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Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
"Chains" (Ski Crampons) for my Altai Skis on 01/29/2012 13:56:12 MST Print View

I bought a pair of Altai Skis and mounted the bindings. So far, so good. My thought is that while I really like to ski in the winter, I sometimes snowshoe, just because I'm not that good of a skier. Frequently, on those trips, I will encounter conditions that are really good, and I think "I wish I had my skis right now". My hope is that these skis will essentially replace my snowshoes. Of course, this leads to the other problem. I may encounter steep or icy terrain, and wish I had regular snowshoes.

So, my hope is that I can create something that I can easily attach to these skis to put them into "snowshoe mode". In other words, I want to attach something that will make these stop sliding (or slide no more than regular snowshoes). My first thought is attaching ski crampons. I have no experience with ski crampons, so I'm not sure if they would make sense for this ski. I have NNN BC bindings mounted right now, over a wooden plate, which I imagine complicates things. I really don't know much about ski crampons, so if someone can offer me some advice related to that, then maybe I will just go that route.

My other thought is to just make something myself. After a fair amount of thought, I've come up with the following idea: Buy three sets of 3" (8 cm) chain. Attach the chain to straps, which are connected to buckles. When the going gets tough, I'll attach the buckles, with the chain underneath the ski. I'm concerned about messing up the bases and the edges, so I'm thinking I'll add some (tough) fabric to go in between the ski and the chain. My main concern with the design is to make sure the chain doesn't slip off the fabric and damage the ski base. Similarly, I don't want the strap to slide around to the top, thus having the chain make contact (even through the fabric) on the ski edges.

So, what do people think of this idea? Any other suggestions?

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: "Chains" (Ski Crampons) for my Altai Skis on 01/29/2012 14:07:15 MST Print View

umm Climbing skins?

http://www.backcountry.com/climbing-skins

just figure out how long your skis are and find them to match.

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: "Chains" (Ski Crampons) for my Altai Skis on 01/29/2012 14:12:41 MST Print View

this be peter's op only :

me being faced with wanting a form of "ski crampon" , i suspect i'd fab something that went over the TOP of the ski, and then the points extend downwards.

the edge of the ski structure then takes the left and right side thrusting, leaving only the front/back and "how to hold it down" issues to deal with. think maybe a quartet of thumb screws about 6mm or 1/4-20 might do the deed for each side, these threading into holes you have drilled and tapped in you skies.

if you make it exact enough, you can use the same pattern to store the points (facing up). this will ventilate you if you fall on the skis, but other than that, it might work.

don;t like the idea of just bending over the points 90° during fabrication because they won't have grip for and aft ? ... give them a 45° tweek, and they'll present grip in all modes.

or ....
maybe ...

make the point plate out of something thick enough to hold a thread (use NF .. like 1/4-28) and drill thru the ski, so you can shove thumbscrews thru the ski , and then out the bottm, where they wil nicely thread into your point plates.
this keep the screw on the top (a good thing) but exposes the lower end to damage (boogered threads) unless you have the length dead niuts.
--
you start drawing out exactly what it would be in a perfect world .. the solution often comes during that process.

cheers,
v.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: "Chains" (Ski Crampons) for my Altai Skis on 01/29/2012 14:22:57 MST Print View

>>> umm Climbing skins?

They have built-in skins. I want something that will make them stop. I can ski down a mountain (or into a tree) with skins on. I want something with more grab.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: "Chains" (Ski Crampons) for my Altai Skis on 01/29/2012 14:32:34 MST Print View

By "ski crampons" maybe you are referring to harscheisen. Those can be fitted over the heel plate or the midpoint on many ski bindings.

With my climbing skins, I can ski up a steeper hill than I can ski down.

--B.G.--

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: "Chains" (Ski Crampons) for my Altai Skis on 01/29/2012 14:37:13 MST Print View

@Peter -- Good ideas. One thing worth mentioning is that the ski binding sits on top of a wooden plate. The plate works for a few different binding types. As a result, it has more holes than I actually used. It is possible that I can just use the plate, or drill into the plate, to attach the crampon. This would be nice, in that I wouldn't have to worry about drilling through the ski.

