(News Flash – Friday PM: Lincoln Creek Road off Independence Pass Road in Colorado is now open, providing access to the Grizzly Peak area of the Sawatch Mountains. Bob Perlmutter just got back from an awsome day on Grizzly, and reports what sounds like a first descent of the west face down to Lincoln Creek road, as well as a classic ski of the line to skier’s right of the main chute. He said the snow was in good shape and the road is indeed open. Forest Service is saying the road is closed and will open mid-June. (What do you believe, Bob’s skis or some ‘crat on the phone?)
We covered summer ski maintenance and storage a few days ago, what about everything else you put away after the snow melts? For today’s Friday gear tips, I’ll revisit some of the excellent comments we got a few days ago and add what comes to mind. More tips are welcome, so leave a comment if you like.
I’ve found that adjustable ski poles can almost always use a kindly touch before storage. Flicklocks may have water in the lower shaft, so take them apart and dump. Also, now may be the time to readjust your flicklock tension with a bit of Loctite on the adjustment screw so it stays adjusted. It’s especially important to maintain twist-lock style adjustables — luckily doing so is simple. Just loosen the twist mechanism, pull the shafts out, and inspect the expansion screw for corrosion. If necessary clean with a fine wire brush, spin the expansion plug to make sure it rotates freely, and reassemble if the parts are dry. Don’t lubricate, as getting even a touch of lube on the expansion plug may cause it to fail.
Climbing skins need love too. If your glue is shot send out for a re-glue — we’ve had good results with Skinny Skis in Jackson, Wyoming. Are your skin edges shedding hair like a Samoyed in springtime? If so, give ’em a quick burn with a Bic. Rather than leaving your skins stuck to themselves, store for the summer using a release substrate such as comes with Black Diamond skins, and keep them in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Don’t store in a plastic bag (the plastic may stick to the glue, and stale air could cause mildew), instead use a breathable nylon stuffsack, or just hang them from a nail in your closet.
Ski boots don’t usually require much in the way of storage prep, but a good flush with fresh water can’t hurt — for both shells and liners. Buckle before stashing, as some plastic has a good memory. A dash of anti-odor foot powder will keep your shoes sweet for that most excellent day when they come off the shelf for another season.
Remove batteries from all electronics you won’t be using: beacons, two-way radios, GPS, etcetera. Looking for more projects? Find the instruction sheets for your radio, camera, GPS and altimeter watch, and make a miniaturized copies to keep in your emergency/repair kit.
Do your favorite shell pants have a nice patina of taco sauce and sunscreen? All synthetic clothing performs better if it’s clean, so get the correct cleaning products (we’ve had good results with Revivex), and follow the instructions exactly.
Give your avy probe some TLC as well — make sure the internals are dry and inspect for damage.
One of my goals for summer this year is to get a few gear mods and truck tweaks done before scrambling in the fall. For example, we’re still fans of ski crampons that don’t lift when you walk. Problem is, such crampons usually require extra fittings on the ski and I’ve fallen behind in keeping our planks so equipped. Thus, a good excuse for some workshop therapy (we just got a box of B&D Ski Gear goodies, more on that later). Likewise, our trailhead approach vehicle (TAV) can always be improved. On the WildSnow automotive schedule for this summer are better electrical hookups for boot dryers, and rear axle traction bars to aid with snow busting in the fall. Perhaps I’ll even get around to replacing the windshield wipers.
Any other ideas folks?
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.