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  1. #326
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    Some comments.

    The CAC bulletin doesn't apply at the slope scale. Therefore, it's not really a matter of overstating the danger; danger at the mesoscale might indeed be high across the entire mountain range but low on specific slope at a specific time. Since the bulletin doesn't apply to individual slopes, you might find low instability on a specific slope or very high instability on a specific slope, regardless of the bulletin.

    Snowpack instability varies greatly across time and space. Accuracy also decreases with increases in the spatial and temporal scale. Necessarily a forecast for a very specific time and place is far more accurate than a forecast issued for a wide area and a longer time frame. The bulletin isn't a slopescale forecast and should never be used by itself. So it's a bit apples to oranges. Is the bulletin accurate at the slope scale, for a specific time and place? Of course not.

    The CAC bulletin is very accurate when you consider the scale at which the forecast is issued.

  2. #327
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    His account of the avalanche also is quite a bit at odds with the way you somewhat derisively characterized....
    I'm sorry you find that amusing and if you want to discuss it further perhaps start a thread discussing herd mentality, the "expert halo" and the value of independent thought when using the avalanche bulletins.
    What the fuck are you talking about, LeeLau? My account of the avalanche comes directly from Stewart's blog.

    Per Stewart:
    "I remotely triggered a fairly sizeable (~2.5) avalanche about 50 meters ahead of me... The crown depth varied between 30 and 130cm, and it had propagated about 100m wide."

    Per my post:
    "Someone... had a 100m wide slab release 50m below them, crown height varied between thirty and 130 (yep, one hundred and thirty) cm."

    This has NOTHING to do with the herd mentality you insist upon referencing so regularly. It has to do with someone publicly calling bullshit on the expert opinion that the avalanche hazard is "high" (specifically defined in his post as "Natural and human triggered avalanches likely") and then triggering a significant slab avalanche four days later.

    Stewart is a friend of both of ours, and we both know he is more apt to roll the dice than a lot of people. It is certainly reasonable to question his own questioning of the CAC assessment given the outcome. I also think expecting the CAC to call the overall risk anything BUT high, given the current frequency of human triggered avalanches is not only stupid but irresponsible. Would you prefer that the CAC say that the risk is moderate, and then express surprise when an experienced backcountry skier triggers a 2.5 slide on a moderate slope?

  3. #328
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    I know I wouldn't have been (and wasn't) found out on the E face of Glory considering what I have seen in these past few weeks. However I know the line they skiied, and it was probably the most conservative "big line" one could ski in this area. An incident like this goes to show that it really is all about terrain choices. If they had been hanging it out there in the line of fire, then there likely wouldn't have been a blog post to discuss at all.

    As for arguements over CAA PAB ratings... I don't know what to say. I do get the feeling that other than the ski hill and maybe Big Red Cats, the forecasters are pretty starved for timely info in this area. I also know that they have a large forecast area. I have often felt that the rating is off one way or the other in this area, often higher than I feel it is locally, but sometimes (like the weekend of 3-4th), perhaps too low. The other thing to remember is that the PAB is a forecast, sometimes as much as 3 days out, and a lot can change in a few hours, especially if a storm misses us, but hits somewhere else.
    Last edited by snoboy; 01-16-2009 at 07:06 PM.

  4. #329
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    Agreed. ^^^

    On an entirely unrelated note- anyone know if there is cell phone coverage at kootenay pass? On the highway? In the BC?

  5. #330
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    Pretty certain no service at all. I tried my Rogers phone up there a while back and it was not getting a signal. There is a payphone at the picnic shelter by the lake though.
    Last edited by snoboy; 01-16-2009 at 07:08 PM.

  6. #331
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    Bummer. On call for work all weekend and not really wanting to ski around on hard snow at Red.

  7. #332
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    Just my Opinion

    So this is where all the traffic on my blog has been coming from. What I wrote about the CAC forecasts for last weekend was based on my experience in the field (I'm out almost every day). I wasn't seeing anything at and below tree-line that warranted a high rating in Kootenay Boundary. I didn't have any experience of conditions in the Alpine at that time. We skied a very avalanche prone face (but a manageable line) on Old Glory because, other than it's an enjoyable tour, we wanted to check out how reactive the snow-pack actually was (more than I anticipated) in the Alpine. I'm not recommending others do the same, but I only trust my own assessments, and that requires getting out into the mountains. Based on what I've seen, I think the current CAC ratings for KB - High:Considerable:Moderate are accurate, but should have been applied last weekend. I'm also curious why didn't I see any Extreme ratings during the warming, when class 4 naturals were ripping out?

