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Alpine Touring Questions

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hello! Ive recently become interested in doing more alpine touring in the whistler/blackcomb area. Currently i have an alpine setup with lange rx100s Salomon shoguns(2013) and downhill bindings. My issues is the cost in getting a complete AT setup. From my research the bindings can run up to 500 as well as the AT boots, not to mention a new pair of skis and skins. 


What are some options for me in turning my current setup into an AT one? I would only be doing maximum 1hr hikes so using the same boots may be a possibility from what I've heard. Do i need new skis or can i remove my current bindings and put on some AT bindings? What would be a good cheap setup? Would the shoguns be ok for AT? 


Thanks in advance for helping me out!

post #2 of 26
Don't forget Avy training classes (~$300) and finding an experienced partner (beer money). Though, without rescue gear, an experienced partner will be hard to find. Almost sounds like you're looking for an early grave?

(translation: you're doing it wrong... really wrong)
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Im taking my course in a couple of weeks, and im the only one of  my buddies without such a setup. Ill be picking up a beacon, and I've already got myself a shovel/probe.


No death-wish, just need some guidance!

post #4 of 26
You can purchase used dukes or barons for a decent price, as well as skins that probably would work. TGR would probably be a good place to start.

U could fill your current binding holes, binding plates or go with the insert route. I went the binding freedom insert route with my S7's (griffon/duke) swap.
post #5 of 26

Welcome to Epic.


Alpine Touring equipment is often a compromise between weight and function.  I have some friends who use race boots and heavy equipment because that is what they have and can afford.  The issue for them is climbing.  Heavy boots, skis and bindings equals slow, plodding and strenuous climbs.  Boots without a hinge at the ankle can make climbing painful and not fun.  Wider skis (e.g. over 90 cm) force you to push more snow out of any existing tracks or generally out of the way when pushing in untracked new snow.  Non-AT equipment can weigh as much as 12 pounds per foot, so you are correct in assuming that longer travel with your equipment would be hard. 


The Shoguns are not a bad choice for what you have in mind, at about 9 pounds and 97mm under foot.  Compare to what my Dynafit Manaslu's weigh (about 6.5 pounds). 


With your boot, you will have to use a binding such as the Duke, Atomic Tracker, or the Fritche Freeride.  I just got a pair of Trackers for slack-country, which is what your describing, and was impressed with solidness of the bindings and the ease of use for travel.  Again, weight is an issue.  The Trackers weigh 6.5 pounds, while my Dynafits weigh just over a pound.


Your boots also add weight. I think that the Langes weigh over 10 pounds per pair, while the Scarpa Maestrale that I use weighs 6.5 pounds per pair.  If you want to stay with more of a DH boot, you should consider one of the newer boots that are designed for slack country (e.g. the Atomic Tracker boot).  Still heavy, but good for both DH and shorter AT trips.


So to answer your questions.  The Shoguns would work but have drawbacks.  Consider using a Guardian or Tracker binding on the shoguns, that way you can still have a good binding for gravity assist skiing.  Your Lange boot can also work, but is not the best option.  Your whole set-up will be heavy and awkward (compared to AT gear), but do-able for short jaunts.  On the other hand, my AT set-up , while light, will not provide quite the stability of the Shoguns and Lange boots on the downhill.


You still need skins, shovel, probe and transceiver. 


I agree with Brian that sounds as if you also need experience, training and experienced people to ski with.

post #6 of 26

You might also consider an MFD plate and don't bother with Dukes or Trackers.  see link...






My son uses these - quite solid and bomb-proof, as well as easy to use!  Also, the rise of the bindings off the ski is lower than the Dukes, which is good.


the cost of the MFD plate is  $250ish per pair.

post #7 of 26
Sorry for being so harsh earlier. You didn't mention anything about looking to buy rescue gear or classes, so I assumed you were just about to start wandering out the gates on your own, woefully under-equipped (both mentally and gear-wise). Glad to hear that this stuff is a priority for you over AT bindings/boots.

