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Thread: Brush with a smallish slide.
02-29-2012, 11:21 AM #26
02-29-2012, 11:24 AM #27
All I really see above boils down to "My level of risk tolerance is X" and "My level of risk tolerance is Y". Not really a conversation with a correct answer, IMO.
02-29-2012, 11:29 AM #28Registered User
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02-29-2012, 11:51 AM #29
Jesus.... I want to remain neutral here given the the few times we had together and plenty of mutual friends, but I'm lost for words really.
A lot of what I said to you a few weeks back in our heated discussion about your choices of being out in high danger, knowing that something will slide, then causing something to slide still isn't resonating. I called you out then and I'm leaning towards the same because I really don't want you to be another statistic. Calling this a smallish slide then using the term "sluffalanches" just makes me want to shake my head.
I understand you have a high risk tolerance, and mine is higher than most, but the powder thirst seems to be overtaking common sense on more than a couple occasions.
And if this is armchair QBing, then so fucking be it... I'm tired of people dying this season. Lastly, you prefaced your video with a lot of wording that can and was easily digested in such a way that is gonna tell us to tell you respect the dangers a little bit more and perhaps spend more time understanding the snowpack before continuing to put yourself in interesting situations.
02-29-2012, 11:55 AM #30
02-29-2012, 12:03 PM #31
Goldenboy - you've managed to ski in the bc for a very long time with a very large number of days (with, from what I see on the intertubes, a very good safety record). Would you say that all that experience has changed your level of risk tolerance, or does all that experience help you understand the risks better? Do you think in your first year or two of skiing the Colorado bc you understood the risks as well as you do now? I know I didn't.
02-29-2012, 12:09 PM #32
Very fair questions and discussion.
Generally speaking if you evaluate a slope with consequences and then ski it and trigger a slide, you fucked up.
There's also the question of the probability of being caught in the slide. Most choose for this to not play a role in decision making, which I completely understand. However, I think it's a fair question to ask. Should it play a role? If you inaccurately assess the probability of being caught in the slide, then I would also agree, that one has fucked up - as if you fucked up a ski cut, or a cornice drop. We felt the probability of being caught in a slide was roughly equivalent to falling, due to the nature of the snowpack, terrain, and the speed at which we planned to enter the slide terrain at. There was no hard slab that would break up in the middle and rapidly pick up speed - it would be a slowly initiated and accelerating soft slab.
This is like looking at a gun with one bullet, pointing it at your head, pulling the trigger, firing a blank, and then congratulating yourself on your evaluation of the risk (only a 1 in 6 chance!).
What's your "bc guide" Uncle's take on your decision making?
As goldenboy mentions, I don't want to boil this down to an X vs. Y risk tolerance argument. Everyone has a different risk tolerance, and that's not how one does things out in the backcountry (you choose the lowest risk tolerance in the group). I regularly roll the dice with injury consequences as a result of misjudging my ability to ski a line. The probability of which, only I have a good idea of. This is a level of risk that myself, and a few of my partners are comfortable with. If this features me in a CAIC accident report (avalanche incident), or simply a visit to the hospital and a stop over at gimp central (non-avalanche incident), does the distinction really matter?
02-29-2012, 12:32 PM #33
From the multitude of accident reports and case studies I've read, the only similarly-sized avalanches that I've seen that have caused death, have either been freak consequences (mentioned in some way in the report), led right into significant burial terrain traps (gullies), or the unprepared (no beacon/etc.). Perhaps you have an accident report to share?
Again, that slide was neither "smallish" nor "slower moving".
You get flushed there, walking away would be a miracle.
What are you basing your assessment on?
02-29-2012, 12:34 PM #34
I hear a lot of people talking about "risk tolerance x vs y." I'm sick of this as a copout. To claim decisions are made with risk tolerance in mind, one must truly understand risk; one must truly understand both the hazard (chance of the event) and the exposure (consequences). Frank, for example, has the wide breadth of experience, education, and perspective to personally make such judgements, but most people slap that risk acceptance crap up when people are lackadaisically saying "oh well, I might have been hurt, but I thought about that." Did they really?
Brian, you need to think about what it would take to evac even a minor injury that prevents you from navigating Timber Falls on your own power. Think! Even on a sunny calm day, it is a nightmare. It's not quite the middle of the Gore, but it might as well be in some respects. That is how you turn a minor injury into hypothermia, frostbite, and months of recovery. It is how you turn a tib-fib into an amputation. It is how you turn some broken ribs into your death. These things happen as a result of where you fuck up.
