Arc’teryx Procline Boots — Mods for AT Hardboot Splitboarding


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | February 15, 2017      
Modifying the Arcteryx Procline boots for AT Splitboarding – pros and cons.

Modifying Arc’teryx Procline boots for AT Splitboarding – pros and cons.

When Arc’teryx released Procline, their lightweight AT ski boot, last year, I was immediately curious how they would work as an AT splitboard boot. The 1 kilo weight class, the relatively soft flex of the boot, and the split-cuff technology all jumped out to me as key features that could be utilized for snowboarding.

Hardboot splitboarding (or AT splitboarding as some are referring to it as) is not new to the backcountry splitboard scene, but it is definitely a niche that is rapidly growing. Let’s look at the Procline boots and their potential for “hardbooting.”

Joey Vosburgh, an Arc’teryx athlete and Canadian splitboard guide posted a short article about his modifications here. We decided to approach the mods a little differently for a number of reasons. One of which was ease of replacement parts in the event of gear failure. Another of which is that the rear cuff spoiler we modified could easily be OEM or aftermarket manufactured in a snowboard compatible configuration for swapping to the Procline, while a reconfigured main cuff would be much more expensive and difficult to swap.

The main goal of the modification is to tap into the split-cuff feature of the boot, and to increase the forward flex of the boot in ski mode to more closely mimic a traditional soft snowboard boot for the descent. Of course, modifications for AT splitboarding are based on personal preference, it’s thus hard to gauge what other riders would be looking for in a hard boot system, but this might guide you along a bit.

I think it’s important to make a disclaimer here and state that this was an experiment, and I know that there are improvements that could be made on this process. The biggest hurdle we encountered was achieving an adequate and secure fit between the Procline and the Phantom binding toe bail.

The Procline ski mountaineering boot has a narrow toe box profile, and a shallow toe welt. This is great at keeping the boot low profile, but the connection of the Phantom toe bail to the Procline toe welt is marginal in my opinion. In order to maximize the security of this critical connection point the nylon height adjustment threaded stud on the plastic lever must be extended to keep it in the right position. This is a fine balance between increasing the lever angle too much, which exposes it to catching on something (ie; rope, bush, etc) and releasing, and ensuring a secure fit to the boot. We decided to fabricate our own nylon screws to meet this need, as the original screws are too short to remain secure and provide the right angle.

Home-made nylon screws that thread into the Phantom toe-bail. We threaded a couple of nylon spacers from the hardware store to match the pitch and thread width of the original screws.

Home-made nylon screws that thread into the Phantom toe-bail. We threaded a couple of nylon spacers from the hardware store to match the threading of the original screws.

Nylon spacers, a drill, and a grinder go a long way.

Nylon spacers, a drill, and a grinder go a long way. Modder tip, if you don’t have a lathe for turning down the diameter of a stud or bolt, chuck it into a drill and rotate while you pare it down with a disk grinder.

In addition to fabricating a nylon screw to maximize the toe bail connection, I also shaved down a small (I mean almost unnoticeable) amount of boot around the toe welt to try and create additional purchase. This procedure is hard to fully recommend, as the plastic of the shell is already so thin. Another option (which I’ll try next) is to add material, such as 2 screws, below the toe welt to provide a more secure ledge for the Phantom toe lever.

Ski-mode modification

A dremel tool was used to expand the plastic backer part of the cuff.

A dremel tool was used to expand the plastic backer part of the cuff.

The next thing we did was to modify the ski mode. There are seemingly two approaches here: either modify (e.g. chop) the carbon nobs that are part of the cuff, or widen the plastic backer that snaps into place in ski mode. We opted to modify the plastic backer for a couple of reasons. One of which; this piece is actually replaceable in case of failure at any point (including failure of our tool handling!).

We took a dremel tool and slowly took off material around the holes, careful not to gouge either of the rivets that hold the cable. The final result provided adequate forward lean, combined with the natural flex of the boot.

The end result.

The end result.

So what’s the consensus? After a couple days of touring, these boots are unreal for the up – there’s no doubt about that, with a great amount of cuff rotation and overall comfort. The low profile of the boot makes it feel agile on the skin track, and would definitely excel in ridge scrambling or more technical terrain. The ride mode is great, and it rides better than my TLT6 in terms of natural flex, and comfort.

It really is amazing how little of a difference I notice between modified AT boots and softboots for the descent, and the Procline’s were a noticeable improvement to my TLT6’s. I’ll need more time testing to gauge overall durability of the mods, and I will need to do something about the binding toe bail attachment to give myself total confidence in any sort of committing terrain.

With more tweaking, this might prove to be the choice boot for AT splitboarding.

Shop for Arc’teryx boots here.

See our Procline review.

Comments

9 Responses to “Arc’teryx Procline Boots — Mods for AT Hardboot Splitboarding”

  1. VtVolk February 15th, 2017 11:06 am

    I was very interested when the Procline was released, then bummed when I read about the bad toe lip/binding interface. This seems like great progress! Thanks for the writeup, and also to Lou for allowing more splitboard content on the THE backcountry skiing and splitboarding blog 🙂

    Have you tried them with Spark Dyno DH bindings instead of Phantoms? I wonder if they do any better with the beefier bail and throw of the Dyno. I’m pretty sure the Dynos use metal set screws also, instead of nylon like the Phantoms.

  2. summitbri February 15th, 2017 11:18 am

    I’m also very interested in the interface to the Dyno DH bindings if anyone has any feedback. Thanks for the great write-up here!

  3. ansi512 February 16th, 2017 4:01 am

    I am riding the procline with spark binding, though it needs modification of the lever. I will do a write up of the modification soon (sorry, will be in german, but pictures tell more than 1000 words…). Just as a teaser: grab a rasp! In case of failure, you can get a spare toe lever from http://store.bomberonline.com/Toe-Bail-with-Clip_p_55.html but ask in the comment section for the wider spark version.

  4. Rob February 16th, 2017 10:54 am

    Seems like you could mod the binding to have a different leaver for attachment. Maybe a crampon bail attachment on the rear of the boot instead of the front?

  5. Wookie1974 February 17th, 2017 8:30 am

    Hey you guys – I’ve been looking for a project for a while. My wife is a hardbooter, and she needs the mod, but I also want to just dig into something like this.
    I have access to 5 axis CNC machines, waterjet, vaccum molding….pretty much the works. I’m located in Munich but routinely work on projects that are international.
    If either of you would like to bring me in (ansi or Johnathan) – I’d love to get involved.

    Right now I’m working on a 3D Printed Ski Boot!

  6. See February 17th, 2017 9:02 am

    What’s the advantage to the the minimal toe welt? Crampon and binding incompatibility are obvious disadvantages.

  7. Lou Dawson 2 February 17th, 2017 9:09 am

    Just, minimalism… and a bit better rock climbing performance. Lou

  8. Lou Dawson 2 February 17th, 2017 9:11 am

    Ha, funny thing Wookie, I was just handling a printed ski boot at Atomic. Not functional for skiing, but pretty cool. You think you can print one up that will ski? Lou

  9. ansi512 February 17th, 2017 9:55 am

    Hey Wookie, all it would need is a sharper toe leaver… Have a look at the link posted above what it should look in general. And here (https://www.dropbox.com/s/sdgc1ywtspbv645/Hebel.jpg?dl=0), how it should come together. With my rasp’s work I achieve around 2-3mm overlap with the toe welt.

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