Check out this Black Diamond Tech Tip for tapering your climbing skins.
A steeper angle on your skin-tips can reduce problems in certain conditions.
To be completely honest, though I usually don’t have any problems with climbing skins, I’ve been hosed in the backcountry once or twice in regards to the curling on the tips of mohair climbing skins, which in turn allowed water to get on the glue, making them less sticky. (This trip was one of them.) Mind you, this has only been in the warmest and wettest skinning conditions possible. And when I say warm and wet, I mean mushy, isothermic snow, in addition to skinning through freestanding water. Since mohair skins typically have less rigidity to the backing material, sometimes they can curl (or peel) back and allow snow and/or water to creep under the skin, which inevitably can work its way backward and affect the stickiness of the glue. The benefits of lighter weight, better packability and increased glide of a mohair constructed climbing skin are too hard to pass up though and I have them for my Drift and Aspect skis.
This tech-tip deals with this skin issue by increasing angle at which you trim the tip of the skin…so it doesn’t have as much of an abrupt edge that can push into the snow and cause moisture to make its way onto the glue. Skiing through melt-water is avoidable…yes, but if you get out a lot in the late spring and early summer and took off your skis or went around every puddle of water/creek you encountered, you’d probably still be out there trying to get back to the trailhead.
In addition to the benefit of improved performance under warm and wet conditions, the skin-tip taper also makes your skins lighter and can be applied to BD Split Skins as well. The more rocker tip you have, the more weight you can save, which always helps when you are earning your own turns. Be sure to check out what BD has to say about this tech-tip, as there are a few methods and tricks that can help in the long run.
It’s conditions like in the picture below where you can get into trouble with skins sometimes…especially if you have low budget skins that might not be up to par. Earlier in the day on this multi-day trip, I broke through the snow in a section like this and submerged one leg all the way to above my boot, which completely soaked the liner and really was a bummer. Luckily, I was using beefier Ascension skins, which fended off any problems. I’m hoping this new skin tip taper will help with the mohair variety and I’m looking forward to testing it out. Skin to win!!!
Brian Ladd makes his way around Seneca Lake in the Wind River Range.
Thanks for this tip. I never know at what angle the skins should be cut.
I am about to buy new gecko skins. I tested tgem for 4 days and they seem to be really good. I do not know if they are durable enough, though. I hope to get more than one season out of them.
Do you recommend mohair for a pair of Drifts even if I don’t tend to treat my skins very well? I’ve never used them before.
stiehl…i’d go for the ascension STS skins…125mm.