Saturday, November 19, 2011

Alpine Touring Binding Comparison Chart


Oh the places you will go.
If you're thinking of buying a pair of backcountry bindings, then let me make your search a little easier.  I've put together a handy chart of the most popular alpine touring bindings for your viewing pleasure.  Whether you're hucking 20 foot cliffs or rando racing, there's a binding designed specifically for you.

Listed from the heaviest to lightest, I've included prices that I found as a reference point, although you can usually find a better deal.


Manufacturer
Model
Style
Weight/lbs
DIN
Cost
Special
MFD
Alltime
Adapter
2.64+
n/a
$300+
mount with alpine binding
Marker
Duke
Traditional
5.73
6-16
$450

Naxo/Dynastar
Early Tram
Traditional
5.50
5-13
$595

Marker
Baron
Traditional
5.40
4-13
$380

Black Diamond
Fritschi/Diamir Freeride Pro
Traditional
4.50
4-12
$500

Black Diamond
Frit/Diamir Eagle 12
Traditional
4.44
4-12
$440

Marker
Tour F12
Traditional
4.22
4-12
$430

Silvretta
Pure Freeride
Traditional
4.06
4-12
$410

Marker
Tour F10
Traditional
3.98
3-10
$400

Silvretta
500
Traditional
3.50
4-10
$350
mountaineering boots
G3
Onyx
Tech
3.22
6-12
$500

G3
Ruby (W)
Tech
3.22
5-10
$500

Dynafit
TLT Radical FT 110/Z12
Tech
2.64
5-12
$560
Flex lock
Dynafit
TLT Vertical FT 110
Tech
2.34
6-12
$460
Tension bridge
Dynafit
Radical ST 100
Tech
2.34
4-10
$490

Dynafit
TLT Vertical ST 92
Tech
2.29
5-10
$350

Dynafit
TLT Speed Radical
Tech
1.50
4-10
$400

Plum
Guide
Tech
1.48
5.5-12
$700

Dynafit
TLT Speed Superlight
Tech
0.82
5-10
$600

La Sportiva
RT Tech Binding
Tech
0.78
5-10
$750

Dynafit
Low Tech Race
Tech
0.51
n/a
$800


The G3 Onyx-es...es.
If you're interested in knowing how much flex the various alpine touring bindings allow, Lou Dawson has done the research and provided this handy table.

My binding of choice has been the G3 Onyx.  I've been skiing on them for the last two years for a couple of reasons.  Although heavier than the Dynafit offerings, the Onyx allows you to change from downhill to touring mode without having to come out of your bindings.  In addition, the Onyx mounting plates allow you to affix the bindings to multiple pairs of skis with the purchase of additional plates (about $70).

MFD Alltime:
Designed using an Erector Set
If you like the idea of being able to switch one binding between skis you could also use Quiver Killers.  These screw inserts are designed so that you can remove the screws that attach your bindings to the ski and transfer the binding to other skis.  They would also allow you to remove the bindings while in transit, making them less bulky.  Binding Freedom makes a similar product, the Dynaduke, that uses a plate and is compatible with Dynafits and Marker Dukes or Barons (as the name implies).

If you just can't live without your alpine bindings, there's some good news for you.  The MFD Alltime, lets you tour by attaching some alpine bindings to a movable metal plate.  That's right, I said "some".  So be sure to check the list of compatibles before shelling out your hard earned cash.  

The Silvretta 500 LSV has the distinction of being the only binding on the list that is compatible with mountaineering boots.  If your boot will take a rigid crampon, it will work with this binding, although the "flexier" the boot, the more likely you will have premature releases.  And no that is not a veiled sexual reference.  I've mounted a pair of these to my Karhu XCD GT skis and have used them for long distance tours to places like the North Tripyramid Slide.

RT Tech: Painful without boots.
There's also a new kid on the block this year: The La Sportiva RT Tech Binding.  This binding joins the "Tech" revolution along with the Onyx and Dynafit bindings.  While Tech bindings are light, they require that you have the correct style of boot.  So if you were wondering why you're boots had those little silver sockets, I'm here to tell you that they weren't just for styling- those are for tech bindings. 

If you like being a guinea pig, Salomon has also announced that they are jumping into the backcountry binding business with the Guardian 16.  Although announced, it hasn't been released so I haven't listed it on the chart.

With all the choices out there, there is a design that fits almost anybody's needs.  So stop making excuses, get yourself a set of backcountry bindings, and get off the groomers this winter.

I mean, seriously, if telemarkers can do it, how hard can it really be?

2 comments:

  1. You need to free the heel on the downhill also! Then you can talk to the telemarkers... :)

    Seriously though, nice post.

    http://offonadventure.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. fellow tree fairy, i salute you.

    ReplyDelete