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12-23-2010, 07:19 PM #1
Purcells - Golden, BC area sketchiness (Trees don't always mean safe)
Just a friendly reminder to everyone that it can still slide in the trees. We were riding in the kicking horse backcountry and made the mistake of dropping in on a line that we couldnt see all the way to the end (we had scoped it the prior year from the bottom but our memories failed us - or our attention to detail). We made the right decisions on our entry and initial line. We skied the shoulder of a ridge with trees. The fall line sucked us into the avalanche path so we needed to continue to traverse right after a dozen turns or so. We reached and opening that was treed but less dense. We came upon what apeared to be a size 1.5 that likely released the day before naturally despite the trees. The slide was on the early November raincrust. We had no choice at this point other than to drop into the old slide. There was no hangfire so really no risk. I was amazed by the crust. It was about 15cms above the ground and as firm as a groomer. The aspect was NE just below treeline. Upon further investigation the slight opening was unsupported As it sat above a small five foot cliff. We must have missed this feature the prior year because the snowpack was substantially deeper late season. The scariest part was that this slide had ripped out the chute adjacent to it and would have caused an extremely deep burial. Had it not have released naturally, we likely would have skied it and the consequences would have been significant.
1. Excersize caution prior to committing to line. Know the terrain and keep in mind the worst case scenario. If it does go, what are the consequences....terrains traps, cliffs, raking through trees, multiple start zones etc.
2. You need to keep your guard up in trees. If there is enough room to ski, there is enough space to slide.
3. Rockies - purcells. The November 6th raincrust is alive and lurking. Conservative choices are still in order for this range.
Stay safe folks.....
12-23-2010, 10:25 PM #2
Was at KH yesterday and it was very windy. Enough to have wind effect in the trees. Made a point of staying out from open areas in the timber just outside the rope. Thanks very much for posting this.
12-23-2010, 11:18 PM #3
No worries man....btw, thanks for reminding me. Anything somewhat open with a north facing aspect was pretty wind loaded from what I saw.
12-24-2010, 07:33 PM #4
Where exactly was the slab that cut out if you don't mind sharing the info from where you were.....?
12-25-2010, 06:32 PM #5
Rudi's ridge has many changing aspects off the nose that channel a skier one way or another, so do the next few ridges. think cross load! the noses need a ski cut program.Hell, it only took me one gondola ride at KH to know I'd never spend five minutes in the backcountry with Shadam. = Eldo ...