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  • Franken-eering

    For years (9, to be exact), since a late spring backpack into Desolation Wilderness, I've wanted a one-pair-of-boots setup for mixed ski, dirt and rock travel--but could never figure it out. It doesn't take much walking mileage in plastic ski boots to make me miserable. NNN-BC boots are no good for rock, get soggy if you posthole and aren't all that comfortable for walking, though not as bad as plastic. A year ago I got my first serious mountaineering boots:

    Click image for larger version

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    I grabbed these boots to pack for hiking the meager Thanksgiving snow, and had a flash of inspiration of the kind it's usually better to forget. But, mirabile dictu, Scarpa Phantom Guides fit into NTN Spikes. I don't foresee tele turns in these boots (way too stiff in the forefoot), but maybe they will make parallel turns or at least snowplow? These bindings and boots and Vectors (not the skis in the picture) I think would weigh ~13lbs (the boots are under 5 lbs for the pair) and could be pretty decent for basic snow travel. Hoping maybe a few of the tinkerers/gear nuts here can shed some wisdom. Is this crazy? Are there better alternatives?

  • #2
    Brilliant! That's what AT used to be, just use your mountaineering boot. The world needs a light tele boot that has a little bit of power to it. Leather? Too heavy. T4? Too heavy. They're not cheap, but the AT folks have had light boots for a while now.

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    • #3
      cheap alternative:
      silvretta 404 would probably work better (ebay sale link below - you can probably find cheaper somewhere else). the classic approach binding. i can't remember the model, but silvretta used to make a non-releasable binding that worked with crampon-compatible boots, too.
      http://www.ebay.com/sch/sis.html?_nk...d=150991771085

      more expensive alternative:
      i think an at skier person would probably recommend tlt5m boots with dynafit bindings. people seem to talk about the comfort of that boot (if it fits), wearing them around, driving in them, comfortably ice/alpine climbing them, etc., and pretty good for the down.
      Last edited by thornton; 27 November 2013, 12:32 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by thornton View Post
        cheap alternative:
        silvretta 404 would probably work better (ebay sale link below - you can probably find cheaper somewhere else). the classic approach binding. i can't remember the model, but silvretta used to make a non-releasable binding that worked with crampon-compatible boots, too.
        http://www.ebay.com/sch/sis.html?_nk...d=150991771085

        more expensive alternative:
        i think an at skier person would probably recommend tlt5m boots with dynafit bindings. people seem to talk about the comfort of that boot (if it fits), wearing them around, driving in them, comfortably ice/alpine climbing them, etc., and pretty good for the down.
        Or a cheaper alternative: old pair of Ramer's. I still use mine for approaches with my mountaineering boots. Fixed heel with a mountaineering boot for the descents is a much more stable/safer option, IMO.
        Yay!...(Drool)


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        • #5
          Originally posted by BillyFromTheHills View Post
          Or a cheaper alternative: old pair of Ramer's. I still use mine for approaches with my mountaineering boots. Fixed heel with a mountaineering boot for the descents is a much more stable/safer option, IMO.
          For those unfamiliar - my perspective on Ramer bindings here.

          As an aside, when I delegated AT binding reviews to Lou Dawson Ramer's design was doomed. Turns out Lou received a spiral tib-fib fracture with those bindings. While fair in his assessment, he was harsher than I would have been. I never had an issue with them. OTOH, Lou wasn't the only one to think less of them than I did, so I let his criticism through the gate. In the long run, Dynafiddle IS superior BUT requires a special boot. Ramer works with ANY boot. I even knew people who used them with Merrell SuperComps. On my first trip to Europe my boots and skis arrived separately. I used hiking boots in Ramer bindings for my first day skiing in Innsbruck.

          ain't no turn like tele!

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          • #6
            So far I'm going with your alternative, Fogey. Focus being on ability to hike---afoot and aski. Tele bindings clearly superior to AT for hiking; unless they were dynafit...if your boot could flex in the sole like when you walk. My Ramer experience is biased, too. I never skied with them, but rented a pair of Truckers with Ramers mounted and took took them out with my nice flexible Danner leather hiking boots. Felt like waddling along with feet in mini tubs of cement, all that force going into pulling your heel out of the boot. Turned right back down Blackwood Creek and gave up. Big like, fogey.
            nee, Whiteout

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Charley White View Post
              Tele bindings clearly superior to AT for hiking.
              How do you figure that? I'd say they are exactly the same (i.e. the Ramers) with the exception that you can lock the heel for the descent with the AT bindings. Fogey admits that he can't do tele turns with that mountaineering boot. But it's a good use of equipment that he already has.
              Last edited by BillyFromTheHills; 27 November 2013, 12:19 PM.
              Yay!...(Drool)


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Dostie View Post
                For those unfamiliar - my perspective on Ramer bindings here.

