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Thread: Rogers Pass avy

  1. #1
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    Rogers Pass avy

    This is from the same trip Sharon & Lee posted on monday, but I wanted to put this video separately. This is probably the best video I will ever take!

    Here is the report:

    Glacier National Park

    Issued:
    Sunday, January 10, 2010 08:00

    Avalanche Activity:
    Several natural avalanches, size 2, occurred yesterday from steep north facing startzones in association with the rising winds. These events stopped at the top of normal runouts. Similar natural activity is possible today.

    Skier-triggered avalanches are continuing with increasing frequency on the Dec 29th surface hoar 30 to 50cm deep with 3 events reported yesterday. On a west aspect of Avalanche Crest at 2300m a slab was triggered near the ridgeline that subsequently initiated a wider slab at 1800m. The bed surface was surface hoar on a suncrust and the avalanche, size 2-2.5, ran 600m to the bench below.
    W facing pit about 100m below on the ridge gave moderate results. Clearly the crust/surface hoar was sheltered from the wind in some areas and not others so it's very unpredictable at higher elevations. Luckily our buddy skied onto the tree anchor easily and stayed out of the slide - but it could have been ugly.

    The runout:


    The video:
    [ame="http://vimeo.com/8681416"]http://vimeo.com/8681416[/ame]

  2. #2
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    That will get your attention. Glad your bud is safe.

  3. #3
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    nice vid. You can almost see it break right as he hits the convex rollover. Glad nobody got hurt.

  4. #4
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    nice save on his part, he didn't seem to panic which no doubt helped....and nice to ahve that clump of trees right below him!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AsheanMT View Post
    nice vid. You can almost see it break right as he hits the convex rollover. Glad nobody got hurt.
    Wurd, looked like the ideal spot to ski cut.
    I don't work and I don't save, desperate women pay my way.

  6. #6
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    wow, nice save. that avi accelerated and slid damn fast.

    edit: wait, is that Lee *laughing* at 0:05?

  7. #7
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    Everyone was actually pretty silent. My reaction was more along the lines of relief that he didn't die.

  8. #8
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    Who is that in the slide? Super tall guy from AK?
    I have a few friends down in the area... although the black coat would be an addition to his ski wardrobe.

  9. #9
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    close call, but you know it's all good when Lee and Sharon start heckling from the peanut gallery

  10. #10
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    The Canadian accents really add to the ambiance.

  11. #11
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    I'm the skier in that video. I do feel fairly lucky and also pretty stupid about the whole thing. I had done a number of stability tests on the way up that made me feel pretty good, but a simple hand pit on that slope would have shown me the easy Q1 shear, SH on sun crust. We had expected super touchy SH at TL, but not on an exposed ridge in the alpine.

    The turn that initiated the slab was MUCH harder than my turns before it, my thinking is that the extra force was enough to get it to pop. Not to say it wouldn't have gone anyways...

    Midway through that turn I noticed a few things were off. The snow was much deeper there and the turn felt a little strange, mostly I just had a feeling that something was wrong. I was already skiing towards the mini tree island and decided it was a great impromptu place to stop. I had no clue that I had triggered the slide until just before it knocked me off of my feet. At that point I let myself get pushed onto the trees, put an edge against them and held my ground.

    The initial size 1 ran for 400m down a gully before hitting a slightly steeper bench at TL. When it got there, the slide propagated big time and it turned into a solid size 2, running for another 2-300m before stopping just above the mature trees. The debris deposition wasn't that deep, probably not enough to totally bury me. The ride down had a number of sharp pointy things that stood a good chance of fucking up my day. Thankfully I got to watch it all from the top.

    Lee can be heard at the end of the video telling me I can traverse back to the group, but there was a slightly different aspect between us that didn't slide. I wasn't eager to cross it and the remainder of my group didn't want to ski down it. By far the smartest and safest option was for me to ski the rest of the run solo and for the group to find another way down, I think they picked one of the slopes I had previously booted a cornice onto. Lee was able to see my entire run top to bottom, I had some great turns down it just beside the track and stopped at the bottom to poke around a bit. I then hit the trees and proceeded back to the car to wait.