Creating something that can be attached or detached quickly would be ideal. Maybe I could drill through the plate, attach a bolt, and then put a wing nut on the other side. This might enable me to quickly attach or detach a crampon.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: Re: Re: "Chains" (Ski Crampons) for my Altai Skis on 01/29/2012 14:51:00 MST Print View

>> By "ski crampons" maybe you are referring to harscheisen. Those can be fitted over the heel plate or the midpoint on many ski bindings.

Yes, I think they are the same thing. Here is a website that sells them: http://www.bndskigear.com/telemarkcrampons.html
I think the problem I have with ski crampons is that I probably can't get a pair to fit my gear. I have NNN BC bindings mounted over a wooden plate over a fat ski. This means that it is taller than a regular NNN BC binding (if they even make ski crampons for NNN BC bindings). Again, I don't know much about harscheisen (AKA ski crampons) so I don't know what options are available.

>>> With my climbing skins, I can ski up a steeper hill than I can ski down.

Yes, exactly, that is my problem. I need something that will stop me while going down.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Chains" (Ski Crampons) for my Altai Skis on 01/29/2012 15:16:54 MST Print View

"I think the problem I have with ski crampons is that I probably can't get a pair to fit my gear."

You can buy 3-pin bindings that will fit your harscheisen.

--B.G.--

Justin Baccary
(justin.baccary)
Width underfoot on 01/29/2012 16:21:04 MST Print View

What is the width underfoot of the Hoks (in mm)?

Edited by justin.baccary on 01/29/2012 16:21:35 MST.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Width underfoot on 01/29/2012 17:30:12 MST Print View

The skis are about 108 mm (4.25 inches) across underfoot. The plate sticks up about 13 mm (a half inch) and does not go all way across. I can imagine that this would cause a problem, but I'm not sure. If the ski crampon is strong enough, and long enough, then it won't matter. It will simply stick out far from the plate, and be 1/2 inch less deep into the snow.

Again, I really don't know how ski crampons (or harscheisen) work. I know there are two types, those that go up and down with your boot, and those that stay with the ski. But I don't understand how they get attached and detached to the ski or binding.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Width underfoot on 01/29/2012 17:51:32 MST Print View

"Again, I really don't know how ski crampons (or harscheisen) work. I know there are two types, those that go up and down with your boot, and those that stay with the ski. But I don't understand how they get attached and detached to the ski or binding."

How they mount is variable, depending on the actual binding. I've never seen them on anything except for a 3-pin rig or else a heavy randonee rig. They generally have some kind of opening across the flat center, and that fits down over some portion of the mid-foot plate or heel plate. I've seen a couple of heavy thumbscrews that twist and lock it into position. However they mount, it must be pretty firm and it must be pretty quick. When you are up there on a steep slope, you don't want to be mickeying around with something that doesn't fit quickly and securely.

How they work is pretty simple. As you push the ski forward, the points on the bottom will slide over or through the ice or crust. As a result, the points are not supposed to be extremely sharp. Then if you stand, the points prevent you from slipping backward.

--B.G.--

Justin Baccary
(justin.baccary)
B&D fat crampons on 01/29/2012 17:52:17 MST Print View

I'm having a hard time picturing the binding setup you are describing. Posting a picture would definitely help.

As for ski crampons, I much prefer ski crampons that are fixed to the ski rather than the kind that "float" with your boot. When I need ski crampons, I want the whole thing in the snow. Voile makes a great fixed crampon, including 115 mm and a 130 mm versions. They mount to the ski with a simple disk setup. Check them out here and see what you think:

http://www.voile-usa.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=2090&Category_Code=

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: B&D fat crampons on 01/29/2012 17:56:32 MST Print View

Yes, Justin, that is a modern version of what I had seen years ago.

--B.G.--

Justin Baccary
(justin.baccary)
Confusing title on previous post on 01/29/2012 17:59:34 MST Print View

My apologies for the confusing title on my previous post. B&D also makes a fat crampon (http://www.bndskigear.com/fatcrampons.html). I wasn't sure what the width of the Hoks were before I started typing my previous post. I don't have direct experience with the B&D crampons but some of my ski partners have them. Personally I have the Voile crampons and have nothing but praise for them.

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: B&D fat crampons on 01/29/2012 18:49:48 MST Print View

top view: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rossbl/6786134441/lightbox/
side view: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rossbl/6786134677/lightbox/

Hopefully that helps. I appreciate the link to Voile, as I had only read the B & D site. It looks like they both could work.

