Splitboard Mountaineering Advice

Discussion in 'Splitboard Gear' started by dwalters, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. Hey all,

    So I was looking into purchasing a splitboard and binding setup with the intent of using them for flotation to technical climbing peaks with non technical (mellow) descents. I would like a setup that would be compatible with leather mountaineering boots such as the La Sportiva Trangos, Nepals or Batura 2.0, but still be able to ride mellow descents such as the Emmons on Rainier, Coleman on Baker, or Colchuck glacier in the Enchantments. I understand that by using a Mountaineering boot as opposed to a snowboard boat I am sacrificing performance in the riding department.

    I was curious about that types of bindings and setups have worked for you guys. Strap vs plate and what size board best suits this type of endeaver. I'm 5'7, 140 pounds and my pack usually weighs no more than 45 pounds for a net weight of 145-180
  2. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Liberty Lake, WA
    Good Morning dwalters… Welcome to the split "board"!
    Hope you don't mind, but I moved this to the Splitboard category although it contains mountaineering, many more that split board would have info.
    So, since you want to use a good mountaineering boot, you won't want a plate binding. But I can tell you the best mountaineering boot for split boarders, Fitwell Backcountry boot. It is used the world over by snowboard mountaineers. Check out Kyle Miller, a local from Seattle Wa. (you can get on his FB page and send him a message. He will respond). These boots will allow you to attach crampons and climb peaks, and are just short of being as firm as a hard boot.

    A typical splitboard strap binding is sufficient for these. Be sure to do you homework on which binding to use.
    I currently ride Spark R&D afterburners, as many of our members. Afterburners are just a little more burley than the freestyle oriented Magneto.

    As for board, that so depends on your riding ability and how type of riding. Honestly, it is hard to have just one split. If you were to, then find something that will work well in powder, with an early rise, but still has camber underfoot as this gives edge control when used on harder snow conditions (flat or full rocker is not good for our type of snow conditions).

    Hope this helps..
    dwalters likes this.
  3. Thank you so much for the advice,

    What strap bindings would you recommend? Also the goal would be to stick with a technical mountaineering boot. I don't plan on doing any intense descents and actually will end up getting a separate setup for coulier and bowl boarding

    Also what size board would you recommend a 158 cm?
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  4. if your 5'7 i wouldnt ride a 158. im about your size and i def prefer a 156 or even shorter if its a pow specific design. Not sure about all the different boards, but with new camber profiles and pow specific designes im now riding a 153 (down from my last 156 full camber) and I find it has much better float, is lighter, fast to turn, and overall just more fun. Riding longer boards in the pow is becoming a thing of the past.


    for what its worth, thats the deck i want next winter.
  5. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Liberty Lake, WA
    Sal has a very valid point related to shorter boards.. except you may want to consider the fact you will have hard surface riding as well due to the altitude. Burton Spliff is a good board for powder, but with the nose it has, if you end up on firm snow driving long arching turns there may be a bit of chatter in that nose.. I guess that's why I have a quiver, so can choose the board I want for the conditions/type of riding.. Ha

    While large rocker or Early Rise tips make for great pow riding, skinning up is where too much rocker is a pain in the ass since there is not much of the skin getting on the track.
    At your height, I think you could go with 153-158.. But you should try out a few boards at the lower end before buying, because splits are spendy.. Maybe try a solid version of the board (easier to find) so you know if you like it.

    I do believe one can go shorter than the old school boards, but none the less, sometimes having middle road is better than too short.

    Pray for Snow, I'd rather have this discussion on the mountain!!!!!
  6. if you want to test out the s-rocker design at Schweitzer this winter let me know ill let you ride my barracuda. i have been amazed how well it preforms on hardback and groomers. hit me up here or email me finfocusproductions@gmail.com.

    for me personally, the s rocker (camber under the back half of the board rocker in the front) is where its at. for someone like myself who cant afford a quiver, its a great do it all. if you ride resort at all, its also super at cut up xhop and crud. If you like to ride switch, look at a tradtional camber or and rocker-camber-rocker design. the s rockers are no good switch riding.
    PowderPanda likes this.
  7. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Liberty Lake, WA
    Excellent.. Thanks Sal!! Might have to take you up on that! There are just a few companies out there doing that design right now.
  8. k.p0w


    I will admit right away that I don't know much about the boards you guys are discussing but I can share my experience with a shorter board. I'm 5'7" and I ride a 164.

