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| | |-+  Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
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Author Topic: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road  (Read 4633 times)
fresh
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Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« on: 01/23/13, 10:34 AM »

Our January high pressure can be frustrating, but it opens up so many alpine options that it's hard to complain too much. When I saw the forecast for the long weekend it looked perfect to check something out up high. Last year was a ski off the Ingraham Glacier, so the next logical (?!) thing was to check out the other side of Mount Rainier. The plan came together midweek and we ended up with a group of four. We climbed up the Tahoma Glacier on the 19th and 20th and completed a ~12,250' ski descent from the summit to the winter closure on the Westside Road on the 21st. The plan worked out pretty smoothly though a binding failure at 12K derailed one of the skiers and had us exiting well after dark. But all in all, it was a fun adventure and a great excuse to get out above the clouds for three days!

Long version:
Day 1: Parked at the closure and began skinning up the Westside Road. Coverage was continuous but only a few inches in spots. After a few miles we exited onto Tahoma Creek and began skinning upstream. Creek crossing shenanigans ate up some time and a few of us resorted to fording with skins on. By late afternoon we crossed underneath the suspension bridge and turned uphill towards the Tahoma Glacier. Our camp a bit over 5000' was short of our goal but it would leave a manageable approach for the next day.

Day 2: Lazy start with the sun. We skinned up onto the glacier and skirted to the right of several icefalls. The glacier was generally well covered though many seracs were still visible. Lots of sun, but also cool and breezy. We stopped at mid-afternoon and filled up water bottles off a dripping serac. We then traversed left to a smooth ramp in the center of the glacier and ascended to 10K where we put our camp. Alpenglow on the Tahoma Glacier and Sunset Amphitheater was spectacular. Rapidly cooling temps sent folks to the bags quickly, with a 3am alarm not far off.

Day 3: We put on crampons, dropped down to the left flank of the glacier, and then ascended past crevasses and ice debris to the Sickle. It was in good climbing shape with minimal cracks and a mix of shallow windpack and styrofoam. We passed through the constriction at first light and ascended up and left into the bowl below Liberty Cap Saddle. The wind was whipping across the west side of the mountain. I slowly paced myself up to the crater rim, trying to warm my hands occasionally. At the summit the wind was really nuking! Beautiful views from Jefferson to Baker, and an interesting perspective to see the inversion fog piled across Puget Sound. But with the cold temps and wind we only stayed for a few pictures and then hurried down. Three of us skied off the rim finding... well, pretty terrible snow. The trick was to find the sastrugi which skied okay compared to the globby ice. Below Liberty saddle we found some fun pockets of smooth windblown powder. The Sickle involved an exciting traverse above some ice, but then fun turns on windpacked mounds of snow. (Kinda reminded me of Spanky's late on a powder day but before it turns to full moguls.)

And then, disaster happened. One of the group fell and ripped the toe piece clean off his ski. We all stared in disbelief trying to process what this was going to mean for us, approx 9K feet and 10 miles above the car. The car was no longer several hours away - we'd be lucky to get out before midnight. However, everybody started to pitch in and we found ways to keep moving downhill. The owner walked back to camp and then we started improvising. First solution was to strap the toe down and ski down sort of on one ski (so as not to slice the strap). This worked for about four thousand feet. Reasonably good conditions through this section, lots of windpacked carveable snow. Then the owner of the ski booted (and post-holed...) down to the creek where we strapped down just the toe (thank you Voile!) which allowed him to skin and slide the rest of the way out. In the end we were out by 10pm and back to Seattle a bit after midnight, only a little worse for the wear Smiley


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dberdinka
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #1 on: 01/23/13, 12:08 PM »

Nice trip.   I just read a TR on Wildsnow that involved a dynafit binding ripping out the inserts on  a Stoke ski above the Fuhrer Finger this last week.   What kind of gear suffered the ripout on your trip?
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fresh
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #2 on: 01/23/13, 12:13 PM »

Nice trip.   I just read a TR on Wildsnow that involved a dynafit binding ripping out the inserts on  a Stoke ski above the Fuhrer Finger this last week.   What kind of gear suffered the ripout on your trip?

Dynafit Mustagh Ata. All four toe inserts ripped out simultaneously and completely. Sounds like more than just a coincidence. To be fair, it looks like they are covering it under warranty, but I guess it would make me leery of trusting inserts on big trips like this in the future.
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dberdinka
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #3 on: 01/23/13, 12:35 PM »

That's what he said.

