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Author Topic: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski  (Read 7316 times)
Pete A
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June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« on: 07/01/13, 05:31 AM »

Ross and I skied the Emmons yesterday.   Wind above 13,000ft kept the snow quite firm even in the afternoon and made for generally unpleasant and cautious turns, but once below that, the skiing was quite good, albeit a little mushy from the middle of the corridor down to Camp Schurman. 

Left camp Sunday morning around 6:15, topped out sometime around 12:30-1pm.  Didn't stay long on the summit as the winds were howling on the crater rim.

Had some serious doubts about skiing the top 1500vf of the Emmons after witnessing a rather awful crash on our way up....the first skier of the day coming down around 13,000-13,500ft was skiing surprisingly fast given the conditions...(edit- removed my original speculation about the cause...see below for the info about the skier's dual binding rip-out) ...they windmilled around, blew out of both skis...the skis appeared to slide into a crevasse below.  After a bit of tumbling, the skier came to rest and it appeared they were unhurt and started getting their crampons/axe out.   

I think we managed to avoid the worst of the upper pitch when skiing down by traversing towards the upper Winthrop and traversing back over to the climbing route somewhere around 13,500ft. 

The route only had 3-4 significant crevasse crossings at this time...one at around 13,000ft had a narrow enough snowbridge, that we took off our skis and walked across on belay.  The corridor does have quite a few small slots beginning to open up. 

pics here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/113589492689912715272/MtRainierClimbSkiEmmonsRoute
« Last Edit: 07/10/13, 02:41 PM by Pete A » Logged
Marcus
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #1 on: 07/01/13, 07:46 AM »

Yikes - glad the skier was okay.  Nice work on getting the monkey off your back for a little while! 
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r1de
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #2 on: 07/01/13, 07:51 AM »

Great pics, great TR.  Sounds like an awesome trip, glad it went well!
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-bp
Lowell_Skoog
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #3 on: 07/01/13, 08:04 AM »

....the first skier of the day coming down around 13,000-13,500ft was skiing surprisingly fast given the conditions...

But that's how they do it in the movies!

 Sad

Sorry. Hot button.

Great report Pete.
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Zap
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #4 on: 07/01/13, 08:24 AM »

Great to see you and Ross saw the tumble rather then experiencing.  Wink
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Kyle Miller
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #5 on: 07/01/13, 11:57 AM »

It was awesome seeing you guys up there.

Must admit I had a blast hanging out on the warm rocks and being the unofficial waterboy of camp Sherman.
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In a perfect world, everybody would act with the correct etiquette and follow the rules. Human nature as it is= NOT GOING TO HAPPEN....no matter how many discussion on ski blogs/websites. Face reality............
Pete A
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #6 on: 07/01/13, 12:22 PM »

good to see you too Kyle. nice of you to be the waterboy for your crew up there. 
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Conrad
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #7 on: 07/03/13, 01:59 PM »

Skier who took a tumble was on my rope for the ascent.  The fall happened when both of his Dynafit toe bindings ripped out - ten screws!   The pincers were still locked on his boots as the skis went flying into the crevasse.  Shocking to think his knees are stronger than 10 screws.  I'll try to dig up a photo of the toe pieces.  Has anyone else ever ripped out Dynafit binding?  Huh

It was a scary one to watch especially since it was a friend and someone I consider to be a very strong skier.

Other than that freak accident, it was a great trip and beautiful day on the Emmons.
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BJH
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #8 on: 07/03/13, 02:34 PM »

I've ripped out Dynafit toes before, as have many others (there's a thread on TGR that recounts a number of incidents similar to your friend's, with some degree of technical discussion I believe).  When I blew out my binding (not both, just one), I too watched as the ski shot off downhill, leaving me with the toe still locked to my boot, screws dangling.  Scary stuff for sure.  What year/model bindings?  What skis?  Quality of wood in the skis was probably more to blame for my gear failure than an issue with the screws/mount.  Powerful turns on hard-pack with wide skis just puts so much torsional force on the binding/ski.  It's the ski that can't hang under the pressure, especially with Dynafit's narrower front plates..
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mikerolfs
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #9 on: 07/04/13, 10:38 AM »

The pincers were still locked on his boots as the skis went flying into the crevasse. 

ugh.  Scary.
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JBird
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #10 on: 07/09/13, 12:34 PM »


Conrad pointed me to this TR and since people seemed interested to know what went wrong, I thought I'd share my experience. Sorry to hijack your TR, Pete (great pictures from the day by the way), with another dynafit toepiece discussion. Here are some photos of the toe pieces and my observations of what happened.