    I think staying calm in bad situations is one of the best traits anybody can look for in a back country partner. Certainly it helped keep me out of trouble and also allowed my group to leave me and go somewhere safer. I'm grateful I was skiing with like-minded people who didn't overreact.

    The picture below shows (from left to right) where I dropped in, where the video/pictures were shot from and where the slide stopped. My line and the avy basically follow the sunny ridge between the arrows. The steep bench in the middle is where it turned into a size 2.

    Please don't tell my mother, she sleeps better at night not knowing these things. Questions? Comments?

    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.

  12. #12
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    Nice write-up, and glad you're ok.
    Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.

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  13. #13
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    gotta like that brazilian wax job on that pitch. The snow, she just loves to go down on that slope.

  14. #14
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    son of a bitch, from the video you'd think it was going to be a mellow run. then you pull back to show the whole slide zone. Holy shit, you would of had a bad time. Glad you are ok.
    Falling feels like flying........for a little while.

  15. #15
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    thanks for posting all that, way to keep your head up!

  16. #16
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    Saved by the shrubbery

  17. #17
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    Very interesting thread.

    Data sampling, including the results of snowpack tests, is one of the primary contributors to what you believe about the presence of instability and its parameters. This events outlined in this thread are a great example of the relationship between data sampling and a person's beliefs about instability.

    Wiibert or others, if you don't mind answering, do you feel that your awareness of instability was low because you didn't test the snowpack higher up? What was your level of uncertainty? Do you feel that your perception of instability was shaped by the bulletin more so than your observations?

    ( Can I preempt any potential TGR snark by saying that I'm simply curious. This is not an attempt to judge, critique, snark, quarterback, etc. )

    Thanks to Wiilbert and Lee for providing this information.

  18. #18
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    I just had coffee with someone else who ski cut a solid class 2 all the way to the road a couple of days ago. I'm not familar with what specific area or the any other details, but it sounds super sketch up there right now.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CookieMonster View Post
    Very interesting thread.

    Data sampling, including the results of snowpack tests, is one of the primary contributors to what you believe about the presence of instability and its parameters. This events outlined in this thread are a great example of the relationship between data sampling and a person's beliefs about instability.

    Wiibert or others, if you don't mind answering, do you feel that your awareness of instability was low because you didn't test the snowpack higher up? What was your level of uncertainty? Do you feel that your perception of instability was shaped by the bulletin more so than your observations?

    ( Can I preempt any potential TGR snark by saying that I'm simply curious. This is not an attempt to judge, critique, snark, quarterback, etc. )

    Thanks to Wiilbert and Lee for providing this information.
    I don't mind answering and I'm thrilled to see a lack of quarterbacking in this thread.

    On our climb up the ridge line, I stopped and dug a pit. The SH scored ECTN, ECTN, CTM12 Q2 (if memory serves). I also booted 2 different cornices off, neither weighed more than 50lbs though. All of these tests were on perfectly representative slopes. With all of that, I felt we had a pretty good handle on stability. Lee and I put it at fair with moderate-considerable danger.

    As I was skinning up the slope that I skied, I gave a couple good stomps on my kick turns and poked around a bit. I subsequently found out that one of our group had started to follow me, but his quick hand pit made him back off. He was a self-proclaimed chicken shit, so I'm not certain if I would have done anything differently had I known. In hindsight, and essentially the one lesson I took from this is to dig more hand pits. They're easy, fast and give decent information. I regret not doing a crown profile, but I wasn't exactly in the greatest spot.

    Ultimately, I put too much stock into my previous tests and should have more thoroughly checked out my line before dropping in. A slight difference in slope angle and aspect made all the difference it seems.

