Firstly just want to say that this site is great and has been really useful for getting a feel for splitboard gear and its evolution over the last few years.
I've been reading up on most of the forum over the last couple of months as we are planning an expedition to Central Asia this summer that will include a splitboard ascent of Muztagh Ata by the Kalaxong Ridge route.
This particular route is non-technical, recommended for ski mountaineering (and splitboards of course!), with basecamp at approx 4500m and the summit at 7546m. There are 3 intermediate camps on the way up on the route plan that I have.
My background is snowboarding and climbing/mountaineering with a little bit of ski touring. However I have not done any splitboarding yet but it is a logical progression that combines my two passions in the outdoors .
Anyway... I have been reading up on this forum and the internet in general about boards, bindings and boots and to be honest I'm struggling to get my head around it a bit (here in Europe there is very little kit so it's not like you an pop into the local shop to check out the gear).
I would be extremely grateful if anyone could recommend particular setups for this particular expedition. If it helps I would take the following into consideration:
- We will be on the mountain for minimum 10-15 days skinning up and descending most days
- Apparently the entire ascent can be done skinning - they even say that it is not necessary to carry axe and crampons but I'm a bit wary about that
- The board should be suitable for all sorts of conditions (ice, hardpack, crust and hey maybe even powder!)
- The descents in general will not be too steep or tight - i would prefer to prioritise comfort for skinning up over control and precision on the way down if compromises have to be made, especially as....
- ...we probably will not be able to use the equipment until we arrive at basecamp (yes I know very very un-ideal ) - Any tips for "breaking-in" boots in snow-free Mallorca?!
- We will be spending a lot of time with the boots on, so comfort and warmth is important
- I have no aversion to hard boots if they happen to be the best option
So any views, recommendations, pros, cons and 0.02c extremely gratefully received!!! Please let me know if you need any further information about the trip to make suggestions...
Thanks in advance,
PS Has anyone been up there before on a splitboard?
Post subject: Re: Splitboard Muztagh Ata (7,546m) recommended gear!
Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 8:27 am
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 4:02 am Posts: 211 Location: somewhere in the middle of germany
PS Has anyone been up there before on a splitboard?
in summer 2002 a group of german mountaineers has been there, and some of them used splitboards too.
leader of the expedition was armin teuchert, if my memory isn't wrong a splitboarder was dieter schlenker.
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:42 am Posts: 2392 Location: California
I've never used hardboots but from what I hear they take awhile to get dialed in. Showing up in Asia having never worn hardboots seems risky to me. I wouldn't want to be making adjustments to my stance at 23,000 feet.
Are you going to be spending a few days riding before you start the climb?
I agree I think no matter what your set-up, a few test rides to dial everything in is important. But a few pieces of equipment that might be ideal for that style of riding would be split board crampons (allow you to skin through variable conditions such as ice) whippets ( ice ax heads that go on the top of your ski pole, if you have compatible ski poles, are good to self arrest if you start sliding while in skin mode which happens when you are beginning), I find my hard boots to be much more comfortable and efficient when skinning and hiking but they do take a getting used to. I think most of the split boards on the market are sick and would suffice, some are much lighter than others, weight is important to me especially for snowboard mtneering. Your trip sounds sick, look forward to hearing your TR.
Hola hedel, this season I tested the hard boot setup and I found it to be ideal for me when skinning is the priority: long ascents, multi-days trips, variable snow conditions etc. Some more details in my previous posts in review-splitboard section.
â€œ- ...we probably will not be able to use the equipment until we arrive at basecamp (yes I know very very un-ideal ) - Any tips for "breaking-in" boots in snow-free Mallorca?!â€
Joined: Tue May 09, 2006 6:09 pm Posts: 388 Location: Chamonix, France
I don't have any comparable experience, but I've been very happy on my last vacation with La Sportva Nuptse mountaineering boots. They were warm but surprisingly breathable too (I was never too hot, but I was really surprised when other on the mountaineering thing complained about cold toes). For snowboarding they were comfy (no heel lift, no pressure points, straps were OK), and they are also pretty stiff because they have a shank for crampons.