Since the block sits above the ski, and is not as wide as the ski, there will be a gap between the crampon and the ski, close to the edge. Maybe this doesn't matter. If it does, I guess I can put little blocks next to the existing plate. My guess is that it doesn't matter, as the forces will be pushing things up, not down.

It looks like you have to drill into the ski a half inch. I assume you then insert a medal piece in there, which allows you to screw the thing into it (I assume you do not screw it directly into the ski each time). Any idea what the width of that piece is? I'm sorry for the vague description, I'm not sure of the hardware term for that. The closest I've come is sex bolts: http://www.boltdepot.com/Sex_bolts_and_Mating_screws.aspx?nv=l

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Altai ski crampons on 01/30/2012 19:33:09 MST Print View

Ross, I don't think ski crampons will work with those adaptor plates. I also don't think ski crampons will do what you want them to anyway. They're great when skinning stuff that transitions periodically from snowy (skins fine) to bullet ice (less than perfect skinning technique and you slide). If it's just icey, carrying your skis and using boot crampons is the way to go. I don't think they'd provide much resistance when descending, and might grab on hidden logs or sudden transitions in snow density in a rather dangerous fashion.

I think you have three choices:

-Try to ski the stuff anyway/get better at skiing (easily said, right?). Going to a 3 pin binding and plastic boot will help here.
-Shoulder the skis and walk.
-Make a braided "skin" out of cord which you could add under the ski. I know folks who have gone out skiing (usually slackcountry off the lift), gotten to the bottom of a run, realized they're forgotten their skins, and used accessory cord to make a reportedly decent substitute. (Better glide than strapping a branch under your ski, I suppose.)

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: re: Altai ski crampons on 01/30/2012 19:39:44 MST Print View

"Make a braided "skin" out of cord which you could add under the ski."

I've used that sort of thing on newbies when they got into terrain way over their heads and needed more traction in order to continue. However, I've never seen any experienced skier intentionally rig up that way.

--B.G.--

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: re: Altai ski crampons on 01/31/2012 09:21:58 MST Print View

I'm actually leaning that way right now. The truth is, I keep going back and forth on this. As I said, I don't want to damage the ski or the plate. Using a ski crampon would probably be OK, but I would probably have to pay for the crampon and the installation (depending on how difficult it is). I'm not much of a great craftsman, so I would be worried about damaging things if I did it myself. So, I'm not too excited to spend the money on that.

On the other hand, if I go with the rope technique, then I won't hurt the ski at all. Furthermore, I may find that I rarely need it. Plus, if things get really, really hairy, then I'll probably just take the skis off (which is what I do when using snowshoes). I think what I'll do is try a modified cord technique. Basically, I'll make a braided cord, with knots and a strap. That way, I can quickly attach it or detach it when on the mountain.

If I find that I end up carrying my skis a lot when ski crampons would have worked, then maybe I'll invest in those.

Thanks, everyone for your input.

Ed Tyanich
(runsmtns) - F - M
Rope Climbers on 01/31/2012 18:13:39 MST Print View

Ross,

If you make a set of rope climbers out of poly pro rope, (3/16" or 1/4" diameter) and have them criss cross under and over the ski, you will have a climber that will climb as well as ant full witdh skin and provide next to no glide. I used rope climbers a lot in the early 1980's and I believe Mountain Smith even sold them pre made.

To make your criss cross patterns, use hog rings. They will bind into the rope and won't hurt the ski base.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Rope Climbers on 01/31/2012 18:30:38 MST Print View

In 1980, I signed up for a six-day guided ski tour. The organization sent out a required gear list to the participants with a warning that the gear would be inspected prior to the start, and if anything significant was lacking, then the participant could be dropped from the trip. Hmmm. That sounded serious.

One item on the gear list was 25 feet of 3/8" poly rope. At the time, I couldn't figure out exactly what the value would be. However, I took the rope. I assumed that it might be for hasty climbing skin substitutes.

On the day before the tour started, the group met, and we asked the guides if there was going to be a gear inspection. The guides said No. Then we asked about the gear list, and the guides were completely unaware of the list. The gear list was something that the organization had supplied without checking with the actual guides. So, the guides asked us to see the gear list. As we all stood there pondering over the many items, I asked about the 25 feet of rope.

The head guide said that if we had really good climbing skins, then we didn't need to fool around with any rope. We were all trying to lighten our pack loads, so we all dumped our ropes.

--B.G.--