On a more positive note, my extensive historical collection of Randonnée bindings has reached a mature stage of completion. Count is at 28 bindings and growing.

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Avalanche Accidents


Post by WildSnow.com blogger | January 7, 2005      

A couple of recent avalanche accidents have brought home the point that IF you get caught, you have a good chance of death or serious injury — despite gadgets such as locator beacons, probes, etc. More, an alarming analysis shows that most backcountry avalanche accidents occur when danger is obvious — and the people should know better because they are "experts."

Having succumbed to this syndrome myself, I’m on a tear to help new backcountry skiers I know (including family members) not to make the same mistakes. Only I don’t know how to go about it.

Fact is, most backcountry skiing and snowboarding entry-level avalanche education is based on the concept that self-rescue is what’s going to save you. Courses teach a smidgeon of decision making, but it’s rarely (if ever) conservative enough — and all to often based on snow pit voodoo. We might need a whole new paradigm of avalanche education. Stay tuned.

On a more positive note, my extensive historical collection of Randonnée bindings has reached a mature stage of completion. Count is at 28 bindings and growing. Recent acquisitions are the Salewa plate binding, and an original early 1960s plate/cable hybrid binder that came all the way from France thanks to Nut Story. The collection will be displayed at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in a few weeks, in the Couloir Magazine booth.

I’m in the midst of creating a virtual randonee binding museum here at wildsnow.com. If you know of any early randonnee AT alpine touring bindings that could be available, please let us know. We need the early adapter system that made a touring binding out of a Gertsch or Besser plate binding, and we need any early Eisers.

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  Your Comments

  • Mark Worley: Take it to ISPO! Guaranteed conversation starter....
  • Mark Worley: Stunning views. I have to agree with Lou; many trails in such places are n...
  • Andy Carey: Probably will get lost here with all the comments--a little off topic. The...
  • Dan Powers: Nice!...
  • Pablo: As always Lou, Thanks! As you say, there are a lot well formed engineers...
  • Lisa: Beautiful! I'm always impressed how you and your crew get after it....
  • Lou Dawson 2: Pablo and all, I keep making changes and additions to this post -- and it's...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Phil, unless you are quite demanding on your boots, my take is the Dream...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Pablo, there is no exact number. The more flexible the ski and the longe...
  • Phil: Hi Lee, Looking to replace liners in my Garmont Radium. Hesitating between...
  • Pablo: and what about the opposite to heel gap? How many mm do you consider as th...
  • joost frakking: OK thanks a lot. I will wait with modifications until after the first snow...
  • Lou Dawson 2: This looks so wonderful, nice to see a multi-use trail in that type of loca...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Hi Mat, I truly appreciate you dropping back by with your report! Glad to h...
  • Scott Allen: As close to making turns in the alpine as it gets..in summer..love that las...
  • Mat: Hi Lou, I got my boot back from dynafit here is what they did: -they cha...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Where did you measure the pins from? From the bump on the binding housing, ...
  • joost frakking: Thanks for the suggestions! I seem to have found the cause. My pins on the...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Getting serious here in the workshop, I measured some pins. On a classic TL...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Pablo, yes indeed. Lou...
  • Pablo: There is another interesting way to give the pins room: Replace the heel f...
  • Jeff Watson: On September 18th 1979 i spent my 18th birthday on that mountain in Colorad...
  • See: I’m just thinking that maybe Joost is not measuring right. Does “right” exi...
  • Lou Dawson 2: The word "wrong" does not exist. Lou...
  • See: Note: I've never had a pair of Dynfit boots, so what do I know?...
  • See: It seems to me that if the pins on a pair of Dynafit bindings appear too lo...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Joost, set the heel gap at what works, then try stomping in. The bigger gap...
  • joost frakking: Hi Lou, just had a pair of superlite's 2.0 mounted with a dynafit plate ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Thanks Ptor, really appreciate the help. To make this "museum" useful for m...
  • ptor: Emery Energy came onto the market in 1996/97 as best I can remember....

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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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Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. While the authors and editors of the information on this website make every effort to present useful information about ski mountaineering, due to human error the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use. ...

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