/ NEW ARTICLE: Moving in the Mountains in Winter
Ever wondered whether to take ski boots or climbing boots, skis or snowshoes? This article takes you through the different options and their pros and cons.
With guest input from Jon Griffith - master skier:
"Many people say that skiing in climbing boots is impossible, but it's not... Climbing boots are much better for climbing in, are warmer and you look cool skiing in Spantiks!"
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=3568
Just a general point, if you've got skis there's no need for telescopic poles. If your skis aren't on your feet, they're on your sack and your poles are far shorter than skis so won't make a difference/stick out. Solid poles are less likely to snap (i've snapped both Komperdel(sp?) and Leki poles before) and far cheaper (£10).
I would look seriously at the companies that make snowshoes with mountaineers in mind - MSR primarily, but my friend had Tubbs flex alps which also seemed just the job. They will have an aggressive crampon and some way of getting grip out of the frame - like the MSR lightenings I have do. I found even easy angled water ice was fine in them.
Skiing is normally going to be more fun going back down at the the end of they day - if you can ski, but if you are ice climbing above deep, wet snow and amongst birch brush - pretty typical for most arctic areas it seems - skiing can really suck for all but the very best. Then snowshoes can be less hassle.
BTW - something else not mentioned. With NTN binding and boots, it possible for telemarkers to wear their boots for climbing just like AT skiers. I suspect due to boot flex you would want to match them to a rigid crampon like Terminators or Rambos - but I've been told by Finnish skiers/climbers that they work just as well as light AT boots to climb in.
One method which has been overlooked is the combination of skis/snowboard with a kite, no seriously, a google search will throw up lots of examples of snow kiting, a very efficient way to cover ground quickly. lots of fun too apparently, does require learning another skill though
I think you've overlooked split-board snowboarding. I've snowboarded in my La Sportiva Nepal's before and it's no different to using normal snowboard boots. You just need a bit of padding at the back on the bindings as the boots don't come up quite high enough. Much easier to learn to snowboard as well. As for split-boards, never used one myself but the article I read on here about it was pretty positive. They give you a big surface area on powder too.
I've snowshoed in and out of one route in the Alps....I won't be doing it again!
I've retired my snowshoes as I now have a nice splitboard :-)
anyone have experience of the "alp control" "mountain spring" thingies specifically designed to help?
Nice article Jack. In Europe you seem to see alot of Brits wading through powder with their crampons on!
I love skiing so always try and approach climbs with skiís. Its surprising how quick you can move over flat / slightly inclining ground with skins on. The Maestrale are excellent. I also use Scarpa Mobe's and though more of a freeride boot for single day excursions they are fine. The Ortovox rucksacks are worth a special mention as they hold skis so well when climbing. I enjoy the down as much as the up and find climbing with Mobe boots and Movement Jackals (adventure skis with a waist of 105mm) fine up to about WI4. You get some fantastic runs down. And more importantly the photos climbing with skis on the back look good! :D
For multi day, longer and more serious climbs you'd want a more flexible boot and lighter skis though!
It's also worth mentioning skis with a slightly kicked up tail (not twin tipped though!) work better with skins. Also skins with a clasp front and back are so much more reliable in the long term. Oh and touring in skis with a rocker is hard work!
On the note of snowshoes I think they have a place if the snow is windslabbed with a thin layer of powder over the top (seem to happen alot out here in the Dolomites). Its hard to skin in on skis as the top layer moves making traversing and kick turns difficult. If you are to walk however every third step you punch through the windslab crust and sink to your waste.
They are also good for steep terrain when constantly kick turning in skins gets exhausting. Kicking steps in steep powder in snowshoes is a joy (providing you have snowshoes that you can lock the heel down in).
One point I would raise is to read the following article about the tests done on shovels before purchasing a shovel:-
There are good articles on the different types and properties of probes too, as well as alternatives to the Mammut Barryvox Pulse.
Very informative article, nice one.
A bit like skis not all snowshoes are suitable for all terrain.
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