Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Zach-Denali Update
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  • #566682
    2068 Posts

    Zach, …How is the Alaska thingy panning out. Is it still a go?

    We’d love to get an update, Zach. How’s training/planning going? Tell people about your sled set-up, etc.

    127 Posts


    Thanks for calling me out 😉 …… I’m flying up to Anchorage on June 8th, so I’m getting nervous as hell.

    Everything has fallen into place with gear, food, etc… a ton of companies have been really hepful in this regard – C.A.M.P, Clif Bar, Nemo Tents, Osprey, Garmont… Marmot really did us a solid, setting us up with sleeping bags and some clothes that we would have had to take out a second mortgage for. And, Prior hooked me up with a custom, lightweight shape that is absolutely killer in the steeps. Fin at Bomber also put my TD2s on a weight-loss plan, and we ended up with a very lightweight pair of…. well…. bomber bindings.

    I’ve given up on the idea of rigging my solid board as a sled… it’s just too complicated and prone to failure…. maybe next time, when I have more experience hauling a sled. My solid board weighs in at just under 11 pounds, bindings included, so I’ll use my splitboard as an approach tool and take my solid board on the last carry to Motorcycle Hill… I’ll stash my splitboard there, as this will probably be the last skinning that we do.

    Training – I’m getting paranoid that I haven’t trained enough, but I think this goes with the territory. I spent a few days on Shasta with my team, and we all seemed equally strong… If I can keep up with our young-gun from SLC, then I’m satisfied… He guides the Interconnect Tour for Exum 5 days a week, and he’s in incredible shape.

    Between now and June 8th, i’m just going to try and spend as much time above 14k as possible and keep wearing myself down…. I’m trying to keep my body from peaking before I leave. Hopefully, after a few days of travel, a few days of brutal load-hauling, and a few rest days, I’ll be totally amped.


    740 Posts


    server lag keeps making me double post!

    740 Posts

    I only played a minor roll in your set-up but you forgot about my sponsorship 😥

    I’ll let it slide this time but …LOL

    Will you be switching your bindings from one board to the other or will you be rocking two full setups…one on each board?

    127 Posts

    Holy Crap!

    That’s how good they are, man.. I don’t even remember them.

    Tommy set me up with some canting shims that I use under my slider pucks… not necesarily Denali-related, but highly reccomended for any of the hard-boot riders out there.

    I have two seperate binding set-ups, but the bails are interchangeable. I thought about just taking one set of bails and toae and heel blocks, but for the minor amount of weight, it’s nice to have a backup plan.


    Jon Dahl
    384 Posts

    Hey, Zach, I’d like to see a pic of those bindings, unless of course, Fin has sworn you to secrecy or something! And some info on that custom board, too. Inquiring minds want to know!

    25 Posts

    …and some info on the cants. I’ve been riding flat on my split and would like to get some of those custom jobbies if mtnrider is looking to go into business.

    127 Posts


    I’ll try to take some pictures, tonight… basically, they’re TD2s that he took a ton of material out of, post production. I also have some prototype e-rings that are softer than any of the standard ones.. I think he’ll be going to market with these, next year.

    The shims are pretty straightforward… I don’t know what the material is, but it’s some sort of millable plastic. Tommy took the compound angle from my TD2s and plugged them into a CNC (?) machine. They came to me in 2 peices… one for the front foot and one for the back. I took these and cut them to fit under the slider pucks with a miter-saw. Then, I lined them up and drilled holes for the screws.

    The board is an MFR with the Quadraxle glass…. it’s the 165cm model with a few modifications – pulled the waist in to 24cm (I can run steeper angles with hardboots), and the stance is offset to the rear just a few cm… The taper and sidecut are the same as the production model, so it’s basically just a skinnier version. It rides like a rocket… it’s easy to snap the tail around, and it holds a fast line with almost zero chatter.


