I took some old leather snowshoe bindings and rigged them up for tour mode using some zip-ties. Made four cuts in each leather binding and threaded the zip-ties through into a loop. The two ties end up being the same distance apart as the slider track, and the loop is just big enough to get the slider pin through.
Performance was good enough that I will skin with this setup whenever possible. There was a bit of play between the boot and board, and edge hold was sacrificed. I thought it might be difficult to balance on just the touring bracket and heel lifter, but on the skin track it was no problem. On traverses, its easier to keep the skin on the snow, but almost impossible to get edge hold on ice. This also gave even less control on short downhill sections. The bindings go on and off quickly, so boot packing short sections is an option, plus having the strap bindings and plates as a backup.
So far I have only done one 3000' tour, but everything held up great. It was a moderatly difficult skin track with icy sections, short downhills, ridgeline switchbacks, and breaking trail in fresh powder. There was no damage to the touring bracket or boots, and I really noticed the weight savings. The thin leather strip under the zip-ties are probably the weak link, working on fixing this before it breaks. If you were looking for a stiffer interface to the board, and more durable construction, you could just mount the leather binding to an extra pair of slider tracks or use a thin plastic plate under the boot.
This saves me 5 pounds total using Ride EX and Voile slider tracks, but with that weight in my pack. Here is a weight comparison in pounds for different setups, all in tour mode with no skins using a digital bathroom scale.
Joined: Wed Jan 19, 2005 9:12 am Posts: 35 Location: Denver, CO
General adage about hiking, backpacking, etc... 1 pound on the foot feels like 5 in the pack. Our bodies carry weight more efficently on our backs. Strap 10 pounds to each foot and walk around for a while. Even though it is more gear, it may feel less tiring to carry it this way.
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:42 am Posts: 2387 Location: California
I don't want to sound like a dick either because I admire the innovation but IMHO, you can't make up for power transfer and control. We splitters already are at a disadvantage when it comes to those two when compared to AT and tele.
The Saddlebag traverse skintrack comes to mind as a scenerio where that system would scare me. It would literally be dangerous.
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:26 pm Posts: 407 Location: S.F. Bay Area
I think he mentioned that it wasn't an ideal solution, and there was a definite sacrifice in control in less than ideal conditions... No argument there...
The point of this is when the approach is straight forward, not dicey/icy/scary, you can save some significant effort with this, IF YOU WANT. It's not designed to be a do all solution. And from what lookes to be less than a pound extra to cary around with you, why not?
I like the idea, get's ya thinking about other lightweight alternatives, etc... Will I do it? Doubtfull... Doens't mean it's useless or a waste of time or energy...
So, thanks for sharing... Let us know how it holds up...
Obviosly these will not work on sketchy traverses or ice, that's why they make crampons. Different tools for different jobs. I am curious why everyone is so concerned with split boarding on ice. I prefer powder!
For sketchy traverse sections, you still have your strap bindings on your pack, and can switch out easy. Or pick your tour mode before you start depending on your planned route.
For big mountain lines or long tours, the weight savings are significant, and if the up track is simple enough well worth it. It does add a half pound to total setup, but cuts FIVE POUNDS off your feet. I still have doubts about durability, and have re-inforced the leather where the zip ties are.
With all the posts about lightest weight stap bindings, etc. and a cost less than $25, I figured some people would be interested in experimenting.
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 10:57 pm Posts: 4956 Location: California
Nice work AK Split!
Sorry I'm late to the thread.
I've experimented with a similar set up the year before last. I took an extra set of Voile slider tracks and mounted a Clicker attachment to them making a lightweight touring set-up. It resulted in about 1.5lbs off each foot and made for a very pleasurable skinning experience. The old saying stands true, Ã¢â‚¬Å“a pound off your feet is like five pounds off your backÃ¢â‚¬Â