Gear selection is a major priority for Mike and Matt Moniz as they prepare to leave for the most ambitious Himalayan expedition of 2014: The Triple 8. The father-and-son team will attempt back-to-back-to-back summits of three 8,000-meter peaks – Cho Oyu, Everest, and Lhotse – in less than 15 days. If they are successful, they will then attempt the first-ever ski descent of the Lhoste Couloir.
We were more than just a little curious about what they'd chosen for ski mountaineering Lhoste – information they'd been keeping private until now. The Moniz's told Men's Journal that their biggest concern for their ski rig is weight – they have to carry up everything they need to ski down – and dependability of bindings. "You don't want to lose a ski in the Lhoste Couloir when you're bombing down 3,000 feet of steeps that are only 20-feet wide in places," says Mike, the elder Moniz.
After significant research and discussion, the Moniz's partnered with Dynafit. "The company president, Benedikt Böhm, pulled off a record-setting ski acesent and descent of Manaslu [26,781 feet], so we knew they were for real," Mike says. For Lhoste, they'll be using Dynafit's Cho Oyu, a ski specifically designed for the Himalayas with a wide geometry to handle deep snow without increasing the weight. The Cho Oyu's weigh in at 1080 g, which is basically unheard of for a 174 mm ski.
Matt, who is 16-years-old, is most excited about using Dynafit's TLT 6 Mountain CL boot. "It's a super lightweight carbon fiber AT [alpine touring] boot," he says. "I don't even think I have enough time to tell you all the cool things about it."
But even with all the cutting-edge gear, the Moniz's will need to make some modifications to deal with the extreme weather of the high Himalayas. "At 8,000 meters, if your foot gets cold and you can't get it warm, you're either going to sacrifice your toes or the expedition," says Mike.
To reduce the risk of cold feet, the Moniz's are adding Intuition Liners to their Dynafit boots. The closed-cell EVA foam premium liners allow Mike and Matt to really dial in their boots' fit, which is critical not only for comfort, but also in avoiding the foot freeze that can result from poor circulation. They're also using boot heaters, a thin pad that connects to a lithium battery pack and provides about 12 hours of warmth – hopefully enough time to get up the Lhoste Couloir and successfully ski down.