re-purposing my Telemark skis for climbing approach


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Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 28, 2012 - 11:06pm PT
hey ski people, I want to turn my 170cm telemark skis into a backcountry approach ski. This would entail removing the current G3 binding and putting something like a Silvretta on it to accommodate my ice climbing boot.

I have two questions. One, is there any engineering issue taking off the current binding and putting another on the board? And two, is 170cm even a good length for approaching ice climbs and Sierra backcountry in winter? Should I just get a cheap-o short kids ski and put the Silvretta on it and keep my telemark skis as is?

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Nov 28, 2012 - 11:19pm PT
You should be fine. I did this a number of years ago with a pair of old tele skis. Be sure to plug or fill the old holes and you should have no problem. There is plenty of room to drill the new holes.

While shorter skis would be more convenient in many respects those whould work out just fine.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Nov 28, 2012 - 11:20pm PT
A ski is just a construct with potential. 170 cm's length doesn't matter if you like those skis.

Changing bindings and boots should only matter if the old holes in the ski compromise the location holes for screwing down your new bindings. Your ski tech is as important as a guitar's Luthier is.

Always approach a really good ski tech with booze when you need something unusual...
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 28, 2012 - 11:21pm PT
What ski?

I wouldn't think there would be any issues. If you ski 'em fine as tele's, they should be fine for ice climbing approaches.

I have a skinnier ski set up for ice approaches with a Silvretta 300. Light rig, and, they ski ok (well enough).

As long as you have some distance from the old tele binding holes, should be fine. Plug the old holes, drill the new ones, voila.

Edit to's what I've been liking for skiing approaches (and descents!):

Scarpa F1's in action...
Scarpa F1's in action...
Credit: Brian in SLC

For me, the ultimate approach set up would be dynafit bindings on a good, light ski, and a custom light plastic boot with the dynafit compatible do-hickies in the toe (doable with a dremel tool and some glue, I'd think).

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 9, 2012 - 08:48pm PT

what about a dirt-cheap kids ski paired with a Silvretta and used with a Spantik? I'm thinking this would be good for approaches in the Canadian Rockies, the Denali West Butt slog, and maybe winter in the Sierra (e.g. getting to the Palisade cirque by taking the short cut under Temple Crag)

the Silvretta would be the most expensive thing here (except for the boot, which I already have).

then I could keep my tele skis
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Dec 9, 2012 - 08:54pm PT
bear in mind that most tele boards are not designed to have mount holes drilled in the boot heel area. mounting a fixed heel binding might work but why wreck a good pair of tele boards experimenting?-junk alpine boards seem a better option

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Dec 9, 2012 - 09:03pm PT
Keep the teleskis and put some silvrettas on any old lightweight short $20 boards you can find.

Anything will work for approaches or west butt to 14'200 if have skins for em.

bigwall shitter

Social climber
the wild west
Dec 9, 2012 - 09:34pm PT
I have a old pair of 191 K2 piste stinx with 404's mounted on them. work great and have much more traction and floatation than those mini approach skis there're sellin' nowadays.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Dec 10, 2012 - 01:34pm PT
Pair of 170ish? Hart 90's era straight freestyle skies, new never mounted = Free. Army Surplus Ramer bindings $14.95 Bindings are solid once you replace crappy pins with bolts. Army got ripped off on that deal as they fall apart after about 30hrs of use and need rebuildning. easy fix if you catch it in time.
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