    Stewart.

  8. #333
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    Hi ya Stewart. Thanks for dropping by and chiming in.

    Nice TR from KP by the way. The little vid clip looks like good skiing. We were considering a little romp up there tomorrow but apparently there is no cell coverage and I am on call. The "DL's" trees on Roberts might be an option but I understand the snow in there to be less than ideal. Any suggestions?

  9. #334
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    CAA calls it C-C-M now... and you merited a special mention in the bulletin.

  10. #335
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    Quote Originally Posted by kootenayskier View Post
    So this is where all the traffic on my blog has been coming from. What I wrote about the CAC forecasts for last weekend was based on my experience in the field (I'm out almost every day). I wasn't seeing anything at and below tree-line that warranted a high rating in Kootenay Boundary. I didn't have any experience of conditions in the Alpine at that time. We skied a very avalanche prone face (but a manageable line) on Old Glory because, other than it's an enjoyable tour, we wanted to check out how reactive the snow-pack actually was (more than I anticipated) in the Alpine. I'm not recommending others do the same, but I only trust my own assessments, and that requires getting out into the mountains. Based on what I've seen, I think the current CAC ratings for KB - High:Considerable:Moderate are accurate, but should have been applied last weekend. I'm also curious why didn't I see any Extreme ratings during the warming, when class 4 naturals were ripping out?

    Stewart.
    There's a few comments of a religion type nature on your blog. You're a brave man for stating your opinion. There's nothing wrong with the CAA/CAC forecasts. I just happen to like making my own field assessments. Too many people accept the forecasts as gospel truth without getting their own data.

    srsosbo - sorry you got all butthurt over that.

  11. #336
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    Good skiing with you again Stew

    I've always liked your risk assessment and adventure threshold but why stir shit up like that?

    KPass Thursday:

  12. #337
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    Due to no new snow again in the Coast - off again to the Pass. Keep going to Bruins and 8812; this time because nothing in the permit areas are open and that has decent fall-line skiing with ridgeline approaches.

    Two pits to assess pack again - once at the low approach to Bruins Ridge and another at near the top of 8812 Bowl. At the top of 8812, we deliberately picked an area close to a rocky outcrop that was hopefully a weak spot in the pack.

    Pit 1 - 2025m, 10:50am, 32deg, E-SE, clear skies, no wind, low valley cloud. Ski pen 15cm, boot pen 50cms

    -1 deg temp

    HS 255cms

    25cm Fist
    25cms 4F
    30cm 1F
    45cm P

    Pit 2 - 205m; 12:45pm, 40 deg, S facing, 0.3 deg temp

    HS 240cms

    5cms MF
    50cms 1F
    60-70 W/S 4F
    120 4F
    120 - 150 1mm facets

    CTH 28 RP

    2nd column cut above a rock with HS 110
    CTM 15 on 110mm facets. Funny the block split into three @ 15 on WS and 25 and 110 on the facets as the block calved off






    Stability results being good, we skied down 8812 and then down off Connaught Creek and out. Slopes were getting sun - affected as the day wore on and snow quality suffered on sunny aspects






    Last edited by LeeLau; 01-16-2009 at 10:38 PM.

  13. #338
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    srsosbo - sorry you got all butthurt over that.
    What you wrote about my post was bullshit, and I answered what you said. Quit being an ass, Lee.

  14. #339
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    Im heading up to Rogers Pass tomorrow and wonder if anyone been there lately. Looking for some beta on what to ski.

    I'm thinking something mellow-angled southfacing and probably in trees. We're starting about 0730 and hoping there is decent skiing and stability on this aspect around 12. Never been there but I read something about grizzly trees, could that be an option? Gimmie your opinions.

  15. #340
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    Quote Originally Posted by srsosbso View Post
    What the fuck are you talking about, LeeLau? My account of the avalanche comes directly from Stewart's blog.

    Per Stewart:
    "I remotely triggered a fairly sizeable (~2.5) avalanche about 50 meters ahead of me... The crown depth varied between 30 and 130cm, and it had propagated about 100m wide."

