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    Pg. 4 something interesting must be going on. I am always slow to pick up on things. Not to beat a dead horse but just my two cents (I like reading these discussions), I mainly ride solo for a lot of reasons already discussed, add can enhance the experience in many ways too if mountains are a spiritual thing to you. Snowsavage your post are incredibly inspiring and artistic. I enjoyed your rants, they express your passion as do your post and style of riding. PLEASE KEEP POSTING. Now what really wanted to do is spin the drift towards a little gear talk. That video was nuts. Couple thoughts I am def. missing something when it comes to technical ascents with soft boots. Climbing up the Y yesterday more than a couple times I said to myself could not be done in my soft boot set-up. Also that board must have absolutely no side cut to make traverses and hold edge on lines like that. Who makes these boards? Someone school me.


    Yea, count me in too. I’ve enjoyed snowsavage’s TRs and, especially, his rants. Cool pics are awesome, but a quality rant kicks it up a notch! It’s really interesting to see the terrain that people are riding in Japan, AK, and other more ‘exotic’ locales along with the ‘standard’ CA, UT, PNW, CO stoke. Our crappy conditions here have me pretty bummed, so it’s nice to see that others are getting on some bigger stuff. Maybe I’ll get on something decent sometime soon; in the meantime hopefully folks will keep posting…

    That video definitely had some insanity. I’ve never seen that footage of Sifredi absolutely ripping Everest in amazing conditions with Russell Brice spotting over the radio. YEA! There was some serious compression issues going on with Youtube, though, that made some of that stuff look impossibly steep. Anybody have those videos on a tape or dvd? They’re probably for sale somewhere on this site
    but my french is a little, ah, rusty. Here’s a link to another old video from that site that’s got some craziness:

    I think those Chamonix guys used to use narrow alpine type snowboards for those ice routes? Probably not a fish or a khyber! I’m looking at a picture in the Feb 06 Transworld Snowboarding that has an article titled ‘The Disappearance of Marco Siffredi’ and there’s a picture of him on the summit of Everest the second time and he’s got some big-ass mountain boots on with over-gaitors of some sort and some strap bindings that look like they’ve been modified and have a 3rd strap. The board he’s on looks short and straight. Hopefully jimcoates from Chamonix will look at this thread again and can comment on what folks over there ride these days for those more committing routes that have ice lurking.

    In terms of soft boots vs hard boots for technical climbs, I don’t think anybody (well, except maybe bcrider 😉 ) is saying that soft boots are better for that type of stuff??? Steep snow climbs with crampons or low angle scambling they seem fine, but good luck climbing the type of terrain in this TR with soft boots that have a flexy sole.
    That’s cool climbing terrain, but, well, kinda lame riding terrain! I also don’t think there are many people out there who ride AT boots who would say that they ride as ‘nicely’ or as ‘technical’ as soft boots. Disclaimer: 1) my Malumutes are stiffer than my 2 buckle Dynafit AT boots! 2) Spark bindings on a Mojo is a hella light setup. 3) Just bored, don’t really know what I’m talking about.

    Wew, long post. Good thread!


    @prestonf wrote:

    In terms of soft boots vs hard boots for technical climbs, I don’t think anybody (well, except maybe bcrider 😉 ) is saying that soft boots are better for that type of stuff???

    Correction, I never said they were better…just that they can be used. (see video on page 3 🙂 )

    For me personally I don’t really have the opportunity (or much desire) to climb the type of stuff like in the TGR TR, Everest, etc. Hardboots definitely have some advantages in those conditions but it’s still cool to see what Marco was able to climb in his softboots. For the rare times when climbs do get a little dicey for me I just do my best and so far I’ve managed. The ride performance and feel is more important to me more of the time based on the stuff I ride. If I was really into true snowboard mountaineering I would probably consider the hardboot option and be less concerned about the descent. I guess I’m more of an extreme meadow skipping jibber powder fiend with wannabe mountaineering and big mountain tendencies. 😆


    hey all, thanks for the support, much appreciated. As the ausie folks here say; I am “a nutter”, but its me and I aint tryin to change it.

    to get in on the gear talk. I beleive that Marco was riding the Elan , Chirstiansen 161 in the vid. It was a solid deck, with minimal sidecut and great edge control, around a 24.5 waist width. I am pretty sure thats what he rode, but later on Elan was trying to make him his own model (a big mountain board), I rode the model they were using his name to promote (forgot the name of the deck) and it was too wide for my likings. The Christiansen 161 was an excellent ride for steep terrain, jumps turns on steep hard snow etc. This was all going down around 2000-2002 years.