                As an aside, when I delegated AT binding reviews to Lou Dawson Ramer's design was doomed. Turns out Lou received a spiral tib-fib fracture with those bindings. While fair in his assessment, he was harsher than I would have been. I never had an issue with them. OTOH, Lou wasn't the only one to think less of them than I did, so I let his criticism through the gate. In the long run, Dynafiddle IS superior BUT requires a special boot. Ramer works with ANY boot. I even knew people who used them with Merrell SuperComps. On my first trip to Europe my boots and skis arrived separately. I used hiking boots in Ramer bindings for my first day skiing in Innsbruck.
                I used the Ramers and Sportiva plastic mountaineering boots on a climb/ski of a big mountain (Mt. Steele) in the Yukon. I'd do it again, but I'd probably rather get a set of Dynafits if I could afford it. Never used them before...but the weight savings looks good.
                Only issue would be that a ski boot isn't optimal for climbing/mountaineering.
                Last edited by BillyFromTheHills; 27 November 2013, 01:28 PM.
                Yay!...(Drool)


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                • #9
                  Fogey, as I always say about gear, The more range you want your gear to cover, the more you will compromise better performance for versitility.

                  There's one spring route I take that has a pretty long hike to get to the snow. One year I hiked in with ski boots. It kicked my ass. Now I just carry my ski boots and walk to where the snow starts in sneekers then switch to my scarpa tx's when I start skinning.

                  It's not uncommon to see a few pair of shoes lined up at the end of that hiking trail where people have switched to their ski gear and left their hiking boots to wait for their return. It allows them to remove the need for a decent hiking shoe from their choice of mountaineering footware, which gives them better skiing/climbing footware options...

                  If you were out for a few day, you could leave your shoes in a ziplock bag to keep them dry... and focus on just getting a boot that skis, skins, and climbs well.

                  Just a suggestion...
                  Last edited by tele.skier; 27 November 2013, 01:02 PM.
                  the fall line is your friend.... resistance is futile

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                  • #10
                    It's good to know I'm not completely out of my mind--or at least that I'm got some company.

                    An AT binding probably would make more sense for the downhill skiing part of this equation (except that it would mean setting up skis for a binding that I wouldn't use much). If thornton, or anybody else, has an idea what those Silvretta 404 bindings weigh, that would be good to know. Also, will they fit virtually any mountaineering boot, or (as with crampons) do you have to test how they mate?

                    I'm more dubious about Dynafit (or other AT) boots. My wife owns a pair of Geas, and thought about using them for the trip to that got me to buy the boots in the picture--she was disgusted by the cost of mountaineering boots. She did break down and buy her own pair of Phantom Guides and was very glad she did. There's a tipping point depending on how much of a trip would be skiing and how much would be walking or scrambling. For the kind of thing I imagine, on the whole I would rather ski badly than walk painfully or climb awkwardly. Until my (inevitable) surrender to the Dynafit world (the Geas feel so light when I put them in the car), I'm inclined to stick with the boots I have.

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                    • #11
                      Fogey,
                      Cool concept!
                      I used to wear my Galibier Super Guides in a Silveretta cable binding, with a cable throw in the front of the boot as an approach setup. ( I forget what Silveretta binding this was). Then when we got to the base of the ice climb, off came the skis (Europa 77s) , and on went the SMC rigid crampons. The trip back to the road, after this climbing went much faster on skis, as opposed to snow shoes..

                      With the NT bulldog, did you leave the pins in the toe of the Toe cage? I now see you have the NT toe cage, so maybe you don't have the pins, but you could retrofit pins. I guess if these mountaineering boots have a rand to keep crampons on, they should stay in that NT toe cage too. Looks like the heel throw fits well.
                      Let us know how it works out.
                      Last edited by chamonix; 27 November 2013, 03:23 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Early-late season variation



                        Had to walk for miles on October 17th.



                        Thrift store silveretta 300s.
                        http://www.wowasatch.com/index.htm

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fogey View Post
                          Also, will they fit virtually any mountaineering boot, or (as with crampons) do you have to test how they mate?
                          If the boot fits into a step-in crampon (like the boots in your pic above), then it should fit into the 404 or Ramer BUT you do need to test them. The issue is whether the bail in the front of the binding will fit over the sole at the front of the boot. The heel piece of the binding should fit fine with the heel of a step-in crampon-compatible boot.


                          And, yeah, stick with the mountaineering boots you have...they'll do anything you need them for, except telemarking!
                          Yay!...(Drool)


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                          • #14
                            WoW, sweet pic of the tracks off that peak! Nice turns, too... thanks
                            Yay!...(Drool)


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                            • #15
                              Given the choice when hiking, I like my boots to flex at the ball of my foot, like my foot does. Even heavytele boots do that somewhat. In telebindings and tech-toes, only the boot limits that flex. On Ramers, you couldn't flex a sneaker. Fogey, it's sounding more like my assumption was right, you are aware of gear compromise and wanted to trade DH control for hiking. I'm no mountaineer, but gather the more MOUNTAINeering your boot in that class, the less it will flex in the sole: easier to kick steps & you're just flat-planting in crampons anyway. Trading off approach. Quick look at Bentgate to gauge your wife's sticker shock shows they are at least a touch less $$ than tele and AT boots. And it certainly opens a whole new class; looks like there are some solid options to leapfrog the sadly limited Exursions and fast-vanishing t2 class boot. And leave it to Wow to find a right&unique tool for the shoulder-season (& all in between.)
                              nee, Whiteout

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