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  1. #101
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    I purchased a Blackjack in the Mystery Ranch group buy. I typically ski everything from heavily treed runs in the Tahoe Basin to more exposed, alpine terrain in the Eastern Sierra. In some cases, I feel the airbag will be advantegous, and in other cases depending on facts and circumstances (e.g. start zone into trees), perhaps not. But who am I to really have the foresight on that?

    As far as reliance on safety gear or pushing me to make more aggressive decisisions, I would say issue exists with any piece of gear above and beyond just avy gear. New rockered skis that making skiing steep, exposed lines easier... - same concept in my mind. It is more of how one deal's with that inherent mind-battle - namely, staying regimented on a process of information gathering pre-touring, during the tour and post-tour (e.g., discussions with partners at the end of the day to see what else we could have discussed). Then taking that information and running it through a decision making process. The fact that I am wearing a beacon, have compentent partners or have an airbag on should not impact my process. Will it? I hope not as I strive hard to remain systematic in a decisionary process, although this is difficult when combating (i) human nature and (i) an environment that is (A) ever changing, (B) has mutiple known and unknown information points, (C) has a risk of the unknown that I find people have difficulty assessing and (D) is, above all, a dynamic environment.

    Am I happy to purchase one - yes. Is it another tool - yes. Should it impact decision making - no. Will it - I will strive my best to work towards no.

    That is just my two cents.

  2. #102
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    Is it possible a heavy duty inflatable life vest could work ?
    If someone can't afford the real deal would this work as second best to nothing at all ?
    COLORADO ULLR .. MAKE IT HAPPEN !

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Snowballs View Post
    Is it possible a heavy duty inflatable life vest could work ?
    If someone can't afford the real deal would this work as second best to nothing at all ?
    That seems like something the people that say "I don't have an avy probe but I have this awesome tent pole" might try.

    Life vests have much less volume than the avy airbags.
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

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  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfotex View Post
    (btw, those trees would have pummeled you like baseball bats).
    which is why i made the decision to stay put and get taken down the wide open slope. i had told my partner how i was gonna ski the slope and gave strict directions to follow, one of which was to stay put till i stopped and either, a. waved him down from a safe spot, or b. told him to continue to stay put or don't ski at all if i found the slope to be suspect. we had just skied a line right next to the one that bit me, and that slope was very uniformly well consolidated and stable. lot's of variability going on up there that day. my 1st few turns in were fully supportive edgeable styro snow. i was taking it very slowly when all of a sudden i dropped into a very soft slab situation. i immediately knew i was potentially in trouble. when shooting cracks shot out in both directions i immediately pulled out of the gully feature of the snowfield up onto a bench of sorts. i didn't go further left (which would have maybe allowed me to outrun the thing to the side as i woul've been out of my partners sight and above a breakover into a forested area and if the fracture had propogated further to the left, which it did, i'da been minced meat in the trees, and my partner woulda had no clue of where i ended up due to line of sight issues.

    so, lot's of thoughts went through my mind while i watched the whole ridgeline coming down on top of me. my 1st thought was, "oh shit", second was to stay calm, take a deep breath. third was to keep airway clear and try to take the ride on my belly and not get flipped around so would know which way was up. i must tell you it was wild under there, but in a way peaceful too. i definitely didn't want to die, so i fought hard to get on top. swimming did work.

    why did that situation not make me wanna go right out and buy more safety gear? well because i would rather learn from my mistake and avoid that situation all together. it's better imo to approach everything as if you had no safety gear at all. all of the time. i went right back up the next day, yes solo, yes on a stormy day, yes with the same approach which was all on old surface like the day before, and really got to take a look at what happened, where i went wrong, and what i woulda done differently. i assure you that i wouldn't have skied that slope had i been solo. why? i just wouldn't have. so why did i with a partner? we communicate very well, ski in a very similar manner, look at slopes and terrain in a similar manner. it was just more comfortable up there with him and i got complacent.

    as far as the whole "falling while skiing" thing goes. ya, if you train yerself to ski well in all conditions and ski conservatively when there is an increase in exposure, or if conditions get sketch, and save the "opening it up" as conditions allow for that, then there really is now reason for falling. yes, i am aware that shit happens. one thing i see so often in the bc is folks skiing lines like they are at the resort. usually way too fast and on the edge of out of control. not a very safe way to ski in the bc imo. folks that ski like that fall, if you stand solidly on yer skis, know how to use yer edges, and the mechanics of your body, and are mindful of every turn you make, there is really no reason to fall, in general. many folks don't think about changing the way they ski to suit the conditions, they just go down. and oftentimes, subsequently, fall.

    rog

  5. #105
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    rog, you still haven't answered my question. I know there have been a lot of posts, and you don't have time to respond to all of them but I think this is the crux of the issue:

    Why do you think there is an essential difference between beacon/shovel/probe and an avy airbag? It seems arbitrary to the rest of us, which is why Marshal and others have asked why you bother to use any safety equipment at all.

