When we get out on the mountain, we may encounter different types of snow and terrain where we’ll need to progress safely to prevent accidents. Following the evolution of the weather and avalanche risk forecasts the previous days, as well as the snow conditions, will help us choosing our ascents and descents efficiently and safely, and deciding what gear to include in our equipment. All this will enable us to prevent the possible difficulties we may encounter.
Our progression on a splitboard might be affected, or even compromised when we find ourselves on hard or icy snow, where our edges or blades will not perform properly. The right use of crampons and ice axes will allow us to progress safely.
This information should in no case replace specific training courses. From Splitboard Magazine, we encourage you to learn these and other techniques under the supervision of qualified guides and instructors.
Pau Gómez, UIAGM guide at Dablam Esports in Tavascan, describes the techniques which will help us minimizing risks on the mountain.
The type of crampons we shall use will depend on the boot, but strap crampons are most commonly used due to their compatibility with standard snowboard boots. The increasingly used Vibram sole alpinism boots with a heel counter, and hard boot systems enable the use of semi automatic and automatic crampons; the latter are way more efficient when progressing on complex terrain.
- When we fall, a splitboard doesn’t come off our feet; this could be a problem when it comes to applying some of these standard techniques used on ski touring.
- The use of soft boots and snowboard bindings, and other factors, such as waist width, hinder the transmission on the effective edge, reducing contact points while traversing or kick turning, a problem that increases considerably when the snow is hard or icy.
- The incorrect placement of the skins could worsen this situation. We should leave some space for the splitboard edge to work properly, gripping the snow.