Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports
User avatar
Posts: 319
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:55 pm
Location: Boulder, CO

Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby shaunster_co » Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:17 pm

Rather than hijack Chuck's Ski mountaineer thread, I just started a new one since a few of you are interested in the Dynafit / AT Boot modification for splitboarding. Please keep in mind, the decision process to migrate to hard boot is based on my experience and opinion. For some, a soft boot married with a Sparks R&D binding is perfectly suitable. Everyone is different. So as a premise, I am simply offering this mod for those looking for a hard alpine boot for the same reasons.

Background
I was originally dead set with the Scarpa Inverno Ice climbing boots after reading about Jeff Golsten’s mod on TGR. After trying those on however, I realized there is no way a mountaineering boot would fly on a splitboard. Zero heel side control. Not to mention, mountaineering boots..well, suck. I like my shins, and would like to keep them. In fact that goes for the whole line up of ice climbing, and mountaineering boots. I know a bunch of you are going to jump on my ass for saying that, but keep in mind I am referring to their use in splitboarding.

After seeing a transition to the Dynafit by several in the Teton community, I knew they were on to something. The transition has gotten much publicized traction since. Most snowboarders cannot imagine a transition to a hard boot, but most mountaineers cannot fathom being in the BC in a soft boot. A middle ground was met for those who are a hybrid of the two. This is a video that illustrates the transition, and is what first drew my attention to it;
http://teton.outerlocal.com/skiing/jones-splitboarddynafit-bindingsthe-real-solution-review

Among the many that helped with the transition, I have to give a huge thanks to Mountaineer Ski Guide Ruedi Beglinger and Tim Ryan. Well worth the read if you are considering the transition. Likely one of the best observations I have seen posted in any of the communities. Ruedi provided an in-depth observation discussed here; http://splitboard.com/talk/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8706&p=62954

Among the other considerations to making this switch were the inherent dangers of having a soft boot in the alpine terrain. I did not have the ability to kick step in couloirs. After being in Dead Dog couloir in snowboard boots, I promised myself never again until I got with the program – I knew better. Ever try to properly self arrest with an ice axe in a soft toe and heel? Or, scramble in rocky terrain safely without the vibram soles of an AT boot? New-matic crampons cannot be attached to a snowboard boot. Strap-ons could work (the Grivel 12 point is one of the few that accepts the bulk of a snowboard boot – but who wants a 12 point crampon in a non-shank boot?). It goes without saying that if you are using new-matic crampon in a sole that cannot support the crampon you are playing with fire.

Charlet Moser pons will work too - barely, but I would not want to be on a climbing slope and have one fail. Anyone that has travelled in crampons understands the risk you take being in a soft boot of any kind and crampons related accidents – many of them from catching a crampon point on a soft boot (as in hiking boot, so you can only imagine how likely this would be in a snowboard boot), and the inherent tripping hazard of wearing them with anything other than an ice climbing boot or mountaineering boot. The list is sobering, and again, I am preaching to the choir.

In October 2011 I started looking in to the AT boot. The issue I initially had was the thought of splitboard touring with mountain plates and bales – it just didn’t appeal to me. Sparks R&D had made several modifications by eliminating the Voile touring bracket altogether. Replacing it with a Dynafit toe-piece for touring, and either Voile or Bomber mountain plates for descent. This was the exact modification that that was becoming prevalent in the snowboard mountaineering community over the past year (side note: the Voile Mountain Plate is available through REI or Backcountry - try to use the links to either through 14ers so it provides some kickback to this site).

With a means to setup, now the battle was finding an AT boot that would behave the same as a snowboard boot on descents, yet offer a touring comfort. Scarpa was the answer. Scarpa USA (based here in Boulder, CO) helped me with the mondo / BSL sizing issue. I had narrowed down the Scarpa line to two models; the Rush, and the Matrix.

With the boot problem solved, it was now time to tackle the modifications to the splitboard. I knew right away mounting Dynafit to a splitboard was going to be a problem. The amount of lateral force applied to Dynafit would tear a surface mount right off the board, and I did not want to drill and install more t-nuts. Spark R&D solved this problem with an adapter plate that enables you to mount the Dynafit toe-piece to the existing touring bracket holes so that the toe-piece is utilizing the existing T-nut mounting (no drilling). I was actually thinking of calling in a favor for the use of a mill and fabricating my own out of T6 – but since Sparks R&D already solved the problem, there was no sense in going through the trouble.