I've been riding with a titan split (which was really nice) and salomon relay series bindings, though I would think something like what SanFrantastico rides with his PMBs (voile mountain plates + cannibalized hiback + ankle strap) is probably going to be lighter and more comfortable.
Edit: FYI I bought the boots online from http://www.mtntools.com/, and with the measurements and some consultation the fit was perfect (and was guaranteed anyway). I can wholeheartedly reccomend that option unless you can find them in meat space (I couldn't).
Jogi - I'll be getting in touch with Dieter Schlenker. FYI the guys that have the Voile-Europe website are no longer the distributors but the website is still running.
We will be able to set up and test-ride the boards not far from basecamp at Muztagh Ata to get the right setup. Is there anything major that shouldbe taken into account or this is just going to be tweaking the angles etc. for a comfortable ride with the bindings/boots that we choose.
For me the priority is to break-in and get used to the boots for skinning (skin to ride ration will be very high) as I see much more potential here for discomfort and little niggles compounding themselves over the course of our time on the mountain (thanks for the Compeed tip I am already a big fan! ). Without having tried such a machine I know that many gyms have a cross-country ski trainer - maybe I can get on one of them with the boots? Another option is to go out and do some walks with the boots on - not the same motion but hopefully better than nothing...
In terms of boots and bindings the following seem like valid options:
Garmont Mega Lite with Voile mountain plates - bruno_vr - thanks for those reviews! The Dynafit option looks interesting. Apart from the weight increase is there anything else noteable about skinning with the mountain plates?
- I have seen the Bomber Splitboard binding. Is this comparable in function? Some are recommending it for high-altitude over the mountain plates...
La Sportiva Nuptse with voile mountain plates + cannibalized hiback + ankle strap - I like the idea of having a boot that climbs better when out of the binding and can be used on non-splitboard days. However...
- ...seems like the binding setup is a bit more complicated (does the hiback have to be a home-made effort?) and I have seen many comments about AT boots being the best option for high altitude (especially as there is no technical climbing on this route)
Any other recommended boots? Scarpa Matrix, Scarpa Spirit 3...?
Thanks all for your time so far - it's definitely starting to come together! (and I'll certainly be posting a TR )
Skinning with mountain plates, A.T. boots and VoilÃ¨ hard bindings means, for me, energy saving and better control in some situation like, for example, a traverse on hard snow. I've never tried the Bombers â€¦ or high altitude â€¦
La Sportiva Nuptse with voile mountain plates + cannibalized hiback + ankle strap - I like the idea of having a boot that climbs better when out of the binding and can be used on non-splitboard days. However... - ...seems like the binding setup is a bit more complicated (does the hiback have to be a home-made effort?) and I have seen many comments about AT boots being the best option for high altitude (especially as there is no technical climbing on this route)
Good luck on your trip & post some pictures for us after you come home!
I consider this approach somewhat experimental so I would not recommend this option for your trip. I've been messing around with my setup all year and I still haven't gotten it dialed in hard snow conditions. I haven't tried it with the Nuptses yet, which could improve things. Still, I'd save that kind of experiment for riding closer to home.
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 1:16 pm Posts: 56 Location: Seattle and PDX
looks like you have a really ambitious trip planned.
my only suggestion would be to take some time to get your transitions really dialed in and smooth. i can't imagine what it will be like to rip your skins, assemble your board, put on the plates and clip in while clinging to the side of 40 degree slope when you're hypoxic at 20+ thousand feet.
I think a little time practicing with your gear at a reasonable altitude will really help when your totally knackered at the top of that peak.
Post some pics. Sounds like a great trip!
Go with the NS titan, hardboot, bomber plate option...you won't regret it.