It is OK you don't have the perspective yet. Some people never do. I was lucky: when I had been skiing BC as long as you have, I'd already pulled a body out of a slide and had a very good idea what is involved after you fuck up, I had a Level II, and I had very experienced mentors taught me good decision making, and one in particular who did it in EV, his stomping grounds for well over a decade. That didn't make me immune to error or random chance. I'm still not. I've broken a bone at the top of Bighorn doing something stupid, then had to ski out (luckily I was able to). I've had to repair a friend's exploded bindings in King A's. I've led out some gaper who skied on top of us with no gear out of the chutes. My partners had to clear someones head of snow when the tiniest slough buried him to his eyes because he was in a gully. What you have to ask yourself is, it is one thing to say "I might get hurt," but do you really want to reap the whirlwind? What are you prepared to deal with and have you thought about what happens when it is more than you can handle?
Going into the chutes, Watertank etc, is often done to escape the crowds and many people convince themselves it is less risky. However, it is at best an exercise in trading hazard for exposure. And yet people dump into them without skins or any gear to mitigate the consequences (and I'm not talking avalanche gear). All my skiing dreams have been good except for one nightmare: my friend getting hurt in Racquet Club and having them die during the evacuation. Don't live a nightmare. Timber Falls is far worse than Racquet Club.
I'm not saying, "you shouldn't have skied there." I'm not looking at this specific incident, but I am hopeful this was useful feedback to add to your general perspective.
Last edited by Summit; 02-29-2012 at 12:57 PM.Originally Posted by blurred
02-29-2012, 12:42 PM #35
We were looking for hard slabs or weak deep instabilities, or other things we didn't expect to see. If we had found some, or the depth hoar was similar to what it is, for example, in Mushroom, we would have bailed. So, in a way, we were looking for reasons not to ski the slope.
02-29-2012, 12:44 PM #36Registered User
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- Feb 2012
I posted a reply that linked to some recent avalanches up in the PNW, for some reason the system isn't liking it probably because I have a new account. If it shows up out of order that's why. You can say you have a higher risk tolerance which is all well and good. Talking about risk tolerance is only valid if you are accurately assessing the consequences for your actions. So whatever, it may end up looking like I'm repeating myself.
There is easily enough snow to bury you, if my other post would show up I linked to an accident that I responded to two years ago where the slide was probably 30ft in distance w/ a 35" crown and it still buried a young skier. If you make the reasonable assumption that you are carried into the trees at a high rate of speed, what do you think happens to you when you get hung up on a tree and a significant portion of the avalanche is still moving past you? The force of the slide will try to rip you apart. Your assumptions about the forces involved in this avalanche (and probably any others) are grossly wrong. If the video kept playing, I'd wager it would be easy to see the trees in the deposition zone being buried at least 1m or more with debris. You lose a ski on the landing or fall, this slide probably seriously injures you if you are lucky and probably kills you.
02-29-2012, 12:45 PM #37who turned up da gravity?
- Join Date
- Dec 2011
You are a NOOB.
You are a JONG.
Your insistance with putting up lame POVs indicates an inflated ego.
This is not about hate.
Its about tearing down the pedastals people of your ilk set themselves on.
You are the "bad example" that others should be warned about.
and I don't give a shit about whether you agree or not. It is what it is.Ski more blog less - Foggy Goggles
02-29-2012, 12:58 PM #38
02-29-2012, 01:02 PM #39
I'd say experience has taken my risk tolerance in both directions. For instance, this year my experience has given my a very low level of risk tolerance. I don't have any faith in this snowpack so I've skied pitches that I hardly ever do that are less than 30 degrees, and ridden my bike, and skated on lakes, and I'm in AK right now just to get the hell away from that snowpack.
On the flip side, if I feel good about things, I might ski something high consequence due to my experience. This scares me because the other side of that coin is the expert halo that gets talked about (and was the root cause of the slide I was involved with last season). So I try to fight it.
02-29-2012, 01:13 PM #40Originally Posted by natew08
What are you prepared to deal with and have you thought about what happens when it is more than you can handle?
In order to understand my risk tolerance a bit better, it should be noted that I partake in lots of similarly-consequential activities outside of skiing. For example, jumping into pools, rather than rappelling, while canyoneering in a remote canyon on the fringes of Lake Powell, or free-soloing a low class 5 route, without beta, on the north spur of Mt. Powell, deep inside the Gores. I do have a high risk tolerance, in most activities. For me, it's a part of living. For others, it's a stupid decision.
