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03-08-2005, 10:03 AM #1
Thoughts and discussion on the Highlands Avi
I created a new thread to respect those involved in the incident and hopefully create honest discussion from which we can all learn.
The victim -- skiing third -- skied into or toward the gully and fell and rolled. This triggered the avalanche that broke some distance above him and swept him down nearly the entire track.
03-08-2005, 10:08 AM #2
Even good skiers can hook their tip on a hidden rock. An avy2 class seems like an unlikely place to find gapers.
03-08-2005, 10:23 AM #3
According to the story in the Aspen Daily News he did not fall. The avalache started above him while he was making skiing. http://www.aspendailynews.com/
03-08-2005, 10:49 AM #4I created a new thread to respect those involved in the incident and hopefully create honest discussion from which we can all learn.
03-08-2005, 11:11 AM #5Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles
03-08-2005, 11:12 AM #6
From the miniscule amount I know about the slide zone, 5 Fingers, it's a pretty well known high hazard spot. Having taken a number of avie classes, I have to wonder: What were the instructors and course planners thinking? Is it really necessary to expose students to that level of hazard?
Then again, the hazard was put at moderate, so excuse me while I take my hat away from my mouth.
From my offthecuffshallowingnorantofthefacts perspective, that seems to be a questionable place to take students. If the instructors knew their students and abilities and the skiers were really competent, maybe this is a moot point.
One can do snow analysis in less hazardous areas. If I were giving the course, I wouldn't do it there. The pics of the slide zone are pretty impressive: it was a massive slide starting from the top of a 3k+ vertical drainage. So independent of the particular conditions, it's an exposed location for a class.
Given that they did, what could they have done to mitigate the exposure? Better ski cuts? Did the leads cut the slope at all? Could they have bombed it or is it wilderness or did they not have bombing permits?
Did the victim fall? I know I generally bounce my turns pretty heavily (and those of you who have skied with me probably would agree), but when I'm exposed, I try to smooth it out a bunch. Did the victim hit his turns heavily?Merde De Glace
03-08-2005, 04:54 PM #7Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles
If the shit slides because this dude fell and rolled, then it was not that stable to begin with.
The natural extension of your logic is that:
"the backcountry is a no-huck zone. If you can't resist the urge to huck, you should huck elsewhere"
A huck loads the snowpack wayyyy more than any stumble and fall.
As for them skiing this particular run, that's the "fun" part of any avy course. Somewhere between lectures and digging full pits, you really would like to get some nice turns in somewhere.
I seriously doubt that the instructor decided to "roll the dice" on an unstable snowpack. He must have thought it was safe.
03-09-2005, 06:23 AM #8Warrior of the Wasteland
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Holy Mt.
The problem was it got warm that day, quite warm. And that whole slope
faces into the sun all day. I would never ski that exposure with those kind
of conditions, ie... warm spring day.
03-09-2005, 10:48 AM #9
I have seen slides (photos) of avalanches started by skiers falling. They were part of a class and were taken by a guide at a heli skiing op. Obviously some places are no fall/ no huck zones (and no stop zones—both on the accent and decent) but I ski for fun, not to cheat death, so I avoid these areas.
I have a question, derived from a comment on the other thread, is it ever appropriate for a large group or class to ski a slope like the Five Fingers (given the bad consequences of a slide and the extended amount of time it takes to ski it)? Being a weekend warrior I often find myself running around the backcountry in packs of 5-7 skiers and I often find myself wearing the capaline thong and voting for moderate descents. (More peeps, more loads, more time, more risk, etc).The trumpet scatters its awful sound Over the graves of all lands Summoning all before the throne
Death and mankind shall be stunned When Nature arises To give account before the Judge