Here's a pic of the adapter plates with Dynafits;
sparks.jpg
Sparks R&D Dynafit adapter plates
sparks.jpg (243.66 KiB) Viewed 1355 times


You can custom order the toe-piece directly from Neptune or Bent Gate Mountaineering, and they can have them in the shop in a few days. However, those friends at Spark R&D have the Dynafit TLT in stock, and as always they are a breeze to deal with. You will likely find that their price cannot be beat either.

Weight: For the best spring condition snow often a trail ascent before you even get to the snow is in order. Rather than using a splitboard in tour mode, it becomes necessary to pack it in. My previous setup was a pain in the ass having to pack in; snowboard boots with Boa weigh in at 5.6lbs. The bindings added another 4.7 lbs. Originally I thought about going to a lighter, shorter board.. But that is analogous to burning down your house to get rid of a rat.

I was very concerned about adding even more weight transitioning to an AT set up. The Scarpa Matrix weigh in at 4.1lbs and the complete mountain plates weigh in at just 2.2lbs. The Scarpa Rush beats them all – weighing in at a whopping 3.1lbs (based on a mens size 27.5), and the women’s Scarpa Blink or GEA even lighter at 2lbs 2oz! So even for packing in on longer ascents I have switched out roughly 10lbs for 6lbs. In mountaineering terms that is the farm.


Next is eliminating the snowboard binding altogether, and switching to a mountain plate. Same principle as a new-matic crampon using toe & heel mountaineering bale.

mtnplate.jpg
AT Boots with Mountain Plates
mtnplate.jpg (160.55 KiB) Viewed 1355 times



Previously, I had two different setups depending on the terrain when I used regular snowboard bindings. A Flow V binding for the 161, and a Ride Delta for the 159. The Flow bindings did not need an avy rip cord, but I did attach an avy rip cord to the Ride bindings – similar to Voile’s avy ripcord. Both systems were a huge liability in avy terrain though – especially in touring mode. If caught in a slide neither system would allow a quick break away.

tourride.jpg
Tour & Ride modes
tourride.jpg (243.17 KiB) Viewed 1355 times


So in sum, eliminated was; Voile touring bracket, snowboard boots, snowboard bindings, slider gasket.
Replaced with: Dynafit, mountain plates, AT boots.

For those that are headed toward this mod, here are a few pointers that may save you some time and leg work. Scarpa makes over 20 different types of AT boots – so you really have to figure out what works for you. Again, I ride switch, and needed a boot I could adjust to be rigid in the alpine, and soft and flexible on touring. My choice was the Scarpa Matrix. It has a forward lean adjustment and canting adjustment that give more flex than a soft boot if I want it, and at the flip of a switch I can lock them out to be rigid.

Scarpa AT boots – make sure you get a shell fit regardless of what size you think you wear (known as BSL which is measured in millimeters). Go to a real mountaineer place (Neptune, Bent Gate, Larry’s) to get sized. Know that in Scarpa-land, that a size 27.5 is the same shell size as a 28.. Only the liner changes sizes on the full size. After you determine the shell size, get fit for the mondo size (actual centimeter boot size). All Scarpa AT boots use an Intuition liner – so it is heat molded to your feet. Once they are heat molded it is like wearing a tennis shoe. Keep this in mind if you shop for them used.

Dynafit – go with the Dynafit TLT or Radical. Don’t have some random Nordic shop try to sell you a higher vigor Dynafit. It’s only going to be used for touring. Definitely use the Spark R&D adapter plate. I wouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel direct mounting them to a board. Sparks will include adapter plates for the rear climbing wire as well. You will need this modification due to the vibram sole of an AT boot. Otherwise the climbing wire will strike in the arch of your foot.

In summary, I have about 45 days on the snow with this transition, and I could never go back to a soft boot. There is a learning curve switching between a soft boot and a hard boot. For me it took about two days to really get the hang of the difference. Your heel side initiation, and toe side response to turns is much greater in hardboots (think: feather clutch). You will want to face your dominate foot about two degrees forward than you would in a soft boot stance (if you ride switch, do that to the front and rear).

Oh yeah, Rain-x.. Ice build up on the deck is a real pain in the ass – especially when transitioning from touring to snowboard mode. Rain-x will keep ice buildup off your deck and make your life easier. :wink:

If you guys want more photos or specifics of this mod (or for that matter splitting your own board), I have done a number of them and can give you any tips you might be seeking.

Enjoy!

~ Shaun

User avatar
Posts: 2146
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:47 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Sat Sep 29, 2012 7:30 pm

=D> =D> =D>

Dude, you're on top of it. This is great information; thanks for sharing it with the forum.