For what you've described, your current skis and boots are fine. All you need is a pair of alpine-boot compatible bindings. The Marker F12s/Barons/Dukes, Salomon Guardians, or Atomic Trackers are perfect for your needs. Take off your current bindings, and put one of those on there, get a pair of skins, and you'll be good to go. Backcountry.com usually has good prices on skins, or you could try to find a used pair on Craigslist, or TGR Forums Gear Swap.

Boots with walk mode are nice to have, but really aren't that critical. When climbing slopes, boots with walk mode don't really have an advantage. The big advantage of having a walk mode is when crossing long flat sections - your stride is more comfortable and longer (more effecient). It makes a big difference on LONG flat sections, but on short flat sections you won't really notice much of a difference. The real win is the weight (on longer tours). 3lbs+ off your feet can be a pretty big difference, especially when bootpacking.

With the significant amount of untracked snow out there, I'd almost suggest wider more powder-specific skis. The Shoguns should work ok, just not great. They're really just a fat softish carving ski with just a tiny bit of early rise (if that, even) - they're an all-mountain ski, not a powder ski. Something around 110mm underfoot with a good amount of rocker would work great.

As a frame of reference, I've toured significantly on 10.5lb Alpine Boots, 6lb Dukes, and 10.5lb powder skis over the last two years. Including throwing all that on the pack to hike up trails in spring/summer to get to snowline. So you can certainly do longer tours without problems with that setup. You'll be a bit more tired than most people, but you'll be able to make it work just fine. That said, if longer tours start becoming a common thing for you, you'll want to get tech-compatible AT boots and Dynafit bindings at the very least.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

So with the MFD plate system I am able to keep my current bindings(salomon) and skis? Is the mounting system compatible with other binding screw patterns? How solid are the plates in regular resort skiing?


This sounds like the cheapest option.

post #9 of 26

^^ If you're going to use your current bindings, then yes, it's probably your cheapest option.  Be aware that the MFD plate adds some significant weight, but they're supposed to be pretty solid.

post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 

Would i be able to use the MFD plates on the skis i currently use? Meaning will they work with the screw pattern for my current bindings(sth 12s). If anybody has the solution to mounting an MFD plate to skis that already have bindings mounted on them i would love to hear it.


Also, thanks so much to all of you that have taken the time to respond!

post #11 of 26

Should be compatible with a Solly binding, but you should check for your specific binding.   Have heard good things, but not used my self.  My son has had the MFD plate with a Solly STH for over a year on Armada TSTs.  He is 15 and weighs 130.  Does a lot of air time, cliff hucking, etc and has not had any issues.  I inspected the plate last week and could not find any weaknesses (movement, loose hinge, screw problems, etc). 


here is a review




and another



post #12 of 26

Missed your last post while writing mine - sht should work.  Might have to drill new holes for the MFD plate.  Extra weight not huge compared to using the Dukes or Tracker. 

post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Might have to drill new holes for the MFD plate.


Its ok to drill new holes? It doesn't compromise the ski structure or anything of that nature?

post #14 of 26
Originally Posted by canadianskier View Post

Missed your last post while writing mine - sht should work.  Might have to drill new holes for the MFD plate.  Extra weight not huge compared to using the Dukes or Tracker. 


Actually, the plate is pretty heavy so I think the weight ends up being about the same or pretty close.  Not to mention, the OP has alpine boots to begin with so he's not exactly being dynafit stingy when it comes to weight.

post #15 of 26

sth 12 weight = 4.5 pounds

MFD              = 1.3 pounds  (I think this is per pair)(was wrong - its per side_


total = 5.8 pounds  7.1



Atomic tracker  = 6.52 pounds

Edited by canadianskier - 11/27/12 at 6:51am
post #16 of 26

If you really want to do this alpine touring, you will be spending a lot of money, but to save you time, pain and almost a lot of money, go straight to Dynafit (or tech) with a good lightish allround ski (eg K2 Wayback, Coomback) and compatible boots.  I am now on my fourth pair of AT skis which are finally dynafit after previously mucking around with Freeride and Duke bindings and would have saved myself a 5 year learning curve and over $4k in redundant gear.

post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 

How does this setup sound to you guys?