    In regards to the Glacier bulletin, I feel that it's a steaming pile of shit at the best of times. At the worst of times it's fear mongering and misinformation. I don't think I read it before leaving that day, nor would I have taken much of it to heart if I had. In my mind it's one of many tools that I use, my own observations are worth far more to my decision making though.

    The other mistake that I made was forgetting about the sun crust. I had been skiing a similar aspect for a few days prior to that. On the way up I had intended to take us to a more open NW facing shot because I knew the crust disappeared north of 270°. The rest of the group decided not to ski that shot and I simply spaced out about the crust when we dropped in.

    I hope that all makes sense, I'm happy to clarify if anybody wants.
    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.

  20. #20
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    Wink Need clarification on colour of your ski pants

    An old joke:

    Long ago lived a seaman named Captain Dan. He was a manly man who showed no fear in facing his enemies. One day, while sailing the seven seas, a look-out spotted a pirate ship and the crew became frantic. Captain Dan bellowed, ''Bring me my Red Shirt.'' The First Mate quickly retrieved the captain's red shirt and whilst wearing the bright red frock he led his men into battle and defeated the pirates.

    Later on that day, the look-out spotted not one, but two pirate ships. The captain again called for his red shirt and once again, though the fighting was fierce, he was victorious over the two ships. That evening, all the men sat around on the deck recounting the day's triumphs and one of the them asked the captain, ''Sir, why do you call for your red shirt before battle? The captain replied, ''If I am wounded in the attack, the shirt will not show my blood and thus, you men will continue to fight, unafraid.''

    All of the men sat in silence and marveled at the courage of such a manly man as Captain Dan. As dawn came the next morning, the look-out spotted not one, not two, but TEN pirates ships approaching from the far horizon. The crew stared at the captain and waited for his usual reply.

    Captain Dan calmly shouted, ''Get me my brown pants.''
    "Good girls go to heaven. Bad ones go to hell. And girls on fast bikes go anywhere they want." Elena

  21. #21
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    Self proclaimed chicken shit here.

    The biggest lesson to take way from this is one that has not been touched on. Group dynamics. They play a huge roll in the back country and go largely ignored.

    We were a large group (6). Of those 6 I had only met 3 before. We had zero ability to read each other or to know whose judgment to trust. Though it was pretty obvious from the start the Wiibert and I were at opposite ends of the spectrum when is comes to acceptable risk.

    I don’t blame Wiilbert for not trusting my opinion. I was feeling very gun shy. Even though I had 25 or so day touring under my belt to the west, I had not skied the pass yet this year. in the week leading up to this we had seen much avalanche activity. A couple of my friends had gone for rides. I really was not feeling it. Even I was questioning my decision to back down considering how sure Wiilbert was. But there was no way in hell I was going to ski that slope. Nothing about it seemed right to me. The quick hand shear I did was the straw that broke the back. (sorry for the cliché)

    Wiilbert was pretty sure of what he wanted to ski, I was willing to look at it but more then willing to turn back. The rest of the group fell into two camps split along those lines. Some did not even want to look at the line. That sort of forced The decision not to carry on along the ridge and to drop in sooner then planned. The decision happened quickly and with a huge amount of compromise.

    Just wanted to add my observations to the pot. Well Wiibert was busy charging up the ridge, I had a small slab pop under my skis on a convex roll and slip on a very smooth surface. Lots of settlements along the ridge following Wiilberts skin track. Something I’ve noticed a lot is that the first guy seldom gets any reaction along the skin track, it the next two people along who really gather the info. I’ve been in this situation before where I have been setting skin track keen to ski something, the people behind me have been noticing settlements. Gone ignored, those days have all ended with some one going for a ride.

    that’s about it. From me. It was good to see you in the lift line the other day Wiilbert. Take it easy.

    Adrian.
    Last edited by Joe Dick; 01-17-2010 at 05:34 PM.

  22. #22
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    In regards to the Glacier bulletin, I feel that it's a steaming pile of shit at the best of times. At the worst of times it's fear mongering and misinformation
    Why is that? You spend alot of days in the pass so I would be curious to hear how you come to that opinion...