I especially like the Rain-X idea.

(I wonder how that would work on skins??)

User avatar
Posts: 319
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:55 pm
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby shaunster_co » Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:28 pm

Dancesatmoonrise wrote:I especially like the Rain-X idea.

(I wonder how that would work on skins??)


It might work, actually haven't tried that (i just use a scrap piece of wax to prevent skin icing with variable results). I noticed a few years ago it was easier to scrape ice off the windshield when I did the Rain-x thing.. So there I was with a bottle of Rain-X and a clean windshield looking at my snowboard covered in ice on top [insert lightbulb over head here].

User avatar
Posts: 2146
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:47 pm
Location: Colorado Springs

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:47 pm

shaunster_co wrote:
Dancesatmoonrise wrote:I especially like the Rain-X idea.

(I wonder how that would work on skins??)


It might work, actually haven't tried that (i just use a scrap piece of wax to prevent skin icing with variable results). I noticed a few years ago it was easier to scrape ice off the windshield when I did the Rain-x thing.. So there I was with a bottle of Rain-X and a clean windshield looking at my snowboard covered in ice on top [insert lightbulb over head here].

:lol:

User avatar
Posts: 716
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:58 pm
Location: Louisville, CO

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby GregMiller » Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:55 pm

I'll definitely be sending this on to a snowboard friend of mine, totally awesome!
Still Here
been scared and battered. My hopes the wind done scattered. Snow has friz me, Sun has baked me,
Looks like between 'em they done Tried to make me
Stop laughin', stop lovin', stop livin'-- But I don't care! I'm still here!
Langston Hughes

User avatar
Posts: 790
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 7:07 pm
Location: The High Country

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby RoanMtnMan » Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:17 am

Well done Shaun. PM'd you a few thoughts.
Always follow the 7 P's. Proper Planning & Preparation, Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.

"An adventure is misery and discomfort, relived in the safety of reminiscence.” --Marco Polo

www.CalebWrayPhotography.com

User avatar
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 9:22 pm
Location: Golden, CO

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby XC Snowboarder » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:39 am

Shaun, that was really helpful. Thanks for taking the time to outline your approach and add the details. That is a great summary of the splitboard boot decision challenge. For riding peaks I settled on a pair of Koflachs with a snowboard binding and have been successful sans comfort. It's time for an upgrade and I have everything to make the switch to hard boots except the dynafit toe pieces and adapter plates. I am going to look for a pair and tour on the Mtn plates until I find a deal. Thanks, Marc.

User avatar
Posts: 146
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 5:53 pm
Location: Roxborough, CO

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby jmc5040 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:02 am

Thanks for posting all of this great information and links. It is my goal to get the complete setup at some point this upcoming season. In the past I've really beat myself up in the backcountry carrying in heavy gear and gear that isn't really made for that type of travel. Granted it has been spring time when I've done most backcountry riding, but having the right gear makes your time that much more enjoyable!
"My senses become heightened and the stresses of life fade with each step I take further from civilization. When I'm in the wilderness my brain and body work seamlessly together to do their finest work - a single flowing track down one of natures high peaks." - Jeremy Jones

Posts: 130
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:15 pm
Location: Denver

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby MichiganBrian » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:19 pm

That's awesome. I had taken up skiing last year for this whole purpose, but may reconsider that. Thank for the great information!

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby Bean » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:54 pm

MichiganBrian wrote:That's awesome. I had taken up skiing last year for this whole purpose, but may reconsider that. Thank for the great information!

Even though skis are more efficient for backcountry travel, if you're already a skilled snowboarder just stick with that. You could lose multiple seasons just trying to get back where you were, which you could spend building skills on your splitboard instead.

Shaun, this is great info. It's nice to see splitboard tech improving.
gdthomas wrote:Bean, you're an idiot.

http://throughpolarizedeyes.com

User avatar
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 3:01 pm

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby AxeTheIce » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:03 am

This setup works well. I have a homemade never summer splitboard that I use with this setup and my Spirit 4 AT boots. It is light and easy to use. Traverses are much easier than with my soft setup. Highly recomended. It does take some time to dial in the right flex for descending, but you can crush spring snow with this setup.

User avatar
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 7:12 pm

Re: Splitboard AT Boots with Dynafit [mod]

Postby HikeforTurns » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:47 pm

Ditch those mtn plates and get closer to the board!

Image

Image

Image

Image

http://splitboard.com/talk/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=13929


PS: this isnt a "mod"

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests