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 Post subject: 6 Day Skin - 3 Day Ascent of Mont Blanc - Never Splitboarded
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:47 am 
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Posts: 3
Hi All,

I am making this trip with a couple of (skiing) friends in April 11. I have been snowboarding for...god, many years now...but have never used a splitboard. Is there any help you could offer in terms of kit? It is guided, so all safety and avi gear is provided - but I really need some advice on the board, boot, binding set-up. I'm leaning toward a hard boot (at the expense of the ride quality) because of the amout of skinning involved....but could be wrong???

Please help, it could make or break my trip! Thank you....


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Day Skin - 3 Day Ascent of Mont Blanc - Never Splitboarded
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:30 am
Posts: 5
If you have never split before and don't practice all season, Mt. Blanc will be too aggressive. The alps are much more technically challenging than anything we have in the US. I was in Chamonix last year at that time and we had powder but you could also have spring conditions complicating things. Hard boots are better for hard surface mornings on steep surfaces when you need ski crampons-you can hold an edge and set your skin better but riding them downhill takes some getting used to. You'll want to make sure you have some ski-crampons from Voille or mr. chomps from spark. If you were a bad skier like me, touring with skiers is a little more difficult becuase they tend to travel faster and easier accross steep traverses and slightly down hill pitches. In icy morning, spring-like conditions, this spread is amplified. If you are not used to touring you should practice all season.

I would assume you are going with a guide but keep in mind that you are venturing into something that will be 90% splitboard mountaineering and 10% snowboarding. Gacier travel is totally different than riding down US double black diamond inbounds ski runs-the crevasses and wind slabs are not roped off. You'll spend more of your energy getting accustomed to the mountaineering part. Also, it goes without saying you'll need to train really hard from a physical fitness perspective. Summiting Mt. Blanc in April with a split on your back (I'm assuming part way, I don't think you actually summit with skis or a board) seems like an awful lot of work to me. You may be better off to let Neil McNab at McNab Snowboarding (local UIAGM guide catering to snowboarders) show you where all the secret powder stashes are while your friends exhaust themselves attempting to summit Mt. Blanc.


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Day Skin - 3 Day Ascent of Mont Blanc - Never Splitboarded
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:08 am
Posts: 3
Awesome response. Great advice. Thanks for taking the time to write it. Yup, I will be hauling ass on my board (when I get it) all winter trying to get up to speed. Have been leaning toward the Voilel board and set up - any specifics you could recommend?


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Day Skin - 3 Day Ascent of Mont Blanc - Never Splitboarded
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:34 am 
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Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:06 pm
Posts: 206
Location: Udapimp, Idaho
Lighter 3buckle AT boots will have a better ride feel. check some of the hardboot mod threads for info/tips.

I wouldn't trust the voile mt plates for terrain like that. Bomber, F2, Catek, Snopro, toe/heel blocks mounted to the slider plate have way beefier bails and would be more trustworthy in the you fall you die zone. If you got the $$ these have the best ride feel for ATs and are indestructible.
http://www.bomberonline.com/store/bindings/splitboard.cfm
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 Post subject: Re: 6 Day Skin - 3 Day Ascent of Mont Blanc - Never Splitboarded
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 10:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2006 10:10 am
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Location: Denver
^What he said.

Also, these:

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/2787J_Scarpa-Spirit-3-AT-Ski-Boots-For-Men-and-Women.html?utm_source=GoogleBase&utm_medium=PaidShopping&utm_term=Scarpa_Spirit_3_AT_Ski_Boots_-_For_Men_and_Women&utm_campaign=PCGOOGLEBASE2KX&codesProcessed=true

and these:

http://www.sparkrandd.com/products/dynafits/



I didnt take me more than a couple days riding in bounds to get used to hardboots. And skinning is way more efficient.....

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 Post subject: Re: 6 Day Skin - 3 Day Ascent of Mont Blanc - Never Splitboarded
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 10:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2010 7:30 am
Posts: 5
I have only owned one split that I had custom made from Prior. I have AT boots, snowboard boots, and hybrid burton soft boot/vibram mountaineering sole custom re-soled. I have found that strap crampons tend to slip off on regular snowboarding boots which is why I have the toe and heel crampon lip on my hybrid boots. You should really hit a guided split board trip and try some gear first because a touring set up is expensive.


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Day Skin - 3 Day Ascent of Mont Blanc - Never Splitboarded
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:26 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:08 am
Posts: 3
Thank you everyone. Really Helpful... I will let you know how I get on!


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Day Skin - 3 Day Ascent of Mont Blanc - Never Splitboarded
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 8:51 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:30 am
Posts: 253
Sounds good, have fun! I hope you get the weather for it. We didn't:

2 weeks in Chamonix, April 09

I wouldn't make the hardboot/softboot call solely for this trip. Not having hardboots won't break your trip. Plenty of people have climbed Mont Blanc in softboots, with snowshoes and boards on packs.

I don't know whether I've misunderstood your title, or you've misinterpreted the trip details, but the ascent itself will probably be one day. If you take the Trois Mont Blanc route, you'll probably get the last lift up the Aig. du Midi, stay at the Cosmiques hut, wake up early, summit 5-7 hours later and be back down in Chamonix with a beer a few hours later. You can even take the first lift up the Aig. du Midi and be up and back the same day.

It would be interesting to know more about the structure of your 6 days. I'd guess you'd spend a day or two doing some lift accessed off-piste itineraries, then do some touring up high with more skinning to get acclimitised before going for MB. You might go to Italy and climb Gran Paradiso.

Have a read of the various hardboot threads on here and see how you feel about the various pros and cons. If you're going to be doing lots more splitboard mountaineering after this, that's going to swing you towards hard boots. If the trip is already getting frighteningly expensive and you'd choose softboots for the rest of your riding, just go for Sparks and Mr Chomp crampons. And maybe some straps to strap the tops of your boots to the highbacks (helps keep the boot solid in the binding and your edge in the snow on steep traverses - less safe for getting out in an avalanche, though)

The riding down isn't the burliest in Chamonix, but not to be underestimated. A friend of mine who climbed it a couple of years ago (in softboots and snowshoes) said he was pretty toasted when he got to the top, and figured he'd done the hard part, but was surprised how tiring the ride down was. You could say that the more efficient skinning from hardboots would be an advantage in that you'd be fresher for the ride down. But on the other hand, you're going to be knackered anyway, and having softboots will give you more options, more freedom of movement for technical riding on the way down. Especially as, in your tired state, you'll probably tend to revert to your "old" riding style rather than concentrating on doing things the new hardboot way.

Bit rambly, hope it helps!


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 Post subject: Re: 6 Day Skin - 3 Day Ascent of Mont Blanc - Never Splitboarded
PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2010 9:09 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2008 2:30 am
Posts: 253
oh yes, disclaimer: although I'm interested in getting a hardboot setup, the only hardboots I've ridden in to date were clunky rental rear entry ski boots with jeans stuffed in the top. 13 years ago. For a total of about 7 hours. In the rain. On plastic bristles. here:

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