    Euros always had it figured out that wide boards and deep sidecuts blow ass for technical riding. Duotone xtrm mountain series was an excellent example of boards desinged for all-mountain riding and steep jump turns. I had 3 splitboards made by them with 24.5 waist widths and they were absolutley the solidest splits I have ever had. Nothing I have ever touched compares and frankly I am scared to death to take my current ride out on hard snow over 45. I rode a pitch sustained at over 50 for around 300 vert last year on it and struggled hard. Stoked to have an axe for sure. Would not have happened on my Duotones and too bad I broke my last one a few years ago (they are out of business now). Someone needs to step up and build a splitboard for big mountain riding, cause as far as I know (and I dont follow gear stuff, just take what I can get my hands on) there is nothing on the market which will do the job. Everything is just straight powder rides and maybe I am wrong but I keep seeing dudes flail on their khybers whenever they hit hard snow and I dont think its all the riders issue there. I am gonna start using approach skis instead of splits for anything technical now days, cause these flimsy deep sidecut splits just aint worth it….(I know, I am ready ready for the backlash on this comment!, dont get me wrong I can get down just about anything on a split, but not with the grace of jump turns on a solid all mountain board, or maybe I am just getting old?)

    As far as boots go, I am all about soft bindings. For more tech routes I made a hybrid soft boot out of the La Sportiva Nupstes. Basically you cut off the tops and tounges (ankle height up) from a good pair of snowboard boots and rivet them onto the ankle areas of a mountaineering boot (BC Rider showed me a pic of this before I did it, so ask him, it was a guy from cham that designed it I beleive). This gives you the ankle/calf support and feel of a snowboard boot and the sole/toe profile for rock/and crampon attachement of a real mouintaineering boot. I personally think this program is the ticket, giving you the best of both worlds. The Nupste is the best boot I could find for this. Its expensive, and then you have to drill into it, but its worth it for sure. I had one too many sketchy class 4-5 rock sections and shitty non-crampon step kicking in my Driver X’s and finally made the hybrid happen. Not to mention the nasty flex in soft soled boots with crampons on hard snow/ice. But I still climb a lot of stuff in softboots and strap crampons, saving the Nupstes for the sketchiest routes.


    Euros always had it figured out that wide boards and deep sidecuts blow ass for technical riding. Duotone xtrm mountain series was an excellent example of boards desinged for all-mountain riding and steep jump turns. I had 3 splitboards made by them with 24.5 waist widths and they were absolutley the solidest splits I have ever had. Nothing I have ever touched compares and frankly I am scared to death to take my current ride out on hard snow over 45.

    Having said that do you have any thoughts/experiences riding the magnetraction type edges or rocker shapes that are getting the hype these days?

    Thanks for all the posts….great stuff & definitely understand the solo stoke – but in my local world for different reasons.


    Utah, thanks , and cheers to the spiritual side of riding, both solo and with others. If you have never read the book “deep powder snow” by the late Dolores LaChapelle then it is an absolute must read for someone such as yourself who is down to absorb it….and then from there any of her books own. She was skiing from the summit of 13ers, 14ers etc. in CO. during the 1940’s, solo. And could possibly be the worlds first ski mountaineer. If she was still alive I would def. try and consult her on my solo/partner dilemmas.

    Lew- nope I never have ridden one of those. But I am positive that the reverse camber thing is not gonna work except in pow. Not sure about magnatraction. I usually ride what I get hooked up or a deal on and make due, which certainly has its disadvantages. I am poor, and a ghetto m-fr who never really gets into having the latest greatest gear. Hopefully someone can comment on those boards you speak of because I am curious. Someone mentioned that Marco was riding a short and skinny board, which I think was the Elan 161 (short eh?). Again I have never found anything for steep terrain that works as well as those old skinny, low-sidecut euro shapes. Short boards are where its at for tight steep lines in harder snow. Although, I just picked up the new Tom Burt 172 from Winterstick to try out in the Chugach, which comes in at at 25 waist width. This one is a straight up gun, made for sending it on huge stuff at high speeds. I am curious to see how I will handle it in tighter terrain. TB certainly has no problems….


    I don’t get the whole billy goating, xtreme chamonix mountaineer snowboarding crap. Hopping around on icy steeps w/ two ice axes is rad and all that, but just doesn’t seem very “soulful”.
    To me it’s: “Hey lets go do some icy traversing over 100 foot cliffs. It’s cool, cuz if you lose your edge you die and the snow sucks!” Other guy: “Naw man, I’m gonna go slay some powder. Have fun!”

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the thrill of the steeps, but exposure (above cliffs specifically. obv all steeps have exposure) does nothing for me. It’s just a completely unnecessary risk. I can do an icy traverse 5 feet above a flat meadow and it’s the exact same as doing it above a 1000ft cliff. The latter is just Darwin at work. Thus all the dead mountaineers. Jeremy Jones has way more style than any of those eurobillygoaters who may be doing more exposed shit (JJ loves exposure too). Jeremy is at least making sweet turns above his exposure whereas these other guys are just hopping around w/ iceaxes trying not to die w/ each turn.

