Wednesday, April 28, 2010

WURLOS: The Gear

From WURLOS 2010

Almost as fun and almost as stressful as the skiing itself is gear selection. Equipment-wise, we were all on rando race setups. I was on Ski Trab World Cup Duo Race skis, Andy on Hagan Superlights, and Bart on Dynafit SR 11s. All of these skis are about 65 mm in the waist and around 160 cm long. They are less than 2 lbs per ski (around 800 grams) and all incorporate carbon fiber.

For bindings, we were all on Dynafit Low Tech Bindings. At 160 grams, built of titanium and aluminum, they are some of the lightest bindings available. One of the problems with the Low Tech bindings is that they do not have a high heel post. A higher heel post enables us to skin steeper lines, which is required by the WURLOS. We built our own heel lifters with some aluminum. With the yellow tab down, we had a medium heel post, and with the binding flipped around, we had a high heel post, which made steeper skinning much more comfortable and efficient.

From WURLOS 2010

For skins, I went with wall to wall mohair tail-less skins to conserve weight and to prevent glop. Bart was on some G3 nylon skins and Andy with BD nylons skins. All were wall-to-wall.

For poles, Bart and Andy went with double Whippets. I went with one Whippet and a Dynafit carbon pole, again to save weight and to be more efficient. In truth, there were a few times when I wished I had double Whippets. One of the issues I have with Whippets is that they are heavy. Bart and I are working on a lighter alternative.

For boots, we were all on Dynafit DNAs. Except for a few durability issues, we love the DNAs. They are comfortable and most importantly, they have a large range of ankle articulation, which makes for fast and efficient touring. And for the DH, they ski relatively well. Case in point: it's by go-to touring boot, no matter what ski I'm using. Dynafit is coming out the TLT 5 next year, which will change what is possible for a lot of ski tourers out there.

From WURLOS 2010

After our first attempt at the WURLOS, we had a good sense of what gear would be required and what we would not need.

From WURLOS 2010

Here is a list of what I carried:

1. CAMP Speed Helmet -- super light ski mountaineering helmet
2. OR lightweight beanie with the top cut off -- to save weight! Just kidding, for more ventilation.
3. Mont Bell Thermawrap -- super light and warm, awesome hood protects when weather turns bad
4. CREE LED light -- recommended by Kanyon Kris, puts out enough light for descents, best part: $20
5. Black Diamond Icon Headlamp
6. Smartwool lightweight top, scoopneck, women's model
7. CAMP X3 600 Pack -- super light at under 600 grams. It has a hip belt pocket and a ski carry system that allows you to put skis on your back without removing the pack.
8. carabiner -- to fasten skis to back, or to rappel off
9. Lowe Pro camera case with Canon S90
10. Closed Cell Foam Pad -- used to sit on during breaks and to wrap around ski bindings so they don't gouge my back
11. Patagonia wind shirt
12. Marmot thermal bottoms -- At about 11:00 pm at the top of the Pfeif, I stripped off my pants to get these on. It was worth it.
13. CAMP Water Bottle Holder
14. Pieps Freeride Beacon -- small and light
15. Dynafit ski pants aka tights
16. Lorpen spare socks
17. REI One spare gloves
18. Sunglasses
19. Leatherman
20. Blister care kit, containing Leuko tape, bandages, moleskin, and Dr. Scholls blister pads

Not pictured:
21. Camelback bladder
22. wool undershorts and undershirt
23. JETBOIL -- Andy brought a Jetboil to melt snow and cook ramen. It saved us big time. We ran out of water and the Jetboil brewed it quickly. 20 hrs into the tour, we stopped and had ramen noodles and it was a major luxury. On Monday, both Bart and I each ordered a Jetboil. I carried the fuel, Andy carried the stove, and Bart carried the noodles.
24. 20 meters of 5 mm cord. We didn't need it.

We didn't take shovels or probes. Nor did we take crampons, although we they would have come in handy in a few places.

That's probably more information than you wanted, but for future reference, it might come in handy for me.

For food, I took Brian Harder's advice, and took a lot of GU. Throughout the tour, I ate 15 GUs, 2 packages of Cliff Bloks, 2 Pro Bars, 2 granola bars, a bag of jerky, and 4 Snickers. For fluids, I drank Pepsi, water, Carbo Rocket, GU20 and Ultragen -- probably about 3-4 liters.


Layne said...

Good stuff. Sounds like you guys had an awesome adventure. Nice work!

