Mountaineering Engineering

January 9th, 2010

It’s been more than 20 years ago since my first ski tour. Shortly afterward I started snowboarding. And shortly after that I combined both.

How?

Back in the days ski touring was well established but snowboarding a new trend. So obviously for ski touring with a snowboard there was no buyable out-of-the-box solution around. Certainly I could have taken my snowboard on my back and climb up the mountain. But that doesn’t scale in deep snow or high mountains.
Recently snow shoes became very trendy. But they do not work in deep snow and are much more tiring than normal touring skis.

My and my fathers first solution was to use cross-country skis with climbing skins and then change boots on the top of the mountain.
That worked quite well and that way I did ascend – to the surprise of other ski tourers – some nice winter mountains mainly in the Austrian alps.

in the beginning

Changing boots is not a proper solution in cold, snowy conditions though. The next step in the evolution of my equipment was to engineer a binding I could use with my normal snowboard boots. We did that by reusing some very old-fashioned cable bindings from the 70s(?).

Ascend

Until recently I have been successfully using this mountaineering technique.
During all that time one remaining disadvantage was the bulkiness of the cross-country skis on my back when surfing down the mountains.
So last winter I decided to make the skis foldable with a hinge in the middle.

Foldable skis

It took us a second iteration to get the proper hinges (the first ones weren’t stable enough). Finally this winter the solution proved to be ready for use.

It still keeps me puzzled why the ski industry never came up with a practical concept for ski touring snowboarders in these two decades (recently split boards seemed to make significant progress). In my opinion a light, fold or pluggable ascend-only ski would be best.

Finally, many thanks to my father for his support.

3 Responses to “Mountaineering Engineering”

  1. Tobe Freeman Says:

    Amazing! Hardcore hardware development!

  2. Erik Eisenberg Says:

    Cool stuff. Would be great if you could post some more info regarding how you built them.

  3. occasional mind dumps » Blog Archive » Mountaineering engineering 2012 Says:

    [...] last mountaineering post was about foldable cross-country skis I use for back country snowboarding. So far these skis have [...]

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