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Pulk design

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:53 am
by Hiatus
Ed - I think I've seen, in photos you've posted to Facebook, that you occasionally use a pulk to carry gear into the backcountry. Five people and I are going to the Eiseman hut four four nights end of January. The ski in is 7 miles +3000ft. Breaking trail through 12"+ snow is a possibility. I'm currently building a pulk for a hut trip and have a few questions for you.
  1. For you, what is the maximum weight you will take in a pulk?
  2. Are rudders necessary for the terrain here in Colorado?
  3. Have you skinned with a pulk? If so, how steep a grade have you gone up and how steep have you crossed?
  4. Can you give me any additional advice?
I will be testing the pulk in the next few weeks but I wanted to get some feedback from an experienced backcountry skier.


Tom Moritz

Re: Pulk design

Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:13 pm
by Igloo Ed
Yes, I use a pulk as much as possible and have skied a lot with them. My bones like them.
My load is around 40 lbs and on longer trips around 50 lbs. At 40 lbs or below, the sled doesn't pull on you to bad but at 50 lbs it isn't pleasant to take a break going up something steep. It's plenty doable though and after 50 lbs it starts getting pretty bad.
I've gone up about as steep as my ankle will allow without risers. The steeper it is, the more the pulk pulls on ya. But steep and 40 lbs. isn't to bad.
I used some 1" aluminum angle for fins and I like them. In some cases they could be taller but that'd be on hard snow like spring crust or hard wind drift plate. I fixed the fins on with small screws and acorn nuts inside so it didn't interfere with the load. Not removable but the 1" fins didn't drag much.
Traversing on steep depends on snow conditions. In a foot of powder, the pulk would probably slide off about the time you get to the 30 degree mark. The uphill side of the pulk generally rides in the track and the lower side rides up on the fluffy downhill snow. It ends up making a flat track in powder.
I looked a couple months ago and there is still info for download on I think it was a pdf. I didn't download it but did years ago and it has all their trials and tribulations in the file.
Model your pulk after their Paris pulk settup. The fin position, the poles crossed and harness to waist attachment. It's really the cat's meow when it's right. The Paris sled is tough enough to take the abuse. I used a cheap kids sled and it tore on the first trip even with the reinforcement method shown in
The Paris sled tracks nice and with the pole settup I've skied down through backcountry woods at pretty high speeds. The pulk changes how you ski a little but once learned it seems to add stability in skiing.
Also, for what you get, buy the one from skipulk.

Re: Pulk design

Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 8:29 am
by Hiatus
Thanks Ed. I really appreciate your guidance.

Re: Pulk design

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:50 pm
by Hiatus
Just got back from a four night stay at the Eiseman Hut outside of Vail. We took the longer more gentle Red Sandstone Creek route into the hut. 9 miles and 3000' elevation gain and we were pulling the pulk with our food. Estimated weight of cargo + sled was at 65#. You were right Ed, over 50# is a bear to pull up an incline, even a small one. I just thought I would post a follow-up in case anybody reads this forum post looking for similar guidance.