While I wouldn’t wish a broken boot on anyone who has bothered to put in the effort to find themselves deep in the backcountry, sometimes, shit*y things happen. Like Alien 1.0 Destruction 3.0, which is exactly one incarnation beyond Destruction 2.0. When your prized lightweight boots blow up in such a way that you can no longer lock them into ski mode, continuing onward to your chosen line may not be the first thing on your mind. Instead, you might suddenly be focused on figuring out what is involved in a self-extraction. If you don’t have any tools or spare parts on hand, you’re going to have to work with what you do have around.
The first and only real step is to get your boot into a position to tour or ski again, if possible. Since I’ve now had the dubious honor of doing this repair several times, I thought I’d share the method. It seems to work okay, and it’s pretty quick to employ.
Step 1: Get your upper leg clamped down as tight as possible. If it’s a buckle you’ve broken, this will be half the crux. Pull out a trusty Voile strap, get it around all the relevant boot flaps, and cinch it down as tight as possible.
Get out the Voile strap and cinch it down tight!
Step 2: Wrap the whole enchilada Continue reading ‘How to do a Ski Boot Field Repair’
Going lighter, faster, farther. If you move in the mountains, this concept has got a certain ring to it. It only takes one heavily laden day out to get most people dreaming of using much lighter gear, soon. Next time. NOW.
In Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk in the Woods, about his endeavor to hike the entirety of the Appalachian Trail – typically a 5 month, roughly 2,000 mile endeavor – he describes the amateur approach succinctly. He and his partner filled their packs so egregiously that before the first day was out, his partner had thrown more than half of his pack’s contents into the forest (off a cliff, adding dramatic flair, if I recall) in an effort to lighten up on the spot. This approach revealed itself to be problematic a day or two later when it was realized that important gear had gone missing. Stove fuel, food, these sorts of things..
That was the (simple) hiking approach. Backcountry skiing can be a much harder game conceptually since there is a lot more gear required. More gear means more weight. More weight slows one down and makes them tired. Backcountry skiing can seem impossibly heavy, awkward, and slow to outsiders. It can seem this way to people with heavy gear, or even the wrong Continue reading ‘Going Light(er), Fast(er), Far(ther)’
Washing stainless steel hydration bottles need not be complicated. Yet, most manufacturers recommend hand washing, and others go so far as to proclaim that dishwashing their vacuum insulated bottles will void the warranty. That leads to the obvious questions, chief among them being: what’s the best method of hand washing your Klean Kanteen?
You could get a long handled scrubby brush and some liquid soap and go to town, creating a frothing, bubbly mess in the process. However, it would take seemingly forever to rid your 18/8 stainless Kanteen of the soapy aftertaste. Rather than using five gallons of purified tap water to rinse away the taste of your lemon fresh Joy, try a different method. This one uses people-friendly ingredients and is extremely effective at removing film buildup accumulated between washings.
It could be that I’m supposed to remember from grade school that this combination is interestingly volatile, but I’ll admit that I didn’t at the outset of the first go-around. That in mind, let’s take a look at how those kids powered their handmade volcanos in the science fair…
Ski mountaineering race bindings trade features for lightness on the premise that speed is largely tied to weight. While that’s true, speed is also tied to efficiency. And many ski-mo racers view the few seconds it takes to swivel a multi-position binding riser to a higher platform as wasted time, regardless of the steepness of the climb ahead of them.
Slower to adjust perhaps, a higher riser does make it far easier (read: efficient) to skin up a steep skin track. Additional height risers definitely work for the recreational crowd, but what about for racers? When I look at the finish line times at Ski-mo races, there’s usually a gap of minutes between the first several finishers. There are also gaps of minutes between many other racers, and then a few may come down to the finish line neck and neck. My argument for ‘risers for race bindings’ would be that it takes mere seconds to bend down and twist a binding into a more efficient position. I suspect that the time taken would be far less than the amount that is saved by being several percent more efficient on each upward stride on steep sections.
The bane of many tech race bindings: not very much lift to the climbing position.
With a simple modification, it's easy to nearly double the amount of lift.
Since I’m not someone who has the ability to calculate the efficiency coefficient increase, I Continue reading ‘Modifying Tech Race Bindings with an Additional Riser’
If you utilize collapsible ski poles – of the popular FlickLock variety or the older style twist lock – your poles can tend to give you grief when you’re least expecting it. Often, this is because moisture builds up between the upper and lower pole shafts, and simply never dries out from day to day. When you visit the ski hill in the chill of winter, this moisture freezes, and can make it difficult to shorten or lengthen your poles when you desire a height change. Left unchecked, this moisture can create corrosion which will inhibit smooth height adjustment changes. There’s not much point in using FlickLock adjustable height ski poles if you can’t adjust them!
There isn’t a lot of work behind this particular ski pole maintenance step, but it’s a good one to do mid-season. You can perform this simple maintenance in the warmth and comfort of your home. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Ski Pole Maintenance Steps:
1. Open the FlickLock ski pole clasping mechanism and take your pole halves apart.
2. Allow the halves to Continue reading ‘Collapsible Ski Pole Maintenance’
Ah, winter camping. The notion strikes a chilly fear into some hearts, and is old hat to other folks. (I fall somewhere in between.) To enjoy camping on snow – which largely revolves around staying warm – here are a few pointers I’ve found useful.
A OK melting snow for water.
1. Look for a campsite that minimizes your exposure to wind. A quality tent will keep water elements (snow, rain) out of your sleeping space, but wind can be noisy, chilly, and shake your tent relentlessly. That makes it hard to sleep unless Continue reading ’16 Winter Camping Basics’