Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Time for New Gear?

Since three of my goals for this year involve backcountry skiing, I thought I'd take a look at what I'd need for my future off piste adventures.  I pulled up this list, so that I could get an early start on preparing for the Haute Route, and make sure that any gear purchases that I make between now and Spring of 2011 will further the cause.  I have several problems:
  1. I need skis.  My only tele skis are twin tips (Dynastar concepts and Karhu Jaks - the old ones, not the Jak BC).  I'm looking at buying new older model skis in the $300-$350 range, maybe something like the Black Diamond Voodoo or Stigma.  I'm leaning toward the Stigma right now because of the lower weight and more preferable length (182 vs. 185).
  2. I need bindings.  I thought I could get away with using my G3 Targas, but their durability has been questionable lately, and they don't have the free pivot feature that a lot of the newer BC specific bindings have.  After hearing some questionable reports about the Black Diamond O1 and the G3 Targa Ascent, I've got it narrowed down to Voile Switchbacks and 22 Designs Axl.  The Axl will probably ski like the Hammerhead, which would be awesome, but it weighs 1 pound more, and doesn't look like it would be compatible with ski crampons (which seem to be a must on the Haute Route).  I have to decide if I want to power of the Axl or the weight advantage of the Switchback.
  3. I need other backcountry equipment.  I was never much of a winter adventurer, so I need crampons that would fit over my tele boots (probably these or these), an ice axe (probably something "cheap" like this), a harness, and maybe a new pack (apparantly there is a stereotype of Americans over there with ridiculously oversized backpacks and 18 different GPS systems, altimeters, and barometers coming out of their pockets).  This doesn't even include the beacon/shovel/probe that should be part of every serious backcountry skier's collection.  
So, about $1000 later, I'll be (sort of) ready for the Haute Route.  I hope I get a decent sized tax return this year . . .

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