I have to say that I just ponied up some coin and ordered trab's new race binding and pack--If my wife gets mad at me, I'm blaming you.

Jonathan S. Shefftz said...

Wow, now that is some tour -- well done!
So with this season's Dynafit race bindings, the standard operation (as opposed to your mods), is that for touring with a flat binding (no elevator), the binding is rotated to the side? And then for medium elevator, the binding is straight ahead, but the lever is flipped forward so that the heel pins are not engaged? And for high elevator -- there is none? (And hence your mod.)
Also, what durability problems have you experienced with your DyNA? My only problem (sort of) has been recurrent cracking (fixed each time with the super glue) of the little plastic clip that keeps the upper buckle engaged into lock mode (which really isn't a problem since the clip makes a difference only if the buckle is in lock mode w/o really being buckled under any tension, i.e., a configuration I never use).
The glued-on tongue also came off a little bit higher up on the shell, but a little more opening was a good thing. (Although I love how sealed up the lower shell is b/c of the fixed tongue.)

Jared said...

Layne, where did you get the bling Trab binders?

Jon, yes, 3 modes: 1) flat, 2) medium, with the yellow tab down, and 3) high, with the aluminum lifter in the forward position. It's almost just as good as the Speed binding positions, but lots lighter.

On the DyNA, we've had issues with the buckles breaking and coming loose. Also, the cord will break at random times, but that's kind of to be expected.

I like the sealed lower tongue as well. I'm anxious to try the TLT 5.

Jonathan S. Shefftz said...

I'm surprised to hear about the cord breakage, since when I tried cutting up the extra cord, it seemed insanely strong. Either way, that's not a big concern
I am concerned about buckles though, especially b/c each boot has only two! For an upper cuff buckle failure, I bring along a screw rivet to lock up the shell, and then a Voile strap can be used to tighten up the cuff.
If the instep buckle breaks off though, hmm. Given how low-profile the shell is, the buckle does stick out some. I was noticing this the other day when negotiating a super bouldery exit from a ski line. (Amazingly enough, this was an official hiking trail -- harder than skiing the 40-degree couloir!)

Jared said...

Bart broke his bottom buckle. We used a Voile strap and cord to wrap around the instep.

My upper buckle is about to go. One rivet is broken. In a pinch, a long voile strap might work to hold the buckle together, but it would be a pain.

And the retention plastic thingy -- to keep the top buckle throw out of the way while skinning, has broken.

Layne said...

I ordered them from Mark, the guy.

Bryan Wickenhauser said...

Nice work on the traverse, and love the heel mod Jared!

...Still breaking cords eh? Bummer! 2ft of pow here on May 1st & 2nd. Let's ski!

Alex Wigley said...

Nice Work!!! Love the super big tours. Thats what its all about, keep hammering.

Michael Silitch said...

I have never used the low techs; but nina raced on them for a season. I thought the "yellow tab up" and turn the binding around 180 degrees, would allow you the same lift as with your alu. add on??? What skins do you use? They must be grippy. Cool blog! And cool tour.

I've heard the dYna's leak at the flex zone, esp when boot packing. Did you find this?

Jared said...

Hi Michael,

The yellow tabs don't really work as a riser. And if you rig them to act as a riser, they break off. As you know, rando races don't normally require a high riser position.

As for skins, I used Dynafit speed skins -- part nylon, part mohair. On our first attempt, I went with some Nylon Ascensions and some Coltex Mohairs. But I wanted to simplify and save weight; hence, the Dynafits.

The DyNAs leak through the tongue. I didn't notice any leakage from the back flexzone. But compared to the PGs, which basically have an open front, they leak less.

Hope all is well in Cham.

Jonathan S. Shefftz said...

So following up almost half a year later . . . Dynafit has now taken the previous top-of-the-line Low Tech heel and combined it with the standard Speed toe to create the Low Tech Lite.
I'm wondering if you ever put the race heel on a standard alpine downhill torque tester then looked up the bsl on the charts to interpolate the implicit release value? (Yes, I know the race heel doesn't officially meet any release standards, but it does have some sort of release that must be quantifiable, plus regular Dynafit bindings check out just fine on a torque tester.)
Absent that, have you and your crew skied on your race bindings with the toe unit lever in ski or tour ("locked") mode?
And feel free to chime in here:

Dane said...

Hey there, great blog! Thanks for the effort.

I am about to hop on a pair of Dynafit TLT. Any suggestions on how they fit size wise compared to the BD boots?

Anything I need to know?