Classic Ski Touring Binding — Emery Altitude Generation 1 — 1970s


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | August 8, 2016      

I was supposed to be working more this summer on getting most of our binding collection digitized. I’m such a slacker, just got started. Autumn entertainment.

Emery Altitude, late 1970s, included a Look Nevada turntable heel as state-of-art as any ski binding of the time.

Emery Altitude in touring-walking mode, late 1970s, included a Look Nevada turntable heel as state-of-art as any ski binding of the time. (Shown with modern touring boot.)

The first popular Emery Altitude ski touring binding, originating from France and sold in the mid to late 1970s, was one of the most well conceived bindings of the time. Comprising a fully functional alpine heel and toe mounted on a plate with a walking pivot and heel latch-down, the concept was simple and effective. You could mount a modern toe unit on this rig in 2016 and, aside from the weight, have a backcountry skiing binding as functional as nearly any other of the present.

This blog post exists for comments specific to this binding, see the complete Emery Altitude museum display here, and complete museum index is here.

(Note, we conjecture a few Emery ski touring bindings of a more developmental nature were farmed out prior to this, if anyone knows, please leave comments. We’d also like to narrow down the years this binding was retailed, so information about that and the history of Emery as a company is appreciated as well. We do note that the Emery company made snowboard bindings for a while, and was acquired by Rossignol in 1999, but that’s all we know.)

Comments

8 Responses to “Classic Ski Touring Binding — Emery Altitude Generation 1 — 1970s”

  1. onyourleft August 8th, 2016 11:57 pm

    Lou:

    My old Petzl 8008 (circa 1986?) sure appears to have received it’s DNA from the Emery Altitude. It had a Look heel mated to a Salomon toe. Hinged plate appears to be similar too.

  2. Lou Dawson 2 August 9th, 2016 7:42 am

    I’d say that’s pretty likely. There were not that many binding engineers working on that stuff in the 1970s and 1980s, and both binding systems were originating in France.

    I don’t recall an 8008 though I do have a version of 8007 with what is clearly a Salomon toe with a heel unit that appears to be some version of a Look. Sounds like I need to find an 8008 for the collection!

    Thanks for mentioning dates. It’s quite hard to date this stuff as it’s not as well documented as alpine ski gear.

  3. Rick August 9th, 2016 12:32 pm

    My time on the Emery’s was OK. IMO the only glaring weak spot ( besides being a tick heavy ) was the clip on *milk jug* material AFD which had a propensity to just up and disappear …

    😉

  4. See August 9th, 2016 8:02 pm

    That’s a good looking design. I’d probably ski it with a heel elevator before I’d ski a lot of today’s bindings, assuming the toe piece worked. And I’ve often wished for a return spring, even though the lack of it is mostly a minor irritation.

  5. ptor August 10th, 2016 6:48 am

    Had many great years on the Emerys and despite my own modifications and skiing gingerly, they brought me down many sweet descents. We used to put Look racing heelpieces on them but that never fixed the problem of too much flex in the plastic plate connecting the heel to the toe which allowed for too much upward deflection (and therefore pre-release) of the toepiece when in the back seat. Some stiffer carbon or appropriate metal would fix that. Still the way forward for future design beyond the imminent uprising of the ‘transformer’ bindings. Too bad the current owners have shelved it.

  6. Royce August 10th, 2016 9:43 am

    Lou,
    Can’t find a good place to post this, but it is gear related so maybe not a total thread hijack. I’m really digging the new BD Helio series. Would you go with the 88mm or 95mm for couloir chasing and more technical mountaineering descents in the Sierras? I don’t want really want to go wider to keep it quicker handling even though the 105 looks super awesome. It will be my primary touring ski as well, but when it’s deep I’ll tele.
    Thanks

  7. Lou Dawson 2 August 10th, 2016 9:56 am

    Hi Royce, that’s a good question. We have plenty of Helio content where you could post that .

    https://www.wildsnow.com/backcountry-skiing-search/?cx=partner-pub-8093284038752434%3Ayxtlw7-4zut&cof=FORID%3A11&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=helio&sa=Search

    Thanks, Lou

  8. onyourleft August 11th, 2016 1:10 am

    Lou, If my foggy memory serves, the Petzl 8008 was a Salomon 404 mated to a Look Nevada. They were very beefy downhill performers.

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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