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Kingpin 13 AT Binding
Marker found the sweet spot with the Kingpin 13 AT Binding, which cribs plenty of reliable tech from classic two-pin bindings, takes cues traditional alpine blindings, and adds a whole mess of brand new to create a clamp that's lightweight and efficient on the climb as well as powerful and reliable on the down.
The toe uses spring-loaded pins to secure your boot, has a locking ski/walk switch, and sports adjustable boot stops for easy step-in. Six steel springs provide greater energy absorption and contact pressure than a four-spring setup, reducing unwanted release in ski mode and giving you a smoother ride. There's also an integrated crampon adapter for stress-free ascents up bulletproof snow or in no-fall zones.
Like an alpine binding, the Kingpin's heel features a step-in function, has a beefy anti-friction device, and rocks alpine-style brakes that lock up in walk mode. To further distinguish the Kingpin from traditional tech bindings, it's TUV-certified, meaning that it has real, measurable, and repeatable DIN settings, not just release values. The heel also pivots laterally to provide consistent release and retention, with plenty of vertical elasticity as well, so you have a powerful alpine connection instead of that rattly tech-binding feel.
To engage the walk mode, just flip the underfoot lever to slide the heel back and step down, locking the brakes in a raised position. That'll give you a free, flat heel, and the dual risers can be flipped down with a pole to give you 7 and 13 degrees of climbing comfort. Reverse the process to engage ski mode with the flick of a lever, and get excited to rip the biggest, baddest, most remote lines you can find.
- Reliable, powerful touring binding for hard-charging skiers
- DIN-certified for consistent release and retention
- Toe promotes direct connection to ski for smooth power transfer
- Adjustable positioning blocks in toe piece make stepping in easy
- Alpine-style heel ensures powerful connection for better control
- 3-position heel riser makes climbing comfortable and efficient
- One-switch ski-to-walk mode keeps transitions quick and easy
- Item #MRK003U
- Q & A
Great inbounds and outbounds
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I bought these bindings to go with some wider skis (105 waist) that I ski inbounds with. They perform pretty much like my downhill bindings and skis when I am inbounds, while still giving decent performance for ascending steep backcountry slopes using the ascenders. One nice feature is that you can get matching crampons, for when those skins just aren't quite keeping you moving forward. My only complaint is that I like to occasionally use my Dynafit bindings in Tele mode for when there is mixed up and down terrain. This is not recommended for the Kingpin for unspecified reasons. Locking and unlocking is a bit more work with these than with the Dynafits, so it is a little frustrating.
That said, it is less likely that I will do rolling terrain with this setup anyway, and they are great for what they do.