard thing to test. He was able to consciously try to swim while in the wash, but whatever you do may be of less consequence than the volume of snow coming down, and what you're getting washed through (trees, rocks, etc).

Thanks for the link Tim, the hardboot version was definitely an influence when I was thinking about this.

I think this system may be better for the treewell scenario than for an avy scenario. I saw this story posted here before: http://www.transworldsnowboarding.com/twbiz/features/article/0,21214,1115208,00.html
I guess it depends on how packed in you are when you fall in.

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