Well, that was uninspiring. After repairing my broken Garmont Masterlite boot Saturday night with replacement parts supplied by Garmont, the exact same piece broke on Sunday. Yeah, that’s right, a new part failure during the very first day of use. This isn’t a case of A OK the extreme air dropping skier breaking lightweight, fragile gear by using it in extremely intense applications for which it was not intended. Rather, I’ve just been out backcountry skiing, making some occasionally steep turns on – as usual – varied conditions, with zero air time. And tonight I’m looking at the broken Achille’s heel on my Garmont Masterlite ski boots, again.
Break for me once, shame on you. Break for me twice, shame on me. As designed, the Garmont Masterlite boots appear to suffer from a design flaw. (The ski / walk activating mechanism has been moved out of the way to illustrate the metal post breakage.)
Calling it like I see it, the Garmont Masterlite is a generally well-designed lightweight ski boot which, at present, suffers from a blatant design flaw. Yeah, a design flaw. It doesn’t take Continue reading ‘Does Safety Matter at Garmont?’
In rounding out my move towards an entirely lightweight oriented backcountry skiing / ski mountaineering setup (skis, boots, and bindings), I got the Garmont Masterlite boots. Aware of several problems that have cropped up on various lightweight ski boot offerings by Dynafit, I was intrigued by several aspects of the Masterlites. They looked as if they might sidestep certain problems due to their inherently different design. I had even detailed those intriguing aspects after receiving the boots, and was intending to post about them prior to offering up a full review. Perhaps that will still happen, but in the meantime, bad news reared its head before I could even get that post out.
The Garmont Masterlite's Achille's Heel?
On my fifth day using the Garmont Masterlite ski boots, they broke. Gear breaks; it’s not something one wants to happen, but we accept that it does, in time. Nothing lasts forever. What one does not expect Continue reading ‘Garmont Masterlite Failure’
Today went strange quickly, with both ski partners – Jon and Jason – taking slides on ice. That added a bit of the wrong type of spice, after which we pared it back a bit and headed to better snow on more northerly facing terrain. An otherwise mellow day, with a few pics provided to create an outline. Besides the tricky avalanche conditions at present, the snow surface is also problematic, with pockets of smooth ice interspersed with powder, interlaced with ice and debris chunks. Enough to keep anyone on their toes. I am most definitely subjecting the Hagan X-Ultra skis to every conceivable condition… They keep coming up begging for more.
Jason and Jon head towards the ice face of death.
Continue reading ‘Highly Variable Snow’
Yesterday, in skiing the Crow’s Feet, I experienced one of those unfortunate endeavors in which everything was going perfectly, right until it wasn’t. From there, it was about five hours of Nightmare.
Clearly visible from almost anywhere in SLC, the Crow’s Feet lines are visible just right of center in the picture. They are the starkly white fingers of snow.
This was my second attempt at skiing the aptly named Crow’s Feet. (The clearings connect and resemble a Crow’s Foot.) The first, unsuccessful effort was so disastrous that it hasn’t made it to print form, and likely won’t. The successful effort was only slightly less problematic, but since, 1) it was successful, and 2) I could save other people some heartache, headache, backache, sweat, and thirst, Continue reading ‘The Crow’s Feet’
Staying safe in the mountains is something that I always take seriously. Because of that, I try to learn from the experiences of others, which can be a wonderful thing where many life experiences are concerned. As such, I feel that there is a lot more to be learned from mistakes and accidents than from successes where every last detail went off flawlessly. In other words, disasters teach a much greater sense of perspective than successes. That in mind, a friend gave me a copy of Joe Simpson’s book, This Game of Ghosts, which details the less-than-auspicious number of incidents, accidents, and tragedies which have befallen one man during a lengthy mountain career. It is a perplexing mystery that he has survived several of his adventures. Admittedly, there’s something about the repeated individual tragedy that has kept me from reading the book to this point.
I have read up on many other accidents and the rescues involved from around the globe, as well as watching some re-enactments of well-known catastrophes. But there are few times that I’ve seen a rescue from the more poignant first-person point of view of those involved. That’s why I thought this clip of Michelle Smith’s rescue from the Valhalla Traverse on the Grand Teton from Ungrounded.com was different – it details some of the pain, time, fear, patience, and effort involved in both rescuing, and being rescued from, a severe alpine setting. It has obviously been edited to skip many key moments, but it presents an interesting aspect anyway.
When asked what happened, Michelle’s response is simply, ‘I slipped, and then I fell.’ It can happen to anyone at any time. Learn from the video what you can – it portrays a rescue where everything seems to have gone well. The gear held for starters, bad weather wasn’t an issue, a heli was readily available, and skilled operators were involved. I’ve read of Michelle Smith’s desire to be the first woman to snowboard the Grand Teton – a title since earned by Dani Deruyter – and I know she gets after it on many Teton lines. Hopefully she recovers well and is able to get back at it soon.
With the arrival of cooler temperatures in Salt Lake City in recent weeks, combined with August dustings of snow throughout the Rockies, it’s been a challenge for those who enjoy the pleasures of snow to ignore thoughts of the approaching winter. And yet, after a very early Continue reading ‘Snow in August’