Back in 2011, I was in Valdez, AK just getting into backcountry skiing. I vividly remember my first tour there - big lines in all directions. My brother's splitboarding friend, Brian Totten, guided us to some beautiful couloirs. We skinned until it was too steep to skin any further and loaded the skis on the packs. This is where I got my first lesson in steep pow boot packing. Brian put on a pair of "Verts" these plastic plates that strapped on under his boots. They allowed him to set a boot pack through the thigh deep powder that we happily followed. Unfortunately this meant that only Brian could break trail and at this moment we realized that these "boot pack snow shoes" were an essential item for couloir terrain.
After that trip, I bought my brother a pair of Verts but soon after he heard about Ascent Plates and picked up a pair. While the Verts did the trick in powder, plastic teeth didn't offer much confidence in variable terrain. The Ascent Plates allowed for better purchase in firm snow and made use of crampons that held the plate to the bottom of the boot. A brilliant idea that added safety if you encountered firm snow or ice along your ascent.
During my next several trips to AK, the Ascent Plates were a critical part of my pack list and got me into some incredible terrain. Fast forward to winter of 2017 and while on the east coast, I found myself wondering why the hell I had left my Ascent Plates in AK. Whether I was wallowing in waist deep powder or ruining beautiful blank canvases by a million kick turns, I needed Ascent Plates more than ever.
This is why I'm excited to bring this Canadian company to the continental US by offering these plates in the store or for rentals during the powder week. They work flawlessly with the CAMP 390 XLC crampon and are the perfect addition to any skier or rider on the east coast looking to get into powder filled slides, chutes, or gullies. Any questions, let me know.