Another thing that happened today was I just caught the news about the Chinese Olympic Torch on Everest, and the controversy surrounding the expedition (I know that was 2.5 months ago!). At least it was Tibetan climbers who summited. For those who dont know ( probably no one) the Chinese closed the climbing season and posted snipers at camp two to stop protesters! Lethal force was apparently authorised! The media coverage was totally locked down, so all the coverage there was, is some happy smiley faces and about seven torches being waved. The irony is that it was cloudy, so apart from the thick jackets, you couldn't really tell it was the summit. The China's occupation of Tibet is so un justified! I'm looking forward to the Olympics as the ultimate sporting event on the planet, but China really need to give Tibet back (and pay rent). There is more on this on Graeme Kates site www.softrock.co.nz
Anyway back to Ski Mountaineering! I've been going over some gear modifications lately:
I've been having some lockdown issues with my F1s, which most people would be aware of. Basically to lock down into down hill mode you have to clean snow out of the groove and then push so hard your hand bruises. I sanded the groove for less resistance and this has helped. I might sand them a bit more, but I don't want them to become too loose either!!! It's frustrating as this issue is really slowing my down hill transitions. On the positive side I've saved a lot of weight on the f1s by taking out the tongue and disposing of the powerstrap. I also sawed off some of the sole, and replaced with a bit of closed cell foam. This system seemed to work well with my Lasers too.
Here I've shortened them 20cm back from the ski end and Incorporated the 'Grant Guise' bottle cap and bungy cord attachment system. To use this I had to cut a groove into the tips of my skis. This system rocks! It is much easier to get on and off too. The skins now glide better with plenty of traction in 'normal' conditions.
Skate ski poles with new straps - quite long : about 140cm. They seem to give a lot more power from the upper body.
A deuter race pack with all the extras stripped off. I've added a loop and a bungy cord, so that it can carry skis on the bootpack. The system works really well.
Non of these modifications are original and all have mostly come from Grant Guise who in turn learned them through experience and from others. However the difference they make are incredible, as it doubles the distance you can do in a day. I used to feel absolutely stuffed after a day skinning and now it feels more like just going for a run. You can check out Grant's site at www.skimonz.co.nz