|Yep, snowshoeing in my PDGs, about as shameful as it gets!|
Boot maintenanceSo, first, the less exciting stuff. Boot maintenance is a necessary chore if you want to get the most out of these expensive suckers. Some boots seem to require less than others so this is a post specific to some long therm wear and tear issues Ive experienced with Dynafit PDGs. However, there may be some nuggets in it for owers of other boots and I will point out some differences in Scarpa Alien maintenance from my recent acquisition of a pair for my son which will be the topic of a future and hopefully quite interesting post!
First, while not an issue this year, I used a fair amount of shoe goo on my liners last year to reinforce wear points. That was covered in a previous post. The shoe goo has been holding up extremely well. So have the boot soles. Thank goodness!
This year I have noticed that my top buckle is increasingly loose. This is really just a result of its design. The fact that the buckle is on the side of the boot and sticks out so much means you occasionally hit it on something. Those hits start to loosen the two rivets that fasten the buckle to the cuff. This has resulted in one buckle being problematic to lock, sometimes not aligning with the hole in the back of the boot cuff. It finally got loose enough that I decided action was necessary.
|GENTLY tapping the rivets on the cuff buckle|
|Doing the same to the hinge rivet|
Don't have access to an anvil? Don't panic. While an anvil is helpful, a length of metal rod or a block of metal or one of any number of other things including a sledge hammer or pick could be used as the"anvil" and any hammer with a smooth striking surface and a little weight works just fine.
The key here is TAP GENTLY! You cant really break anything by going gentle and if you tap hard you could split rivets, over tighten etc which all leads to breakage. Put the part of the rivet that is hollow and kind of "rolls" out and over on a solid metal surface and gently tap the rivet head, the rounded "mushroom" part with your hammer.
I was amazed at how much snugger and responsive my buckles were after tightening all the rivets. There are three to tighten, the two holding the buckle to the cuff and the hinge rivet. This last is not as important IMHO but I noticed a difference by snugging it up.
Next, I took a metal file to the locking hole or whatever it is called on the back of the cuff to remove burs. I used a small mill file similar to what you may have on a leatherman. I just went around the hole giving a few swipes at a 45 degree angle. It seems like the locking part of the buckle creates burs around the hole by the natural closing process which rarely ever lines up perfectly. Over time, the inaccurate strikes create burs which cause the buckle locking component to stick.
|The locking hole which apparently should be debured from time to time|
Once I had made these adjustments my buckles locked and unlocked a lot smoother than they had been doing making me wonder why I had waited so long to do this!
I should note that on our newly acquired Aliens the throw/buckle that locks in the boot is attached with a small bolt and nylon locking nut. This would make it very easy to adjust with simple tools. The ankle pivot is a user adjustable nut unlike the PDG rivet. This throw is also so much more ergonomical than the PDG that I love it. The Boa of course has no rivets and wont come undone postholing in crust like PDGs (although it seems to losen over a day of use according to reviews Ive read). Add to that the sealed boot front and I think I see green boots on my own feet when my PDGs wear out!
Skimo boot as multi purpose boot?The other bit of boot stuff that has been on my mind is the range of uses to which a skimo boot could be put. I mentioned a few things that have got me thinking about it over the last few years earlier in this post. There is also the release of the Arc Teryx Procline which intentionally tries to combine skiing and climbing into one boot as TGR and Wildsnow have detailed.
|An intriguing boot - the Arc Teryx Procline|
|PDG as snowshoe boot.|
The PDG boot fits both my Cassin snow crampons and my Charlet M10s really well. No issues with the bails releasing which I have heard about from others. I think thinner bar stock on the toe bail is the key with such a narrow boot.
|Super nice crampon fit with my M10s|
The two down sides of this boot remain that that pesky side mounted cuff buckle gets snagged on stuff while wallowing around at the top of ice flows and of course the open front of the boot gets snow in it. I suppose I should just climb in my race suit to deal with the later- that would be a sight!
I now have some Aliens in the house and after looking at the toe and heel welts I am positive they would mount up crampons just as well as the PDGs. In fact, many of the SLC skimo folks ice climbing / skimo forays seem to be done in Aliens so 'nuff said. I should point out AGAIN that the closed front on the newer Aliens and the rear mounted cuff buckle/throw might make a lot more sense in a skimo boot that will be used for climbing. These same features are apparent on the Arc Teryx Procline and might well be the way most future skimo boots turn out. It just seems to make more sense.