Black Diamond Factor Buckle Replacement

This lengthy and epic season has taken it’s toll not only on my bank account, but on my equipment.  Somewhere along the Lincoln’s Throat ascent I managed to tear a buckle clean out of my boot, rivets and all.  I can only speculate, but I imagine I must have post-holed next to a big rock with the buckle dangling open.  Moral of the story: buckle your stinkin’ buckles when climbing!  Anyhow, Black Diamond was good enough to cover it under warranty and drop a replacement kit in the mail free of charge.  The replacement was straight forward, if not a pain in the neck.  Here’s how it unfolded…

The Patient

First you need to yank out the liner (obviously).  The less obvious step is that you may need to fish out the remains of the rivets.  In my case, they had worked their way down toward the toe of the boot.  In order to find them I had to pull out the boot board and shake the boot upside down for a bit.

Replacement parts

Now for the replacing.  The kit consists of a new buckle, two screws and two nuts.  On the surface this is easy: you just screw it in using the two pilot holes.  The task is made difficult by the fact that the boot cuff overlaps the boot lower portion by and inch or two.  The pilot holes fall in this overlap area and are behind the boot lower shell.  This is the tricky part.

Finding the pilot holes…

Getting the nuts into position requires that you pull the cuff wide open from the front.  You must then, gingerly place the nuts into the pilot holes.  I found it easiest to hold the boot so that the missing buckle is facing the floor.  This way the nuts stay put (sort of) while you get things lined up.  In order to be able to apply enough pressure to the screw driver to actually drive the screws, you need some way of keeping the nuts in place.  Once the nuts were lined up, I fished a small square of duct tape in between the lower shell and the cuff so that the nuts are held steady.  Once this was accomplished I set the two screws into the pilot holes and tightened them so that they would hold the nuts in place.  With the nuts held in place I replaced the liner, to stiffen the boot and add some resistance.  Now, you can easily back out the screws and place the new buckle over the pilot holes without loosing the nuts between the shells.  Just tighten it down with a #2 Philips and you’re off and running.

Screws used to hold
the nuts in place
Finished.  Notice the screws rather than rivets.
Gear List (clik links for more product info):

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