Buck Corrigan ACMG, AMGA, UIAGM
(Editor’s note: As of 2014 this method of retrofitting boots for ‘tech’ binding compatibility is unnecessary, as you can purchase all manner of “sole blocks” that come with tech fittings, which could be retrofitted to any boot after appropriate modifications. More, the variety of tech fitting equipped boots is now phenomenal — a boot can be acquired that suites nearly any purpose. Thus, we publish the below for historical reference.)
I heard from some clients here in Revelstoke that there has been interest in retrofitting the Dynafit binding fittings to the Scarpa Denali randonnee boot.
I did this to my Denalis a few years ago, and until a summer/ski mountaineering trip (lots of scree and gravel on the approach to the glaciers) they held up well.
I practiced on a pair of Technicas with my Dremel tool just to see how it could be done. The Technicas are a different type of shell material, not as rubbery as the Denalis. But experimenting gave me an idea of what I was in for.
The Dynafit plate (salvaged from a trashed pair of boots), is extremely hard, no thought of drilling it, but it already has holes in it to aid in holding it to the boot during the molding process. I used some stubby Salomon screws, cut them even shorter so they wouldn’t protrude through the boot sole and just screwed them into the boot. I routed a slot on the underside of the sole rubber to accommodate the head of the screw and glued them back on with contact cement. The re-gluing of the sole is the tricky part. I’ve had to re-glue a couple of times and recently changed to a system where the screw goes right into the vibram, through the plate (via the existing plate holes) and then into the boot. An old tried and true method from the sixties!
The system has worked fine for me. Getting the plates aligned square to the toe is a bit tricky, but it’s possible to get the plate in place, then put the boot on the binding and ski to be sure everything is aligned properly. After that, mark it well, then epoxy and screw the plate and boot back together.
I’ll most likely buy a pair of the new Garmont boots with the Dynafit-capable sole in the future, and we may see more manufacturers bringing out Dynafit system boots, but for now, I’ve got my Denalis with Dynafit fittings — a pair of boots I really like!