    Per my post:
    "Someone... had a 100m wide slab release 50m below them, crown height varied between thirty and 130 (yep, one hundred and thirty) cm."

    This has NOTHING to do with the herd mentality you insist upon referencing so regularly. It has to do with someone publicly calling bullshit on the expert opinion that the avalanche hazard is "high" (specifically defined in his post as "Natural and human triggered avalanches likely") and then triggering a significant slab avalanche four days later.

    Stewart is a friend of both of ours, and we both know he is more apt to roll the dice than a lot of people. It is certainly reasonable to question his own questioning of the CAC assessment given the outcome. I also think expecting the CAC to call the overall risk anything BUT high, given the current frequency of human triggered avalanches is not only stupid but irresponsible. Would you prefer that the CAC say that the risk is moderate, and then express surprise when an experienced backcountry skier triggers a 2.5 slide on a moderate slope?
    Christ, I wasn't going to chime in on this, but now I feel I have to. First of all, in regards to your armchair quarterbacking, you weren't there. You're more than welcome to an opinion, but at the end of the day it's worthless. You have absolutely zero right to second guess somebody else's decision to ski something when you find out about it from your monitor.

    In regards to the CAC's and PC's use of the danger level, it's hysterical fear mongering at it's finest. I won't dive to far into this because I want to go to sleep and tour tomorrow, but the next time they leave the danger at considerable for a month, think carefully about what the word 'probable' means to you as a percentage, then think about recent avalanche activity in the area. Even consider that now with the term 'likely' in mind.

    I would be happy to discuss this more, let me know if you're interested and I'll find time soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by FFsup View Post
    Im heading up to Rogers Pass tomorrow and wonder if anyone been there lately. Looking for some beta on what to ski.

    I'm thinking something mellow-angled southfacing and probably in trees. We're starting about 0730 and hoping there is decent skiing and stability on this aspect around 12. Never been there but I read something about grizzly trees, could that be an option? Gimmie your opinions.
    Grizzly Trees are a decent place to familiarize yourself with the area. Given the forecast and recent weather, I wouldn't really recommend them. Stop in the Pass Centre and talk to Luc about the Seven Steps of Paradise, or the Cleaver. He can help guide you in the right direction. Tomorrow will be inversion again, get up high and you will be rewarded.
    Quote Originally Posted by grrrr
    There are good men out there. Good men who are good looking, who ski hard, have their shit in order, know their priorities in life and will make you happy. I'm not one of them, but they are out there.

  16. #341
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiilbert View Post
    -in regards to your armchair quarterbacking, you weren't there....You have absolutely zero right to second guess somebody else's decision to ski something
    Uhhhh... if you reread my post, you'll see that I did not, at any point, armchair quarterback or second guess Stewart's decision to ski anything. What I questioned, in fact, was Stewart's own rather assertive "second guess" of the CAC assessment. He called them on saying the local avalanche hazard was high, and then he triggered a significant slide. Whether and where Stewart skis is his entirely his business and not mine, and I never said otherwise. But he pretty aggressively critiqued the CAC assessment, specifically stating, "there’s great skiing to be had on moderate angled slopes... the probability of a natural release is miniscule, and it would take a very particular set of circumstances for a skier triggered release to occur." And then he triggered a slide on, by his own description, a moderate angled slope.

    I suspect that we probably agree on most of this, and I suspect LeeLau does too. My honest impression is that people are not reading carefully, and are then reacting in print, which is why Lee pissed me off. I am a generally careful thinker and writer (if sober) and I do not appreciate being misquoted. So to clarify what I have written before...
    1)I wouldn't have gone to Old Glory that day, but it is no business of mine if my pal Stewart does, and I never said otherwise.
    2)I do think that Stewart's experience confirmed the high hazard in the alpine that day, in spite of his own expressed opinions to the contrary just days before.
    3)I do think, given that Stew and Andrew were okay, it's funny that Stewart went off on the CAC and their "high hazard" assessment and then triggered a 2.5 slide. So does everyone else I know. Lee and I have to agree to disagree on that one.

    I regret posting anything other than a link to Stewart's account, which would be in keeping with the purpose of this thread.

    Good skiing, everyone.

