Gertsch Alpine Frame Binding with Touring Adapter 1971-1975

This ingenious ski touring adaptation of an alpine binding has no equal in the history of AT ski touring bindings. Gertsch was a well known Swiss plate binding in the 1970s, and their piston/spring release mechanism design is still in use for release telemark bindings. With the addition of a bracket and pivot, the binding converted to a touring rig. Whoever thought this up deserves an award.

Complete Gertsch binding with adapter installed shown above. Binding is in tour mode.

Complete Gertsch binding with adapter installed shown above. Binding is in tour mode.

Above binding is shown without touring adapter, in downhill alpine mode.

Above binding is shown without touring adapter, in downhill alpine mode.

Lateral (side) safety release is accomplished by the front of the plate sliding to the side off the spring loaded piston. Vertical release is a function of the rear of the plate pulling up from a tapered slot as the piston in the front compresses. I once used this binding in alpine mode, and found that having no independent adjustments for side and vertical release made it difficult to adjust the binding to a safe release tension yet avoid accidental release.

Adapter is installed by sliding the tongue through a tunnel under the binding toe unit.

Adapter is installed by sliding the tongue through a tunnel under the binding toe unit.

The adapter appears vulnerable to sliding back out during uphill skinning, so one assumes it had some sort of catch that prevented this.

Binding shown above with adapter installed.

Binding shown above with adapter installed.

Once the boot is latched in it holds everything together. One downside of this binding is that it locates your foot some distance back from the pivot while in touring mode, resulting in an unnatural stride. Check out our video for clarification of how the whole thing works.

According to some accounts, Fritschi ski touring bindings originated from the Gertsch (though we are not clear during which date range this occurred). The story is that Gertsch jobbed out their parts manufacturing to a Swiss company, Fritschi, that made precision drawing tables. This prompted Fritschi to enter the ski binding business themselves using ideas they’d developed while producing the Gertsch. Examination of Fritschi’s first binding, the FT88 (circa 1982), reveals many similarities between it and the earlier Gertsch, thus this story is likely fact. (source: Alpenglow.org ). As for the name, it is said to come from the binding’s designer Rudi Gertsch.

Weight (one binding with screws and adapter): 28.5 oz, 806 gr

Weight (one binding with screws, without adapter): 21.5 oz, 608 gr

Weight of touring adapter: 7 oz, 198 gr

Thanks goes to Tony Thompson for donating these bindings to the museum.

Gertsch thumbnail.

Gertsch thumbnail.

  Your Comments

  • Wintersmith: Anyone know if the TLT-7 problem with the Vipec Black also exists on the ol...
  • jbo: @Matti - Are you touring with the yellow buckle closed? If not there will ...
  • Allan: The Zero G's have an alloy binding retention plate. The core is Paulownia....
  • Truax: @andy Gonna say that Michael pretty much covered it to a T. I also sk...
  • andy: @Michael. Thank you. I thought that might be the answer based on other post...
  • See: Mounted the 108’s today, and there’s definitely some metal underfoot aside ...
  • Allan: I spend more time on my 171 Voile Charger BC's 110 UF with Telemark Tech bi...
  • See: https://www.wildsnow.com/10025/carbon-megawatt-review-2014/ Say what you...
  • Ray: Avalanche condition are dicey in the Backcountry of South eastern British C...
  • VT skier: Kristian, I meant ATK Raider 12s !!...
  • VT skier: Thanks Kristian, I will probably buy the ATX 12 2.0 bindings now with that...
  • Robert V. Coppolillo: My dirty little secret? LaSportiva Hi5--108mm underfoot, surfy shovel, hamm...
  • Lou2: See, my weakness is for that light feeling on the feet, you all know that. ...
  • See: Actually, I think I may know the answer— in the interest of science. Thanks...
  • Kristian: I confess that I still am not sure what types of skis are best for challeng...
  • See: So Lou, I’m guessing you have one of the best quivers of touring skis on th...
  • Michael: I thought the Helio was a bit grabby in the tail compared to the Zero G. I...
  • Lou2: Ok, thanks Jana, we tracked that when we were in Utah for OR show, but then...
  • Jana Novakova: Just trying to reach out to the community to help out Bob. Thanks! http...
  • Dan: Thanks for the reassurance Jim, that is exactly what I did. Most of the r...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Errrr, not quite there Robert. I will admit, everyone he is admitting... to...
  • Robert V. Coppolillo: Ultimate truth, indeed, is that almost any ski is a frickin' blast in deep ...
  • Klaus: I've just bought some G3 momix skins for Movement shifts and do not like th...
  • Jim Milstein: Dan, just whittle the slots in your boot soles so the pins fit in. That's w...
  • Dan: Hi Lou, A Vipec 12 cautionary note. I just had a new pair of Vipec 12 b...
  • Ernstig: I really like the design of the power strap on the proclines. Would like to...
  • Noah: About a year late Lou and Jksprint, but they're out there... https://you...
  • See: Yeah, after years of using mostly 115+ skis for powder I've been thinking a...
  • andy: Truax and Michael: Awesome beta! Thank you! Curious: What didn't you like a...
  • Matti: Have been now touring for 6 days with these including 1/2 day testing at re...

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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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