Last edited by Lindahl; 02-29-2012 at 01:38 PM.
02-29-2012, 01:28 PM #41
02-29-2012, 02:25 PM #42Registered User
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- Feb 2012
On the nwac accidents page (it's not allowing linking because of my n00b status)
Back country near Mission Ridge Ski Area; east slopes central WA Cascades - that is the name of one of them
Hooky Bowl on Trout Ck drainage, near Mt Cashmere, east slopes central WA Cascades - that's the other
One shows just how small an avalanche can be and still bury you. The second shows how bad it can be to get dragged through trees.
02-29-2012, 03:16 PM #43
Lindahl - kudos for the willingness to put all this out there. You obviously thought about things a great deal.
A few more thoughts from my (old guy, conservative) perspective:
Basic avalanche evaluation looks for (a) Avalanche terrain + negative consequences, (b) weak layer, and (c) load or trigger. You found all of these and then moved on to more complex and much less objective criteria (how much snow will go, how fast will it go, when will it break, will I get caught, how to I get out, will I get injured, what kind of injures, etc.). This is during one of the worst avalanche years in one of the year-in-year-out worst snowpacks in the world.
You are making the classic mistake of using those secondary mitigating factors to talk yourself into skiing slopes you have objectively determined to be likely to slide.
Odds are stacked against you no matter how you justify it if you are keeping your evaluation going after those first three come up bad.
In my observation, the more experience you have in the bc evaluating difficult avalanche conditions, the more respect & humility you have for luck, randomness and the power of the mountains. The way you talk with such confidence about predicting such complex factors indicates to me a limited understanding of them. I don't mean that with any disrespect, it's just an observation on my part.
I fully understand the risk tolerance part, but think it is widely mis-used. Seems to me that there is a very high correlation of high risk tolerance with relatively inexperienced backcountry skiers. I.e. it takes lots of experience to accurately understand the risk. [cliche] There are old bc skiers, and there are bold bc skiers, but there are no old, bold bc skiers. [/cliche]
02-29-2012, 03:45 PM #44
Like some old Greek said, It is impossible for a man to learn what he already thinks he knows.
OP - I think you're a bit casual with the potential for things like "partial burial" and a "few broken bones." But what do I know, I paid $11 for an overcooked resort cheeseburger today and was shitting my pants within 90 minutes, so my own risk-benefit analysis isn't too good.
In the end, your choices are your choices and one man's auto-erotic asphyxiation in a church closet with a strand of barbed wire around his nutsack is another man's missionary position with the lights off in his own bedroom."Buy the Fucking Plane Tickets!"
-- Jack Tackle
02-29-2012, 03:53 PM #45
02-29-2012, 04:02 PM #46
Forgetting the very important avy discussion for a moment that was some tight skiing. If I ever see you I'll make sure not to follow you into the trees. Those look like first year Billy Goat topsheets?
02-29-2012, 04:06 PM #47
whats the difference tween side and backcounty again? I forgot
are 2 sidecountry days = to 1 backcountry day?
how many feet outside the resort does the sidecounrty end and the backcountry start?
if you don't ride lifts is it backcountry by default?"When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
"THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
ski on in eternal peace
02-29-2012, 04:22 PM #48
Leaving the slide part of this POV aside, loved that run starting at 2:45 or so. Good stuff.
02-29-2012, 04:46 PM #49
sounds like you managed terrain while running with scissors, make sure you learn something and keep having fun.Its not that I suck at spelling, its that I just don't care
Days on snow 12/13 season: 68
02-29-2012, 05:12 PM #50
Another thing that just occured to me to mention, that if it wasn't for the adjacent old slide, our decision would have been different. It gave us a good idea of what a slide would look like, if we triggered one. One of our party members wasn't ok with the same personal risk, and chose a different line and was able to get lower, and give us good beta on what the old activity looked like.
The trees I would have been pushed through are dramatically different. Most of them are small midget trees, with only a couple of "real" trees. Force would likely be a lot greater, as well, due to the significantly higher slope angle. Not saying I know all and that it's impossible for similar massive trauma to occur, but I still question whether it was a probable consequence.
I've read similar accident reports from around CO (Dry Gulch for trauma, and multiple reports for gully terrain traps).
Originally Posted by JoeStrummer
Last edited by Lindahl; 02-29-2012 at 05:38 PM.