    Kind of why whenever I do red slate couloir I’m gonna climb from the bottom and only do the chute proper. Dropping in from the top just to do an unnecessary traverse over a 1000ft cliff to get into it is retarded imo. I had a buddy do it and he looked me in the eyes and said “Dude, don’t do it. Trust me” I don’t know if people that do those kind of things are doing for self satisfaction or really just to be accepted by their peers as “xtreme” or to add it to their “resume”.

    Sorry, I’m just rambling


    BG- thanks your Trs from the east side btw, excellent.

    I have done that traverse on Red Slate and it is absolutley hairball shit. Your friend is very correct, especially on a snowboard where you have to unstrap and climb out of each little ice gully, with that sheer 1,000 ftr below. I was scared shitless and did not want to drop in. However, I must say that I am happy did it….to me its not so much about being “extreme”, but rather about riding from the summit and completing the entire route. Now dont get me wrong, the Couloir itself is certainly a classic in its own right, but the whole route done as one line really makes it for me ( I suppose thats the climber in me talking here), but I doubt I would try it again!

    I too dont like sketchy exposed lines just for the sake of ‘extreme’, but I greatly appreciate the climbing/mountaineering aspect of being able to ride an entire route. I have a freind who calls the time after you make it through a nasty exposed/steep crux of route and then get to send it on flowy pow “shooting your load”. He explained it two me that he enoys lines where he has to concentrate and work really hard for a while, sorta bond with the mountain on a more in-depth level if you will, before you just let loose. And I tend to agree, cause it is like “shooting your load” when you finally get to open it up and send it, leaving all your worried behind. Anyways…. thats just one perspective.

    The other comment I have is that if youve been to Europe you know that they dont have the same snow on the monster steep lines that the Chugach does. If JJ, who prob. is the best rider in the world, was riding in France in the conditions that Marco was riding, he would prob have a very similar style (I have no doubt that Jones would be able to ride that stuff). Its just a matter snow conditions. On harder snow you NEED to make jump turns at 50-55, but In the Chugach, with its dank soft snow (not always, but def. when JJ is filming) and immense sustained pitches you can make friggin GS turns at 50-55, and straight line shit cause after you clear the shrund you get a bunch of deep soft stuff to drop speed in.

    oh- Split Trippin; I dont know JNP well at all, what I do know is that there is not a ton of cruiser lines there. There is ton of steep knar, like those pics I sent you and a ton of glaciers, which means creavasses galore. I am sure some Canadian peeps know some places I dont though. A bunch of it is multi-day, hut trips and such, which prob. has more open pow field options. As far as roadside goes that place in my TR, called Parkers Ridge, is the mellowest place I have found there, also with the easiest access. Hope that helps…..


    More waffle from Europe!

    I think Marco’s boots were “Millet Everest” boots guess getting to the top with his feet in one piece was more important than how they handled on the ride down, he then modified the bindings to give a bit more support. I seem to remember he had problems finding decent backers for his expeditions, most snowboard manufactors want to have jibers to represent their brands not riders who spend their time freeriding for themselves, he did very few comps too, so good of Elan to give him boards.

    BGnight, i agree that some of the stuff you see marco (and a few others) doing here might be a bit nuts but please dont imagine that everyone here is doing stuff like that, marco was quite unique, he made a name for himself doing first descents of insane routes, many of which have never been done since. Some of the routes he did like the Nant Blanc north face he waited for years to come into condition, he had his motivation to do these route. There are many “soulful” routes here too that you maybe dont see as many photos of. I agree with savage that when JJ is in Cham he maybe rides with a different style, there are less pow days here and those routes dont hold much deep snow. Basically we do not spend all our time skidding around on steep ice in europe, in fact i try to avoid it! I only wish we had as many powder days as you guys do.

    Love this thread by the way it goes all over the place!



    Lol, I dunno.
    I think I’m just being defensive about my own fears. I used to rock climb a lot and at certain times when I’m climbing good I loove unnecessary exposure and running it out when I felt solid. At other times I thought rock climbing was the dumbest/most dangerous sport in the world. I’m at a point in my life where most of my climbing partners have quit the sport and being a soloist at heart I hate climbing w/ people I don’t know. So I don’t climb. Plus, once out of climbing the few times I’ve gone out in the last year seemed really hard and mentally I don’t know if I can ever get back into it even though it was a big part of my life at one point.

    Sorry, now I’m rambling about climbing. But, obv climbing is a huge part of snowboard mountaineering.

    I think Marco is the man! Watching that vid just gets me stoked.


    Awesome thread drift. I’m enjoying it immensely. You guys are obviously boarding/climbing at a very high level and it pretty rad to be able to get some insight into your adventures.