    I don't see an essential difference. If you make a legitimate argument for one, you might be taken a little more seriously.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by icelanticskier View Post
    lot's of variability going on up there that day. my 1st few turns in were fully supportive edgeable styro snow. i was taking it very slowly when all of a sudden i dropped into a very soft slab situation. i immediately knew i was potentially in trouble. when shooting cracks shot out in both directions...

    rog
    You failed before you even hit the trailhead that day. Didn't you see the warning signs before even putting yourself in the line of fire? What was the advisory saying for the same aspect in Tucks? (To fill in those who don't know, it was Considerable) How much time had you spent doing rescue practice with your partner? Lucky for him it was you that
    Quote Originally Posted by icelanticskier View Post
    made the decision to stay put and get taken down the wide open slope. i had told my partner how i was gonna ski the slope and gave strict directions to follow, one of which was to stay put till i stopped and either, a. waved him down from a safe spot, or b. told him to continue to stay put or don't ski at all if i found the slope to be suspect.
    How much say did he REALLY have in what you did that day? Were you the de facto leader? Could that have swayed your decision making process?

    The more and more you write on here, the more I realize that you might be good at skiing, but you're not really a good skier.

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by honus View Post
    What was the advisory saying for the same aspect in Tucks? (To fill in those who don't know, it was Considerable)
    I'm a bc jong, but I don't really agree with this. Many people (including myself) ski when the danger is Considerable, or even High and don't think they're taking an absurd risk. It's all about mitigating those risks and being more careful in the bc when the avy danger is high.

    I generally don't like to call someone out on a bad decision they made, so I'll limit my comments to that. Well, and to say it'd be nice to shift the focus back to airbags, not rog's decision making.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

  8. #108
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    Considerable means there's probably good skiing!!!! I really hate the armchair avy experts who take the approach that if you get caught in an avy then you made a mistake( no shit Sherlock..of course I did) and think that you should only tour when the forecast is Moderate or below.

    Firstly avy statements are generalized...actual avy conditions are specific to the slope you are one. I have gone out on Moderate days and found High or Considerable conditions... I've gone out on Considerable days and found what I would classify as bomber conditions.

    Secondly... I'm a skier...I want to ski the best line I think I can safely do on that day. I don't want to ski 20 degree slopes and be 100% safe. I ACCEPT the risk. I do all my homework, read the weather, pole the snow,dig hasty pits, rub the crystals over my scrotum etc.
    BUT I'm fallible and spatial variability so large and based upon the amount of time I spend in avy terrain.....there's a very, very good chance that one day..I'm going to fuck up.
    For that day.... I want to have an air-bag pack.
    TGR Bureau Chief, Greenwater, WA

  9. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by auvgeek View Post
    I'm a bc jong, but I don't really agree with this. Many people (including myself) ski when the danger is Considerable, or even High and don't think they're taking an absurd risk. It's all about mitigating those risks and being more careful in the bc when the avy danger is high.

    I generally don't like to call someone out on a bad decision they made, so I'll limit my comments to that. Well, and to say it'd be nice to shift the focus back to airbags, not rog's decision making.
    Wait...you're a self described bc jong, but are out touring on High danger days? Maybe you're right...we should turn this discussion back to airbag packs. You really should get one. If you don't have the experience yet to go out and make well informed decisions based on classes, time spent in the mountains, and focused snowpack assessment then you should do everything possible to stack the deck in your favor if you're caught up in a slide. The fact that people like you are going touring on high consequence days really highlights the need for more people to embrace airbags, avalungs, helmets, Jesus, and every bit of safety gear they can get their hands on.

