Silvretta 404 Classic Backcountry Skiing Alpine Touring Binding
Silvretta 404 ski touring binding was available in several lengths, adjustment for size range within those lengths was done by rotating a lever on the front of the unit where the boot heel rests. This disengaged two small catches that fit in the notches you can see in the photos above and below. On-the-fly length adjustment like this was a rare feature at the time, and a sought after feature for expedition use that involved sharing gear.
Interestingly, all modern models of Silvretta bindings use some sort of lateral release mechanism that’s built into the heel unit, though the Pure series does not require reassembly after release. View video of lateral release action.
As for the 404 toe, the ski touring boot is held by a simple wire to bail as in photos above and below (fits some mountaineering boots as well, use for “approach” skis for climbs). This bail moves up and down to adjust for different sole thicknesses, but all lateral (side) release is in the heel, as noted elsewhere herein. The small slotted screw visible in the black plastic of the toe area adjusts tension of the return spring, which is the pink spring to the front of the screw. Return springs are intended to give some resistance to the up and down hinging of the binding, so the user has some control of the ski. Such springs have since been found to be unnecessary but are still favored by some backcountry skiers, and bindings such as the Fritschi models still have them, thought they’re easy to remove and are thus frequently taken out.
Weight: 36.3oz, 1027 g (one binding, with screws)
These bindings were donated to the WildSnow collection by Jim Gilchrist, thanks