  17. #342
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    Quote Originally Posted by addict View Post
    Mostly here it seems to be a fairly consistent layer, on top of crust, on top of rotten snow and facet. Most of the pits I'm digging are up high. Also, it's getting hard to find places to dig that are representative, there's been THAT many slides. I've never ever seen anything close to what ymir bowl, 5 mile bowl, etc. look like now, the whole bowl is pretty much one connected crown from west ymir wall all the way around. Even in tight trees, all I've skied in the last week is avy bed.
    Agreed, the one I dug on Thursday in the trees to the lookers left of Goat's, was deffinately where it had slid already (not where you'd expect to see it propagate) and failed on the Dec 12th rain crust. There was another small crust layer under the snow that had fallen since the avi cycle of the previous week. I'm guessing that that is the the layer that failed (durring the cycle) where I dug, as it hadn't gone to ground and was consistent as to the amount we had received since. That Dec12th crust is thick and I don't think it's going away anytime soon, if all year!

    What blew my mind was looking across to the far side of 5-mile and seeing all of those crowns running across the slope in the middle of the thick trees of the burn, well below the bowls. I know they've been burned, but they're thick and you'd think they'd still be good ankcors. Having no growth sure made it visible however and shows what a f@cked snowpack we have!

  18. #343
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    Quote Originally Posted by powderpyg View Post
    what a f@cked snowpack we have!
    I heard second hand (whatever that is worth, which is probably very little) that a CMH heliski guide described this year's snowpack and avalanche situation as the worst he's seen in his 20+ years of guiding for them.

  19. #344
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    Funny... I heard the same thing last year...

    Seriously though, there's still some good skiing out there. The weather has been warm up top at Red, but the lower elevation has been cold enough that the crust is breaking down and Motherlode chair is decent skiing top to bottom. I imagine that WW is also decent. Only Caveat is that there isn't any powpow to be found. You must be a fan of "packed powder." I'm sure if you look hard enough and tread carefully there's some good lines to be had in the b/c around here as well.

  20. #345
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    Quote Originally Posted by snoboy View Post
    Funny... I heard the same thing last year...
    I was just going to say something similar.

    This is what I posted about a year ago after cat skiing at Valhalla:

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldo View Post
    After a slow start to winter in the Kootenays, it snowed a metre and a half in the week prior to our cat skiing trip to Valhalla. Unfortunately, that new snow was sitting on top of a rotten early-season snowpack that local avy forecasters were calling "spooky" and "the scariest they had seen in 30 years."...
    Oh, and Srsbososbos, you seem surprised by the reaction to your post about the slide on Old Glory. But when I read it I was immediately taken back to my teen years and the sound of my Dad saying "I told you so." I'm sure that was not your intent, but it sure came across that way.
    "Good girls go to heaven. Bad ones go to hell. And girls on fast bikes go anywhere they want." Elena

  21. #346
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    Skied today in the Asulkan/Great Glacier side looking for less sun-affected slopes. Had a nice tour to Perley Rock.

    Ran into a group ahead of us that found shallow snowpack (HS 80cms) on NE facing slopes off a ridge. They had hard results on a compression test. We did an ECT test on a WSW facing pit on that same ridge. Depth there was about 200cms and we had no results. Contrary to the PC forecast that said HIGH we would have rated treeline Moderate and Alpine Considerable.

    So we skied and had good snow.










  22. #347
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    Nice pics, Lee, as usual.

    Quote Originally Posted by snoboy View Post
    Funny... I heard the same thing last year.
    I think we all did. If fact, today I was sitting on the paradise deck with my friend Andrew (one of the two guys on Old Glory, coincidentally) and he was saying how last year seemed so sketchy and everyone was talking about what an "anomoly" (his word) the unstable early season conditions were. And now this year, as he pointed out, we have the same thing but worse. Hopefully this isn't a trend!

    And yes, decent skiing on RED today. Jumbo and Ledges were like a good day in late march, which of course was wierd. I half expected to come around a corner and see somebody roasting hotdogs around a fire.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldo View Post
    you seem surprised by the reaction to your post about the slide on Old Glory. But when I read it I was immediately taken back to my teen years and the sound of my Dad saying "I told you so." I'm sure that was not your intent, but it sure came across that way.
    Well, given that I have two teenage sons, I guess it's entirely possible that I'd come across that way even if unwittingly, so point taken. My only issue with the "reaction" as you put it, was with some people flogging me for things I hadn't said, or even thought. I mean, Jeez, those two guys are friends of mine. I only posted it because
    a) I thought the slide was appropriate information for this forum and
    b) I thought/think it was an ironic event after the previous post about the CAC hazard ratings.
    As I said, I now wish I'd left the second part out, and let people see the irony for themselves. Lesson learned.