    The argument that all this safety gear makes people take needless risks has its points. There are a lot of bc jongs out there with a beacon/shovel/probe who don't know how to use them. You can have all of the best equipment in the world, but none of that can replace the most powerful life saving tool some of us have...a good head. It's a foolish person, one that could stand to learn a lesson, that thinks they can get away with skiing on elevated danger days because they have the right gear. This has already been covered, I'm just not seeing that people are actually acting on what they say.

    Nothing is a sub for hands on experience. I know first hand that it is hard to find someone to show the ropes, but it's an essential step in the development of a well rounded bc skier. It's ultimately up to you how you're going to learn your lessons, hopefully you'll make them in the a way that won't cause any harm to you or people around you.

  10. #110
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    There are lots of people who think we're reckless for going out at all. Just read the comments on any newspaper article about any avalanche accident.

  11. #111
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    Scots-

    I never said that anyone should only tour on moderate/low days. Some of the best runs of my life have been under high ratings, and I advocate for getting after it as hard as conditions will safely allow. Part of that is knowing how to read an avalanche advisory. There are days when certain aspects are safe, and other days they are not. What is important is being able to read the SPECIFIC details about where you want to ski and then applying them to first hand observations in the field. As much as you hate "armchair avy experts" I hate people who think they can outsmart the snowpack.

    Also- In my opinion, getting caught in a slide at any point in a skier's career is a major FAIL. Getting caught means a big lapse in judgement, and should be used as a turning point in one's life. There are people who fucking kill it every day and don't get slid, that is because they are humble in the mountains, and that will lead to a long, happy life.

  12. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by honus View Post
    Wait...you're a self described bc jong, but are out touring on High danger days? Maybe you're right...we should turn this discussion back to airbag packs. You really should get one. If you don't have the experience yet to go out and make well informed decisions based on classes, time spent in the mountains, and focused snowpack assessment then you should do everything possible to stack the deck in your favor if you're caught up in a slide. The fact that people like you are going touring on high consequence days really highlights the need for more people to embrace airbags, avalungs, helmets, Jesus, and every bit of safety gear they can get their hands on.
    Woah, I guess we have different definitions of bc jong. I've taken my avy I class, and I've spent a good season touring with some experienced partners who have their avy II certs. I've also read a number of books on the subject, read the NWAC report daily (and discuss it with at least one partner with whom I work), and continually practice with beacon/probe. I also spend a lot of time reading accident reports (on NWAC and this site) and try to learn as much from other people's mistakes as I can. But I also understand that there is no substitute for experience. My partners do not consider me a liability in the bc.

    On higher avy days, I keep to low angle, densely treed areas and constantly analyzed the snowpack. You may say that I'm taking too big a risk, but my partners and I don't think so. I consider myself a jong in that I wouldn't feel comfortable leading a party of people less experienced than myself.

    I agree with the rest of your post.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

  13. #113
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    Hony-
    Never said you can outsmart the snowpack... quite the reverse if you read what I wrote with some basic comprehension. You can't..which is my point.If you spend enough time out there, and use your best judgement all the time, use the terrain AND ski lines greater than 30%...there is a high probability that eventually you are going to get slid.... sometime.
    I personally don't consider it the huge FAIL that you do. I'm by no means a great skier but I tour a lot and with some pretty hard core, experienced experts and MOST of them have been involved in a significant slide at one time in their ski careers. They are humble but accept the risk, probability ratios and consider it a risk they are willing to take to ski the lines they want to ski.
    I personally have seen this sort of FAIL mentality regarding people who get caught in slides growing over the years especially since the age of the internet where sanctimonious types like you can pass judgement while posturing as a humble acolyte of the mountains, slide free and smug about it.

    Everbody I know...who is "killing it every day" in the BACKCOUNTRY has had some near misses or actual incidents. That's the reality I tour in ,which to bring it back to airbags...means I'm going to use mine to hopefully save my life when it happens to me.
    TGR Bureau Chief, Greenwater, WA

  14. #114
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    Maybe you sold yourself shy as a bc jong, but with only 1 season of touring there is still a lot to learn. Also- I don't know your friends, but there are a lot of avy 2 people out there who have gotten most of their experience in the classes...3 days for L1 and 4 for L2 is a good place to start, but not a complete education.