    40 Posts

    Just curious why you are taking two boards. Why not ride Denali on your split? I figure your going to drop either the Messner Couloir, Japanese Couloir or Rescue Gully, I imagine you’ve dropped steeper lines than those with your split so why not give it a go?
    Oh and a tip for dragging your sled (sorry if i’m repeating stuff you know), sling some webbing or a bungie or two under the sled to create a bit more drag, particularly when slogging down some of the rolls/hills keeps the sled off your heels and also a bit more in-line instead of swing way off to the side on traverses. Oh and get some turns heading down heartbreak hill, nobody does and it is a shame to waste those turns.
    Have loads of fun. The weather is great up here right now.

    127 Posts


    All of the climbing above Motorcycle Hill is done on foot… with the exception of some rare years, when there is a ton of precip and very little wind, between there and the Basin Camp…. so, there’s no reason for it.

    The exposure to deadly falls are considerably higher on the Messner than a lot of the things that I do regularly…. 4000′ of sliding + gaping crevasses + Hypoxia = attention the detail where gear is concerned.

    My splitboard also weighs considerably more than my solid board. On summit day, we plan to go from 14,300 to the summit in one push, via the Messner Couloir… in this strategy, every ounce counts. I’m saving about 7 pounds by taking a solid board to the summit.

    Lastly, there are a lot of things that can go wrong with a splitboard… regardless of how unlikely they are, it sure would suck to climb that high then have gear failure.

    Good advice on the sled… I’ll be using a clamshell (for easier traversing), but I have no clue how the egress is going to be… I’ll be in split mode, with my skins on.. yikes 😯


    35 Posts

    Good luck Zach!!!
    Heres some (crappy quality) photos for stokage:
    (these were scanned from slide film.. wish i wouldda had my digital back then 😥 )

    Denali from 9000ft camp

    11,000ft camp and motorcycle hill:

    bathrooms and messner from 14,000:

    upper messner (in right) from 17,000:

    where zach will be june 8th + 2-3 weeks:

    6000ft on summit day! That’s pretty proud man. Are ya gonna do a bunch of warm up/acclimatization runs up to 17? rescue gully would be a nice decent and that 17 camp was my favorite place. kinda like dana plateau, just drops off all around you…

    2068 Posts

    Thanks for posting, Zach and everyone else. Good stuff.

    I’m flying up to Anchorage on June 8th, so I’m getting nervous as hell

    I bet you are.

    It takes so much energy to plan a trip like this and everything has to go perfect inorder to fulfill your goal. Good luck and keep us up to date on your progress.

    Are you going to be posting live webcam shots/stories or anything geeky like that?

    4149 Posts

    T-minus two days….

    Go get ’em Zach! 8)

    124 Posts

    Oh man I am so jealous of all your james bond equipment, please post pics so I can wallow in envy! That line looks good I’m sure you’ll cruise it.

    127 Posts



    I’m definitely in count-down mode… consuming as many egg whites and veggie shakes as I can, per day – trying to pack on a few extra pounds and beef up my vitamin levels.

    I just found out that I’m gonna be a father in January, so my danger receptors are extra sensitive. Needless to say, I’m nervous as hell.

    I’ve been climbing really fast at 14K, for the past month, so I feel fit… and, the board that Prior made for me feels as natural as anything I’ve ever been on, so I’m ready for the descent.

    Now, i’ve just got to get lucky, and get some GOOD WEATHER! Some friends who were up there about 3 or 4 weeks ago said that the Messner Couloir was “bulletproof.” With recent warming trends and light snows, we could have perfect timing and get a big-mountain corn cycle.


    2068 Posts

    Sweet, man. Congrats on the baby news. Now go ride that mtn.! Good luck and be safe.

    1669 Posts

    show that mountain who’s boss, meow.

    56 Posts

    Best wishes for both fatherhood and conquering the great one. Dadness is much harder and cooler than anything else I’ve done. If Denali shuts you down, feel free come get some summer snow @ Hatcher pass via pm

    56 Posts

    Best wishes for both fatherhood and conquering the great one. Dadness is much harder and cooler than anything else I’ve done. If Denali shuts you down, feel free come get some summer snow @ Hatcher pass via pm

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