    EDIT: Should have mentioned, though this is second hand info., 2 buddies of mine went to KOOTENAY PASS today. Report, in brief, was great day walking in the warm sun but heavy, shitty snow. At least where they were.
    Last edited by srsosbso; 01-18-2009 at 12:08 AM.

  23. #348
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    Still not time for a well thought out reply. Robo, my apologies for misquoting you. My initial, half-sober reading left me with the impression that you were second guessing your friends. I've had a lot of people think I'm stupid for skiing lately without having the slightest notion of what my day of skiing entailed, I am going to fucking slap the next shithead that spent all day on the couch and feels they know more about our snowpack than I do. I've also been more and more dissatisfied with our local avy forecasts, for a variety of reasons which include their use of the danger level. Annoyances with both of those got brought out on you to an extent that I really shouldn't have.

    Lee, great to ski with you as always. I made it to work on time, barely. I need to return to those moraines when we have some fresh snow, there are a ton of pillow lines with my name on them.
    Quote Originally Posted by grrrr
    There are good men out there. Good men who are good looking, who ski hard, have their shit in order, know their priorities in life and will make you happy. I'm not one of them, but they are out there.

  24. #349
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    lee-is there still good dry snow out there? I am in calgary working this week then thinking sled skiing in Monashees for next week. Left the coast when the alpine high turned to 10degrees celcius...

  25. #350
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiilbert View Post
    Robo, my apologies for misquoting you.
    No problemo.

    It's great to hear that people like yourself are still getting out there, armed with the knowledge and skills to make good terrrain choices and very local assessments of snowpack stability in order to have at 'er and make it home safely. I am definitely in a lower skill category- partly from skiing mostly in the Rossland area for years where our snowpack has been, historically, so mercifully benign. I know enough to recognize danger, but being able to reliably identify safe skiing in the context of overall higher risk is sometimes beyond me.

    I do think the CAC is in an awkward position, as a government agency under media scrutiny. Had they dropped the risk from "high" a week ago, and yet another sled-head had bought it in the backcountry, the media and non-BC experienced public would have had a field day with them. I suspect they feel compelled to assess risk according to the highest risk in a given region, versus, say, average, because as Cookie pointed out, they are not making slope, or even area, specific assessments. This is part of the reason I disagreed with Stewart- not for going skiing himself, but for expecting them to drop the overall hazard assessment.

    While I'm at it (and I know this belongs in the slide zone forum, but whatever) I am reading the latest edition of the Bruce Tremper "Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain" book and I would highly recommend it, if only for the killer cover photo.

    One of the more alarming stats is with regard to the relative risk reduction with transeivers, which, in recreational users amounts to all of a 10% drop in mortality in people caught in slides. I realize that data likely includes morons who strapped a beacon on without spending ten minutes learning how to use it, but nonetheless... Anyway, he also has some data on avalanche airbags, where the mortality drops from an overall of 10% to (in a sample of about 200) just 1.5%. I got the feeling he expects use of these to become routine in the near future. Turns out the 'why' of their use is different than I would have imagined. He talks about avalanches flowing in a "granular" pattern, which he compares to shaking up a bag of Doritos and the big, intact chips go to the top and the crumbs go to the bottom. The relevant variable is not weight or density, it's sheer volume, which explains why snowmobilers die and their machines often end up on top. Tremper himself skis with a very large pack stuffed with down jacket and pants for this reason, which is the OPPOSITE of what I was taught 15 years ago- to ski with pack undone and lose pack if caught in a slide. (All this data on safety and victim size is bad news for my wife, who comes in just shy of 5'1" and 107lbs. Which reminds me to check the "plea to Ullr thread." But I digress...) The other thing he points out is that, in Canada, 50% of avalanche fatalities are trauma related (vs. asphyxiation) and so, again, transeivers are not a great help, whereas these bags, because they keep you on top, keep you out of trauma.

    Anyway, sorry for going on about something that is unrelated to "interior BC ski conditions."
    Last edited by srsosbso; 01-18-2009 at 10:16 AM.

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