Too bad Dynafit has had so many design/production issues in the last couple years.
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gotwins
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #4 on: 01/23/13, 01:16 PM »

Just to chime in on the toe rip.  I did the same on a pair of dynafit manaslu's that had inserts.  Luckily I was about 5 minutes from the TH.
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spionin
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #5 on: 01/23/13, 01:17 PM »

badass trip, you guys!
good job z-man for persevering through the mishap, and the rest of the troop being good partners.  congrats on your summit+descent!
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bfree32
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #6 on: 01/23/13, 02:08 PM »

Awesome trip, that looks beautiful.

I remember Amar had a similar incident a couple years ago and salvaged the trip with Voile straps:
http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=21086.0
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savegondor
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #7 on: 01/23/13, 02:22 PM »

Could you mark an approximation of your route on my map?  http://goo.gl/maps/ZPJbg
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Andrew Carey
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #8 on: 01/23/13, 03:28 PM »

That's what he said.

Too bad Dynafit has had so many design/production issues in the last couple years.

So many design/production issues?  Didn't you just buy a couple of pair of Dynafit bindings and TLT5P boots? Wink

The insert failures are truly worrisome; it is fortunate they have not led to a tragedy.  There have been a lot failures and there has been a lot of discussion about why, including on Wildsnow.com.  Dynafit seems to blame improper amateur installation (evidently good ski shops are far more available in Yurp than here; in the USA many aficionados of Yurpean products that require skilled technicians like BMW motorcycles and Dynafit skis & boots [I have both BMW and Dynafit products] think one is being foolish to hand over a high tech product to a tech of unknown skill and that one is much better off doing it oneself, carefully).  Examples of Wildsnow discussions:

(1) One should drill out the bottom of the insert to make sure glue isn't blocking a full insert of the binding screw.  I haven't done this and have routinely had one or more screws not wanting to seat all they way; I used a soldering iron to heat the screw and get a good seat.  I have well over 100 days on my Manaslus without trouble and I am a big guy (225 lbs), but I am not a hard charger.  No problems yet with my Stokes, but I've only skied them a few times.  The Stoke is a "Freeride" ski supposedly made for hard chargers and it is widish in the waist (105 mm) which means a lot of pressure on the  screws on steep, hard snow--not an excuse for failure but certainly a caution in its use.  Locking the toe out means the binding can  not protect the ski from excessive torque around the binding screws.  Yes, locking the ski out is common in risky situations.

(2) One should ream out (or lightly round file) the screw holes in the binding plate so that the screw doesn't act like a jack, raising the plate up and prompting the installer to use a little elbow grease to get it to draw down flush.  I use a clamp as well.  Only limited force should be applied in the screwing in the screws; it is reportedly easy to use too much force.  Using extreme care with initial screw seating is important to eliminate the need for a lot of force later.  A good binding glue seems to act well as a lubricant also.

(3) A good binding glue should be use to prevent moisture from seeping in.  Many recommend marine epoxy.  I've used a couple of types of epoxy and Roo glue.  I don't know what is best but I do know one needs to take into account ski construction materials in choice of glue.

(4) Years ago, Steve Barnett told me he routinely used ShoeGoo under his 3 pin bindings to get a stronger mount and to keep ice from forming under them.  In the future, I am going to using ShoeGoo or something like it around the circumferential edges of the bindings to add strength to the mount and to keep water/ice out.

In any case, FWIW, I think there have been too many cases of insert failures, some, but that not all, are due to poor quality control/mfg problems*; some are due to faulty installation, and some are due to operator error/accidents.  There have been numerous reports of people pulling Dynafit binding out of skis without inserts (it seems there was a recent report on Comforts and Chargers here on TAY) and failures of bc bindings in general (practically every type and make). My light weight skis and bindings are no where near as burly as my Alpine skis with two sheets of metal and Look or Marker bindings (where the toe can't be locked out). 

I have 5 pairs of skis with Dynafit bindings and 3 Dynafit skis with inserts, but I am most worried about my Stokes, because there seems to be too many reports of insert failures on them.  And it seems Dynafit has recognized there is a problem and, if I understand correctly, is no longer using the inserts.  But they, to my knowledge, haven't done a recall or made an offer for ski swaps.