K2 sidestash 2011/12

MFD touring plate

Head Mojo 12 bindings

K2 hardside climbing skins


All for 600$

post #18 of 26


post #19 of 26

It is heavy, but its a start and you're doing a set-up on a budget.  Once out, you will realize how the weight factor slows you down and tires you.  But as you said, your intent at this time is slack country and not big tours.  Many of us who have been going into the back country have refined out equipment over time, and you might do this too  Go have fun and be safe

post #20 of 26

  As a side note to something mentioned earlier: take the class (you are --that's good), get the necessary safety equipment and become thouroughly proficient with their use before going out. Especsially the transceiver...we used to play "hide and seek" with them before the season (it quite entertaining btw)...it really does need to be second nature!

post #21 of 26

You'll be fine mounting the MFD plates onto your current skis.  New mounting holes are really only an issue when they are within 1cm of each other.  The mounting points on the MFD plates is much farther forward and back than your current binding.  

I run MFDs with a Pivot 18 on Ramp Groundhogs.  It sure is a heavy setup but I coach all winter and only get to tour out at Hood in the summer.  Its worth it to get the plates, They're bomber and you never have to worry about breaking them during the regular season.  Yes it's a lot heavier especially if you are using alpine boots too but when you get better at touring and if you get a tech setup (dynafits etc..) it will make that feel easier.  For one hour tours it shouldn't be an issue.  

The setup you posted above will work well.  If you wanted to you could just mount the STHs on the MFD plate and run that on your currents ski.

post #22 of 26

You can boot into the slackcountry.  But without proper avi gear and some knowledge, you shouldn't.

Beacon, shovel and probe are the first things you need.  Then someone to show you how to use them and basic backcountry protocol.


The last thing you need is AT gear. 


Heck, you could still get by on a pair of Alpine Trekkers. I used them for over ten years starting in the early 90's. At the time Petzels and Silverettas were state of the art.

When was the last time you saw anyone on those?

post #23 of 26


Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

You can boot into the slackcountry.


From a safety/rescue perspective, don't do this. If you've ever tried to climb (sidestep, bootpack, etc.) on an alpine setup (no touring bindings / no skins) when the snow is deep, then you'll know why. It's extremely exhausting and slow without proper equipment. What happens if your partner is slid on after you descend, and you have to climb 100' to get up to the debris pile? With proper touring gear, you'll ascend that 100' in no time and might be able to dig him out alive. Without proper touring gear, he'll die, guaranteed. Your choice, but IMO, it's foolish to go out the gates without full touring gear, at least when there's deep snow (it doesn't have to be fresh to be deep! You can easily sink 3' down in old snow that hasn't been skier compacted).

post #24 of 26
Cheapest = install MFD Alltime plates

2d Cheapest = replace current bindings with Marker Duke/Baron, Salomon Guardian, etc

You can tour with your alpine boots. Plenty of people have done it. Brian Lindahl raises good points about mobility and energy requirements but if you've spent any time bootpacking in your alpine gear you know what the boots feel like going uphill. You're not going to have fun keeping up with buddies on Dynafits, but you're still going uphill.

Ideally you'd set yourself up with every optimal piece of gear and spend maybe 10k in the process. Ideally. Realistically, you can get the MFDs and some skins, see if you like it, keep your ascents relatively short while you hone your skinning technique and snow-reading/terrain-reading skills. If you really dig it, save up and get a full touring setup that optimizes your uphill.

I've toured with alpine boots in Naxos, AT boots in Naxos, and Dynafit bindings with different D-compatible boots. They're all ways to have fun. Just be smart about learning avy realities and gaining some snow/terrain reading skills.
post #25 of 26
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post


Heck, you could still get by on a pair of Alpine Trekkers. I used them for over ten years starting in the early 90's.


You in this video?  ;-)


post #26 of 26

Those are Secura Fix's, Trekker's predecessors, but yes, that's the era.  I still have some skinny ass coltex skins too.



Brain - while I basically agree with you, there are still ton's of people in the BC on alpine gear and it can be done safely.

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