    I upgraded sizes after two seasons of hiking in the backcountry and it had EVERYTHING to do with the skinning, not the powder performance. My shorter board was excellent in the powder just as you are saying but it blew at skinning compared to the longer one. When the powder was the deepest is when I had the most trouble skinning. The deeper the powder the harder it was to stay afloat. Breaking trail was extremely frustrating. A lot of guys I go with are in skiis. Even the shortest skiis are longer than our boards and it was frustrating for me to see them move through the knee deep pow with so much less effort. I decided it was time for a comprise because of the time ratio spent skinning to riding and now my long days take less effort. Just my 2 cents. You'll have fun with whatever you get as soon as you're out using it. I just want to point out there is a bigger picture than just the decent.
    PowderPanda likes this.
  9. very valid point jason and worth factoring into the equation. i dont know how it factors in, but the shorter new burton sticks all use there over hyped keyword technology called nug raduction. despite burtons overly advanced marketing complex, the tec is pretty real.

    because i try not to talk out my ass to often, and im just chillin here at the house today I decided to to a little more reasearch in regard to how it may pertain to splitboards. ive found some interesting results that I will share. Keep in mind, this stuff is all super subjective. I have always been the type of person to adopt new technology and at least try them out. I think science has a lot to offer in regards to snowboard design, which is still evolving rapidly.

    basically, what it comes down to is the same amount of surface area on a shorter stick, which should mean better flotation when skinning.

    my PERSONAL experience has been positive. almost everyone I have ran into riding one of the smaller new burton decks has been in love with it, and I know how I feel about mine.

    i have also learned how blindly hated burton has become in the world of snowboarding during this research.
    k.p0w and PowderPanda like this.
  10. Thanks so much for the input, these are all things i'm trying to consider when making a beefy purchase. When it comes down to it, this setup would be used almost exclusively for climbing and weight / skinning ability is really important to me for this.
    PowderPanda likes this.
  11. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Liberty Lake, WA
    When thinking about weight, look at boards with carbon fiber. My Prior Khyber was a custom split with full XTC wrap.. Super poppy and light. I haven't ridden Jones Boards, but the guys at Ski Shack really like the new Carbon Fiber Jones board. These materials will keep it torsionally stiff for those areas that it needs it most.

    Crazy when ya think about how many different designs, thoughts and preferences there are in split boards. Really, bindings are a lot easier! Ha
    Bobby Tarr likes this.
  12. k.p0w


    Dwalters, do you climb with Coldiron?
  13. Hey Jason, I haven't climbed ice with coldiron, but I've seen him at Banks and i've sport climbed with him.

    Also PowderPanda, a lot of input I have input I've gotten from people is that a traditional leather mountaineering boot will be a pain to ride in and will wreck havoc on my ankles unless i use something like the la sportiva spantiks. Do you have any experience with this?
  14. http://fitwellboots.com/product/backcountry/

    these are supposed to be hands down the best snowboard mountaineering boots out there. if they are to soft, you can put a set of intution liners in them. (though from the sound of it i dont think they would be to soft for you)
  15. PowderPanda

    PowderPanda Staff Member

    Liberty Lake, WA
    No.. Never used a mountaineering boot. As Sal notes above, the best boot for snowboard mountaineering is the Fitwell. I know a few people that use them as they ride in the strap bindings just fine.

    I ride Salomon Malamutes which are one of the stiffest snowboard specific boots. I've used them for over 7yrs and have strap crampons that work good, not great. I would like to get a pair of Fitwells in the next yr or 2.
  16. Ya, not sure what will be in my budget this year. The fitwell boot looks rad, but may be out of my price bubble this season.

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