*I modified this to production from design because people have made a compelling case for Dynafit inserts actually reducing tendency/increasing resistance to binding pull out assuming the inserts were properly incorporated into the ski and the bindings were properly attached to the inserts.  It would be great to see a comparison of resistance to pull out between Dynafit inserts (everything proper) vs Dynafit bindings without inserts.  It is undeniable that most any tour binding can be pulled out of a ski.  But if proper manufacture or proper binding installation is difficult (or has a low probability of success) the question is moot.
« Last Edit: 01/24/13, 03:46 PM by Andrew Carey » Logged

... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
CascadeClimber
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #9 on: 01/24/13, 12:55 PM »

Well done on a route rarely climbed in the winter, folks. I looked at the West Side road on our way out on Saturday and was surprised not to see any cars- I must have overlooked yours.

On the Dynafit ski issue- I know of at least one other person on this site who also had a Dynafit binding rip out of a Dynafit ski in the last year. I'll let him speak for himself if he so chooses, but it does seem to me that their ability to build bomb-proof bindings hasn't translated to their skis. I believe I'll very happily stick with my Movement Logics for now Smiley
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Pete A
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #10 on: 01/24/13, 01:55 PM »

nice job fellas... i'm really surprised the Tahoma was filled in so well this early into the winter. 

regarding dynafit - they don't exactly have a perfect record when it comes to bindings either.... their Dynafit TriStep binding toe pieces were crap....they quickly discontinued making them but never offered up a recall or exchange, I still have a pair of them sitting in my basement.     
Hearing about more and more of these insert failures doesn't exactly make me feel confident skiing my Manaslus in high-consequence conditions.
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Andrew Carey
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #11 on: 01/24/13, 03:37 PM »

...t.     
Hearing about more and more of these insert failures doesn't exactly make me feel confident skiing my Manaslus in high-consequence conditions.

Lou Dawson just posted on Wildsnow his advice against using them in high consequence conditions.  Anyhow I think the question is moot except for those of us that have a few pair of skis with inserts--makes for some anxiety, which makes for some hesitant skiing, which makes for pulling some bindings out LOL
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... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
Andrew Carey
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #12 on: 01/24/13, 03:39 PM »

Awesome trip, that looks beautiful.

I remember Amar had a similar incident a couple years ago and salvaged the trip with Voile straps:
http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=21086.0

But Amar's appeared to be K2 Mt Baker Superlights/Waybacks without inserts ....
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... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
owbe
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #13 on: 01/24/13, 05:02 PM »

same thing happened to me this past weekend as well, on the wilson glacier, on voile chargers.  clean rip right out of the ski. no inserts. 
could Dynafit screws serve to be a tad more aggressive?
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jwplotz
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #14 on: 01/24/13, 08:01 PM »

Hearing about more and more of these insert failures doesn't exactly make me feel confident skiing my Manaslus in high-consequence conditions.

I ski the Manaslu's.  I find when I ski in high consequence situations, my turns are calculated and I make a concerted effort to always stay centered, and have never had a binding rip out even in non release mode.  I've had a couple Dynafit Vertical bindings rip out, but always on more low angled terrain when I'm not concentrating as much and skiing more off balance.
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Z-Man
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #15 on: 01/24/13, 08:24 PM »

Much thanks to Fresh and the rest of our crew for pooling our resources and helping me get out on what was left of my setup. 

The shop where I got my setup is helping me with reclaiming some new skis and bindings from Dynafit.  I'm not sure what to expect, or demand, from them, but am pretty worried about having to rely on them in the future.  The shop suggested I sell the whole rig and get some new stuff... 
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zwinters
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Re: Jan 19-21, Mt Rainier, Tahoma Gl summit to road
« Reply #16 on: 01/25/13, 05:44 PM »

Way to deal with a challenging situation in a pretty efficient way. I was with the Wildsnow group that had the Dynafit Stoke rip-out on the Fuhrer Finger. Once on more moderate terrain below the Fuhrer Finger, we were able to screw the toe piece into another set of inserts (that hadn't yet been used). A couple thousand vert later, these new inserts ripped out as well. (Granted, the remount was a bit hasty, and there may have been some debris in the threads.) Check out Louie's writeup on wildsnow.com for a good discussion of when Dynafit inserts just can't be trusted.
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