Just one major worry about potential durability: That clever combination upper cuff buckle and walk-ski switch. The thing sure does seem vulnerable to damage, given its exposure when tromping around while off your skis, as well as the stresses it must withstand on each skin-to-ski transition.
Break a walk-ski switch or an upper cuff buckle on a typical ski touring boot and you can still ski fine, more or less. But do that on the TLT5 and you’re now trying to ski in tour mode with 60 degrees of nearly resistance-free range of motion.
Considering the above, I assembled a simple repair kit in case of catastrophic failure of the buckle/switch: A large screw rivet to lock together the upper cuff parts, just like the nib on the cuff buckle does (combine with power strap or ski strap to tighten cuff). Screwing your boot cuff together is not exactly the choice for rando race transitions, but should work fine for returning to civilization and the nearest workbench. (Note that in a worst case event you could duct tape the buckle so it held you in downhill mode, then duct tape or strap the cuff tight, thus accomplishing a limp-home repair without having spare parts.)
But repair options can always be improved. On a recent overnight trip to Katahdin, Jerimy broke one of the two rivets that secure the TLT 5 buckle to the shell. He was able to ski out just fine with only a single rivet holding the buckle in place, but this obviously was not a sustainable situation. On a longer trip we would have had to abort.
Figuring a repair kit specific to TLT 5 upper buckle would be a good thing to carry, Jerimy did some careful measurements and website scrutinizing, then ordered the followed parts from McMaster:
90596A005 Plain Steel Round-Base Weld Nut, 4-40 Thread Size, 3/8″ Base Diameter, 1/8″ Barrel Height
91785A092 18-8 Stainless Steel Truss Head Slotted Machine Screw, 4-40 Thread, 1/4″ Length
96659A101 18-8 Stainless Steel Type A SAE Flat Washer, No. 4 Screw Size, 5/16″ OD, .02″-.04″ Thick
Total cost including shipping (NJ > MA, UPS Ground) was $16.44 — for packs of 100, the minimum size, so share some with your touring partners. (They’re all on the TLT5, right, unless they’re such good friends that you’re willing to wait up for them?)
(WildSnow guest blogger Jonathan Shefftz lives with his wife and daughter in Western Massachusetts, where he is a member of the Northfield Mountain and Thunderbolt / Mt Greylock ski patrols. Formerly an NCAA alpine race coach, he has broken free from his prior dependence on mechanized ascension to become far more enamored of self-propelled forms of skiing. He is an AIARE-qualified instructor, NSP avalanche instructor, and contributor to the American Avalanche Association’s The Avalanche Review. When he is not searching out elusive freshies in Southern New England or promoting the NE Rando Race Series, he works as a financial economics consultant.)