  23. #23
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    Thanks to everyone for the information. From the posts, I gather:

    1. The members of the group were split on the forecast:

    A. Stability Fair. Chance of triggering > Size 1 avalanche is not significant.
    B. Stability Poor. Significant chance of triggering > Size 1 avalanche.

    2. There was some difficulty in reaching agreement about which forecast was accurate?

    A. Side 1: Stability is fair but we can manage the risk.
    B. Side 2: Stability is poor and we cannot manage the risk.

    3. For Joe Dick, when you describe lots of "settlements along the ridge", are you talking about whumpfing?

    4. For Wiilbert, do you dislike the ParksCanada bulletin because you find the bulletin is inaccurate for specific slopes? I believe the PC GNP bulletin is a meso-scale product, which means that there are significant limitations in its applicability to *specific* slopes inside the park.

    I would expect the bulletin to accurately describe the general conditions in the park or highway corridor and, since the bulletin covers a large area, I would only expect the bulletin to contain a high precision forecast only when instability is high or low. Most of the time instability is in the middle of the spectrum, and I would expect high uncertainty from the bulletin during those times.

    I believe there are 144 paths that affect the roadway, so it's a pretty big job. Not sure how much information from specific drainages is available for the forecast, if I remember correctly, a lot of the data for Connaught, Asulkan, and Loop are supplied by guides and/or recreational skiers.

    Thanks again to Wilkez, Lee, Wiilbert, and Joe Dick for sharing this information.

  24. #24
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    Doesn't seem like fearmongering, misinformation or a steaming pile of shit to me:-

    Issued:
    Saturday, January 9, 2010 08:00
    Valid Until:
    Until Further Notice
    Bulletin Area:
    This bulletin covers the areas adjacent to the Trans Canada Highway corridor in Glacier National Park and the drainages directly accessed from this corridor.

    Large Areas of Glacier National Park Are CLOSED For Avalanche Control Using EXPLOSIVES For access information visit the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre

    Danger Rating:
    Saturday Sunday Monday
    Alpine 3-Considerable 3-Considerable 3-Considerable
    Treeline 3-Considerable 3-Considerable 3-Considerable
    Below Treeline 2-Moderate 2-Moderate 2-Moderate
    Avalanche Danger Rating Descriptions



    Synopsis:
    Significant changes to the Winter Permit System are now in effect. Before touring in Rogers Pass, get more information here.

    Approximately 50cm of storm snow is settling on a layer of surface hoar which is highly variable over elevation and terrain in regard to layer thickness and sensitivity. This layer is most reactive at and near treeline. On steep southeast to southwest aspects the surface hoar sits on top of a thin sun crust. While the instance of naturally occurring avalanches on this layer has diminished, the combination of settling storm snow and the lingering nature of the weak layer make backcountry conditions highly susceptible to human triggering. Caution is advised particularly at treeline when entering sheltered areas, steep open slopes with convex features and avoid gullies and terrain traps.

    In the alpine, rising winds and additional new snow will increase the possiblity of windslabs near ridgecrests today and through the weekend.

    Highlights of recent snowpack investigations on a variety of aspects at and below treeline include rutschblock scores of 1 and 2 with the whole block failing down 35 to 45 cm on the surface hoar layer. The existence of suncrust under the surface hoar was noted on the SW facing slope on Grizzly Shoulder.

    Avalanche Activity:
    Natural activity has been minimal for the past few days, however some natural activity may be possible today with the rising winds.

    At and near treeline, many reports of skier controlled and accidental avalanches have been observed or reported over the past week. Failure depths were 35 to 40cm and involved the Dec 29th surface hoar or surface hoar/crust combination. Avalanche sizes were reported as 1.0 to 1.5 with crown widths up to 40m and running to 40m in length.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by relic View Post
    Saved by the shrubbery
    you sir, just cracked my shit up. bravo
    when everything in the world is at its darkest, it takes a big man to kick back and party.

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