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

  • Christian: Doh! Never mind, wasn't reading the descriptions of the different cuts clea...
  • Christian: Any experiences on straight skin all the way down on wider skis? eg a 110mm...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Seems what folks need to know is that if you do not need heel flat on ski, ...
  • Lee Lau: Alex - the downside to using the Expert spring is that you can't easily wha...
  • Matus: VTskier, what is considered wider ski? I ski on 107mm skis and have my Raid...
  • VTskier: Just picked up a set in Val d'Isere. Locals in climbing/guide shop there (M...
  • Matus: IONs are OK but not light enough....
  • Lou Dawson 2: Regarding helmets, while I was skiing uphill today and thinking (imagine th...
  • Jack: Jim, See. Thanks for the advice. The G3 IONs appeal to me (they look coo...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Xer, I guess I did need to do a video (smile). The spring controls both sid...
  • XXX_er: a generic question on minimalist tech bindings, how is the up and down ret...
  • Daniel: I have the legacy Mammut RAS Pro 45 pack, very nice long back. I am 6'2 but...
  • Brent MacGregor: I have 2 European bottles. One steel, one carbon. I am happy to sell them a...
  • Alex: So if you are using the expert spring on this, to rotate the heal piece for...
  • Greg Louie: Thanks for the look, Lou, and hats off to Amer for taking the "Everything Y...
  • Matus: Lou, video is always easier for us to understand. Step by step photos of di...
  • Lou Dawson 2: See, I have some older Vipecs I can do a take-apart of, been meaning to, bu...
  • See: Interesting post, Lou. Thanks. Now if you could only break some Vipecs…...
  • Matus: I am switching from ATK to this Atomic next season. It looks like and ideal...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Eric, the plastic housing on the rear of the spring is strong, and doesn't ...
  • Eric Steig: Cool. What keeps the plastic housing, which holds the U-spring, from blo...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Shafty, not sure what you are referring to, you mean using screw rivets to ...
  • shafty85: Would this work on the Dynafit Mercury?...
  • Brent MacGregor: I have a carbon cylinder and a steel one both of which we brought from Euro...
  • See: And, as Lou said, alpine bindings aren’t perfect either. Tech toe lock is i...
  • See: I have a couple dozen days on G3 Ion 12’s, and I have a feeling that they a...
  • Jim Milstein: Jack, if you want a tech toe that behaves more like an alpine toe, consider...
  • Tom Gos: Cool Lou, and gutsy - I would be freaked out about doing this to a new pair...
  • AT: Hey lou- I'm somewhat confused by this post. Are the Fischer bindings just ...
  • Lou Dawson 2: Nice! And yeah, for exchange you can mail them empty totally legal, but yo...

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