    Quote Originally Posted by auvgeek View Post
    On higher avy days, I keep to low angle, densely treed areas and constantly analyzed the snowpack. You may say that I'm taking too big a risk, but my partners and I don't think so.
    This is what people are supposed to do on high danger days. Your previous post made it sound like you were skiing in zones rated at high danger, not zones with low danger on a high day. Good to know that you're smart enough to stay out of harm's way, keep that fear alive and under control and you will get to ski some really fun stuff when the snow gods smile upon you.

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by honus View Post
    [...] with only 1 season of touring there is still a lot to learn. Also- I don't know your friends, but there are a lot of avy 2 people out there who have gotten most of their experience in the classes...3 days for L1 and 4 for L2 is a good place to start, but not a complete education.
    Agree. Not sure why you think I wouldn't.

    Your previous post made it sound like you were skiing in zones rated at high danger, not zones with low danger on a high day.
    Honestly don't see how you got that from my post.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotsman50 View Post
    Hony-
    I personally don't consider it the huge FAIL that you do. I'm by no means a great skier but I tour a lot and with some pretty hard core, experienced experts and MOST of them have been involved in a significant slide at one time in their ski careers. They are humble but accept the risk, probability ratios and consider it a risk they are willing to take to ski the lines they want to ski.
    I personally have seen this sort of FAIL mentality regarding people who get caught in slides growing over the years especially since the age of the internet where sanctimonious types like you can pass judgement while posturing as a humble acolyte of the mountains, slide free and smug about it.

    Everbody I know...who is "killing it every day" in the BACKCOUNTRY has had some near misses or actual incidents. That's the reality I tour in ,which to bring it back to airbags...means I'm going to use mine to hopefully save my life when it happens to me.
    This is kind of going the right way as in constructive.

    Scotsman, everybody I know who's been involved in an avalanche, including myself, has ignored warning signs and made mistakes.

    Honus, I'll put it you that using loaded pejoratives like "major fail" aren't exactly helpful to any kind of discussion as it will have the tendency to immediately put someone on the defensive.

    Having said all of this, nobody is perfect. Even if you make decisions right 99.9% of the time (avalanche-related wise), if you go out enough you will bump up against probability. In which case then you have a decision to make whether or not to purchase the insurance of a flotation pack. that's my take on it anyway

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Having said all of this, nobody is perfect. Even if you make decisions right 99.9% of the time (avalanche-related wise), if you go out enough you will bump up against probability. In which case then you have a decision to make whether or not to purchase the insurance of a flotation pack. that's my take on it anyway
    EXACTLY!
    TGR Bureau Chief, Greenwater, WA

  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer View Post
    I purchased a Blackjack in the Mystery Ranch group buy. I typically ski everything from heavily treed runs in the Tahoe Basin to more exposed, alpine terrain in the Eastern Sierra. In some cases, I feel the airbag will be advantegous, and in other cases depending on facts and circumstances (e.g. start zone into trees), perhaps not. But who am I to really have the foresight on that?

    As far as reliance on safety gear or pushing me to make more aggressive decisisions, I would say issue exists with any piece of gear above and beyond just avy gear. New rockered skis that making skiing steep, exposed lines easier... - same concept in my mind. It is more of how one deal's with that inherent mind-battle - namely, staying regimented on a process of information gathering pre-touring, during the tour and post-tour (e.g., discussions with partners at the end of the day to see what else we could have discussed). Then taking that information and running it through a decision making process. The fact that I am wearing a beacon, have compentent partners or have an airbag on should not impact my process. Will it? I hope not as I strive hard to remain systematic in a decisionary process, although this is difficult when combating (i) human nature and (i) an environment that is (A) ever changing, (B) has mutiple known and unknown information points, (C) has a risk of the unknown that I find people have difficulty assessing and (D) is, above all, a dynamic environment.

    Am I happy to purchase one - yes. Is it another tool - yes. Should it impact decision making - no. Will it - I will strive my best to work towards no.

    That is just my two cents.
    In my next life I'm gonna posess the ability to turn my thoughts into quality posts but pretty much my feelings
    Talking with Marshall tonight and the why wouldn't you want this in your bag of shit hit the fan, protect yourself tricks is pretty spot on
    but it still don't explain them trollers and them silly pom pom hats
    oh and
    low don\\\'t mean no eyeopener for me
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
    ski on in eternal peace

  19. #119
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    [EDIT: Deleted pic, as it wasn't as funny as I originally thought.]