    Very fun and informative reading. I would say 50% of my days are riding conditions that would be ideal for a shorter less sidecut big mtn board, 161 sounds just right. There is such a stark contrast between the grab I get with the straight edge middle half of my board compared to the side cut side and I don’t have edges in in the middle, when traversing in hard spring like conditions. We get some high pressure weeks where it’s less about the snow and more about the line or tour. Voile’s mtn gun may have attempted this, I can’t remember. Thanks for the book suggestion I will check that out.


    I like where this is going…
    If theres anybody out there from Mervin: please make a stiffish split with magnetraction, it is apparent that it will sell. I think this is a key design for future innovations in ski mountaineering.

    Thanks for posting the vid, quite inspiring.

    As far as softboots go, I think they’re the shit. If I can climb WI 3, and easy 5th rock, thats good enough. As Snowsavage stated, the ideal set up would be a combo of mountaineering boot toe and softboot upper. It would be nice to have less of a rounded toe with some stealth rubber, but this would also allow for easier toe drag…



    I’ve found that most generic snowboard boots are pretty good on rock and w/ my grivel g12 crampons I feel very comfortable on frozen snow. They just suck at kicking steps 🙁



    That Duotone splitty was my first splitboard ever. Good board from what I remember.

    Re a magne split with shallow sidecut for steep firm snow. We’ve been wanting and talking about that for years, same for a plastic lower/leather upper (or at least a stiffer sole and better toe protection) boot.

    Maybe someday our dreams will come true.


    @BGnight wrote:

    I don’t get the whole billy goating, xtreme chamonix mountaineer snowboarding crap. Hopping around on icy steeps w/ two ice axes is rad and all that, but just doesn’t seem very “soulful”.

    i guess it depends on the person. i’ve had many great turns in powder, but i don’t remember any of those as well as the first jump turn i made in the lake chutes at breck. that feeling of being so focused on that turn and wondering if my edge was going to hold on landing has never left me, and that trip was 3 years ago. to be honest, the steep lines where you can’t just open it wide and the snow isn’t the greatest are what i live for. it’s just too bad they are in short supply here in the east.


    ….and I think the key to this drift is to each their own. Personally I would prefer a good steep pow field littered with cliffs and natural features to play on. Chutes/coloirs really don’t do it for me like drops do. I do understand where people are coming from when they say that they enjoy that ultimate focus they endure to get past hairy sections in sub-prime conditions but for me I dealt with that my first couple years riding and now just want to hunt for the soft stuff.


    extreminator lines for sure. kudos to the climbing shredders. not my cup of tea however.

    i’ll take 4000 vf of pow filled steep varied terrain (chutes, cliffs, pillows) over 4000 vf of jump turns every time. my gut check butterflies come a lot easier than being on that kind of exposure. yowzers.

    and solo can be mucho fun!



    We need people like Marco, JJ, BCD, BGnight and snowsavage doing what they are doing. It is progression of our sport.

    It’s really hard to express ideas and opinions on a forum.

    Eco and I were talking about this as we were booting up a steep snow and rock face hanging onto trees on Sunday. Not quite ski mountaineering, but close. 😉

    Most of the shit getting done is not being advertised or posted on a forum, which is good. Granted, most of us on the forum are skipping most of the time, just not all of the time.

    I’m in total agreement with savage. I would most definately be getting more done in the mountians if I was single, a little younger and hooked up with other experienced riders. It is hard to find partners willing to truly suffer. It you’re doing it just for a checklist then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.

    There is a lot of personal satisfaction and accomplishment after riding a hairy exposed line or a deep and steep chute without all the dick waving.

    There is also alot of satisfaction going out with the wife and friends after a good breakfast and maximizing good turns, staying safe and warm and enjoying the mountains.


    Somebody is going to need to define “dick waving” for me. I personally enjoy every post from family, summer, surf to the usual sick lines in the BC. I love pictures and a good story to go along is icing on the cake. I have been surfing the web for a few years, it actually took me a while before I started posting TR’s because I didn’t know how to post pics, slow internet, etc. This is my first year posting TR’s. I fall in the category of a beta whore. I spend my summers hiking scoping lines, I research the Wasatch using different maps, books, and a lot of good info comes from other peoples post. Never had a mentor to show me around or teach me the ropes, I have had to learn the Wasatch myself. Knowledge is power in terms where to go especially in the Wasatch. I post to an extent with the idea some people are in the same boat and could learn a lot from putting pics to names in a book and connecting the dots. I usually have to see a place from different angles before I feel I know it well.

    I think we can all agree it’s all about pow. But what are you guys doing April through June or during excrutiating weeks of high pressure. I am not the type who hits the park on a powder day but everyday is not a p-day. During these times for me it’s usually a big super tour, bag a peak, or hit a big line. In that case it’s nice to have a board in the arsenal for that specific type of riding.

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