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Topic Date User
Alpine Touring Binding recommendations 18-May-2009 At 11:01:19 PM stuart h
Like most questions in alpine climbing, matching skis & boots is a matter of trade-offs and prioritisation, unless you happen to be active enough to have multiple, specialised systems. Ive never been motivated to climb snow/ice routes in Australia, but the system you propose mountain boots, Silveretta bindings and light alpine skis with kicker skins or a homemade pattern sounds about most efficient (unless you are happy to climb in tele gear) for Blue Lake with what looks to be a moderate tour to approach and short routes, but it is probably limited for winter climbing & skiing more generally.

As youve been advised, the Silveretta bindings 500 & 555 take standard climbing boots well. Ski performance is obviously compromised, dramatically for most people, for the improved climbing.

The real appeal of this model is that you can mount the bindings on very short skis that are easy to carry over the route with you on your pack when the descent is not via rappel.

The actual advantage of climbing boots over ski boots really depends on the sorts of routes you want to climb. AT boots take most crampons and are very good to ski in but their lateral rigidity makes them hopeless to walk on moderate slopes (ie you cant flatfoot). They do, however, climb straightforward steep ice (Ice 3 Ice 5) and moderate mixed very well. On more technical ground featured ice (Ice 6) and trickier mixed ground you will miss the greater flexibility of your climbing boots (although if you are wearing heavy plastics rather than leathers the difference will be less noticeable & you will also wish you had leashless tools). For steep alpine cragging, where you can ski to the base and then rappel the route back to your skis and the climbing is not usually especially difficult, a full AT set-up lets you fully enjoy the climbing and skiing. (If you go on this path Dynafit and Fritschi bindings probably ski better than Silverettas, but they wont take climbing boots.) The cirque walls around Pioneer Hut, like Mallory, Barnicoat, and the central gully on Douglas, and the south face of Hicks are good examples of this in NZ, while France and Canada have lots of terrain like this.

Plastic telemark boots tend to accept crampons but you obviously need to check the pairing. As observed by Richard, you tend to lose rigidity and penetration so when my partners have climbed in tele boots they have followed the climbs for speed and security.

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