    Thanks for the link SFB.
    "Alpine rock and steep, deep powder are what I seek, and I will always find solace there." - Bean Bowers

  20. #120
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    I am a curmudgeon. I cannot see buying one. However if my sons were to buy them I would be thrilled. Other than some weight what's not to like about them?
    off your knees Louie

  21. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotsman50 View Post
    I personally have seen this sort of FAIL mentality regarding people who get caught in slides growing over the years especially since the age of the internet where sanctimonious types like you can pass judgement while posturing as a humble acolyte of the mountains, slide free and smug about it.

    Everbody I know...who is "killing it every day" in the BACKCOUNTRY has had some near misses or actual incidents.
    Humble acolyte? Why thanks for the compliment! Re-reading what I wrote might come across as smug, but it's the way I carry myself in the BC, I don't like to make mistakes. I have had a few of my own skiing accidents that stem directly from poor judgement, and I've seen many many many more people make similar or worse errors, which have shown me stress, pain, death...and I learned from them. I try to relate what I learned through my shitty experiences so that people don't have to learn the hard way. Sanctimonious, maybe...but since when is that a problem on TGR?


    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Honus, I'll put it you that using loaded pejoratives like "major fail" aren't exactly helpful to any kind of discussion as it will have the tendency to immediately put someone on the defensive.

    Having said all of this, nobody is perfect. Even if you make decisions right 99.9% of the time (avalanche-related wise), if you go out enough you will bump up against probability. In which case then you have a decision to make whether or not to purchase the insurance of a flotation pack. that's my take on it anyway
    Maybe "major FAIL" was the wrong term, how's low/moderate/considerable/high/extreme Fuck Up? I like it because it's a strangely familiar scale.

    I've been lucky in my 5 years of dedicated BC skiing to not get caught up in a slide, and I hope to go another 5 years without getting caught in one. I completely understand the probability reasoning, but for me, if there's any concern I'll pass it up. I always know that there will be another day to ski something if it isn't good, but it's the one time you ski it when you're not sure about conditions that can ruin your life. I take all the safety gear with me that I need, and hope I never have to use it.



    Sorry to derail this thread, I just wanted to point out how much of a douche rog is.

  22. #122
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    SFB - I haven't bought one yet. Especially for tree skiing it ain't going to do shit imo.

    But I ski a lot of big exposed alpine slopes. And I love it and will keep doing it. That's where I think the airbag will save my ass.

    So I'm seriously thinking of one which I'll use just for the big alpine slopes.

    Thinking about it, I'm a 100 day/season skier. A lot of that is backcountry. That's many times for me to make a bad decision.

    Quote Originally Posted by skifishbum View Post
    In my next life I'm gonna posess the ability to turn my thoughts into quality posts but pretty much my feelings
    Talking with Marshall tonight and the why wouldn't you want this in your bag of shit hit the fan, protect yourself tricks is pretty spot on
    but it still don't explain them trollers and them silly pom pom hats

  23. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Having said all of this, nobody is perfect. Even if you make decisions right 99.9% of the time (avalanche-related wise), if you go out enough you will bump up against probability. In which case then you have a decision to make whether or not to purchase the insurance of a flotation pack. that's my take on it anyway
    That's pretty much sums up why I decided to buy one...
    Life is a lot like climbing: there isn't anything much more comforting than a good #2.

  24. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by honus View Post



    Sorry to derail this thread, I just wanted to point out how much of a douche rog is.
    I'd just like to point out snow is usually cold and white
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
    ski on in eternal peace

  25. #125
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    answer

    Quote Originally Posted by auvgeek View Post
    rog, you still haven't answered my question. I know there have been a lot of posts, and you don't have time to respond to all of them but I think this is the crux of the issue:

    Why do you think there is an essential difference between beacon/shovel/probe and an avy airbag? It seems arbitrary to the rest of us, which is why Marshal and others have asked why you bother to use any safety equipment at all.

    I don't see an essential difference. If you make a legitimate argument for one, you might be taken a little more seriously.
    beacon/probe/shovel are all designed to work together to aid in rescue/recovery. you don't buy one without the others. airbags are extras. they do nothing other than give you an extra safety blanket, which is fine if that's what you want. i don't doubt the numbers of success in saving lives, but after nearly 2 decades and lot's and lot's of touring days in avy terrain, with one major fuckup, i'm happy to continue with the way i approach and move about the mountains without a bag.

    rog

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