Burning Pow

| February 19, 2012

After a bunch of unmounting, binding shuffling, a few misdrilled holes (damn) and some gear swapping, I finally had a chance to take out my lightweight setup last Saturday. I could still shave a few ounces, or maybe even a pound, out of it, but the skis, boots, bindings and skins are currently weighing in at 12.5 lbs all told. The basic setup:

  • Scarpa Alien boots
  • Dynafit TLT Vertical bindings
  • 167cm K2 Backlite skis
  • K2 skins

I need to swap out the “heavy” Vertical bindings for a pair of titanium TLT’s I have, which will drop quite a bit of footweight off the system.  The Backlites are great for all around skiing (not a full-on race ski by any means) and are kind of a Wayback Lite. A cool thing about having a lightweight setup is that I can tour with an ABS Powder Line 5 airbag pack and not take a big weight penalty.

What started out as a safety skin track hugging a ridgeline turned into a steep-for-steeps-sake thigh burner of a skin track. It was good fun and a pity that the new snow (?) covered it up so others couldn't enjoy it as well.

How often do you get to do a layback in the middle of a ski tour?

For a race boot, the Scarpa Aliens did amazingly well in mixed, steep terrain.

Clouds to the left of me, rocks to the right, here I am, stuck on a ridge with you.

Court was sporting full speed gear as well, including some bitchin' Dynafit tops and bottoms that had some incredibly well thought out details.

Help support StraightChuter.com and go light and safe(r) with a ABS AvalancheRescue Devices Powder Line 5 Backpack  ON SALE NOW from Backcountry.com. Click on the photo below…

Category: current conditions

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (5)

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  1. Jason says:

    Great, I guess we’ll see you this Thursday for the Citizen’s Series race at Brighton!

  2. Smokey says:

    I’m curious, what do you think is your average/good day of ski touring in the Wasatch in terms of distance and vertical?

    Do you think this average is now the low end of your range with this lighter setup?


  3. Shane says:


    What was your approach to the Pfeifferhorn that day based on our poor snow/high avalanche danger currently in the Wasatch? I can’t tell from your pictures what ridge that is on the second/third pictures you skinned up. As always, love your informative insights!



  4. Andrew says:

    Hi Shane – My approach to the Pfieffernhorn has to do with being intimately familiar with the terrain as I have been up there 20+ times in a variety of conditions. The actual summit itself has a defined ridgeline that allows you to climb mostly on rock the entire way up. The approach to Red Pine Lake and up to tree line has a variety of sheltered, low angle options. From tree line to the ridge there is a scoured subtle ridgeline, which if you can stick right on it, keeps your exposure down. Once this is over, there is a rock arete that can be climbed almost to the ridgeline. This brings you into the upper elevations and because of this, the gap between the end of the rock and the ridge is often blown off, as was the case on that day.

    We also took two nibbler runs in the area before hand to get a feel for conditions, as well as breaking trail to get a feel for the snowpack. Along the way we stomped cornices, dug hand pits and ski cut test slopes.

  5. Shane says:

    Thanks Andrew! I appreciate it. One of these days we’ll run into you on the mountain.


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