•Bindings were Dynafit Vertical FT 12 with 60+ days on them. DIN set to about 10 or 11. The binding screws do have some rust so there could have been some rot or moisture in the ski cores or it could have been from the bindings being mounted on my previous skis.
•Skis were Dynastar Cham 107 high mountains with around 20 days on them, about 4 months old. Definitely a pretty fat ski given the conditions that day.
•I was skiing with the toes locked up as I usually do unless it's low angle, trees, or heavy snow where I'd prefer my bindings to release in a fall.
•I was comfortable with skiing the conditions (even though it wasn't the most pleasant) and was feeling better as we descended out of the sastrugi type stuff at the top and onto smoother more consistent crust where I could link turns together. I don't believe I was skiing carelessly and I've skied the Winthrop from the summit before in similar if not worse conditions.
•As I did a skidding turn to the right, I felt my left ski release and saw the ski go shooting down below me.
•Once I started falling, my other ski came off and ripped the toe piece out of that one as well. I'm not surprised that one ripped out during tomahawking considering how firm it was.
•Both toe pieces were still attached to my toes when I stopped. The screws were all attached and fully inserted so it was not a matter of the screws loosening up and backing out.
• Self arrested with a Whippet. This was definitely a full force test of the whippet for self arrest and it bit into and held in firm conditions on a high speed slide. I started sliding on my back and by the time I flipped over and dug in the whippet I had already picked up quite a bit of speed. With the binding toepieces on my boots, I wasn't able to kick in my toes very well and the whippet provided pretty much all the stopping power for arresting.

Conclusions:  I don't believe it was a binding failure or a mounting error, but a combination of conditions that pushed the gear past what it was designed for. With the firm snow conditions and that fat of a ski, it would have been putting a lot of torque on the screws that are in a very tight pattern on the toe. It's possible that ski core deterioration could have also played a role but the skis were fairly new. The newer Dynafit Radicals have a wider bolt pattern that should be able to transfer more torque to a fat ski and fix this issue. Has anyone heard much of bindings rip out on the new generation dynafit radicals? 


* IMG_37133713.JPG (29.04 KB, 320x240 - viewed 542 times.)

* IMG_37123712.JPG (19.3 KB, 240x320 - viewed 534 times.)
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Pete A
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #11 on: 07/09/13, 01:19 PM »

Very interesting getting all the info from what happened… thanks for posting.   

First off… I’m very glad you’re okay- when that happened, I thought we were about to witness a serious crevasse fall accident…. thank god for whippets.

I hope that no one took my report as insinuating that I thought you were skiing out of control…as I mentioned in my original TR, I was just surprised to see anyone skiing at that speed above a crevasse, but obviously everyone has their own comfort level.   And I felt it was worth mentioning as speed can certainly compound the impact of any kind of spill, whether it is equipment failure in the case or skier error.

Almost makes one think about some kind of alternative leash set-up that is looped through the heel piece so that a toe failure doesn’t result in runaway ski. 
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skykilo
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #12 on: 07/10/13, 10:28 AM »

Gear failure is scary.  Glad you're all right.
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ron j
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Re: June 29-30, Mt.Rainier, Emmons climb/ski
« Reply #13 on: 07/10/13, 01:03 PM »

Wow. Yeah. Scary. Glad you came out of it unscathed.

...Conclusions:  I don't believe it was a binding failure or a mounting error, but a combination of conditions that pushed the gear past what it was designed for.

Just for my reference regarding my own future binder mounts, I'd be very interested in knowing what, if anything, went into the screw holes in the way of sealant/glue/epoxy during the final assembly of the mount of these bindings.

JBird, Any info you might on that topic would be appreciated.

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