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  1. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    This is as much as we can really say so far... most of those who really know what the deal was we are mourning for... there is but one who can enlighten us and I feel great sympathy for the pain they are enduring.
    This. Seems to me that all we really know at this point is six knowledgeable, experienced and well-equipped folks got caught in a pretty freakin' huge slide and only one survived.

    Only Jerome Boulay knows where the party was and what they were doing when it ripped. Seems to me like these are relatively important data points to any informed discussion of who/how/whether there were fuckups.

    Condolences to family and friends of the deceased - and to Jerome Boulay, who I suspect is going through a special brand of hell right now. I hope all affected find peace.
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  2. #152
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    Godspeed to the deceased, didn't know them but much respect for them given what I've read.

    Quote Originally Posted by SheRa View Post

    But I am responding here to say that I do not find climbing and skiing fun because of the danger. Personally. I love to climb, to breathe deep, to be out in the wilderness, to be at the top, to plot out a route, evaluate the snow, engage with the mountain, with the real world. So much to love. I ski just about every day, I love it so very much. The adrenaline, I can live without it. Personally.

    While I fear and dread the chance of dying in a slide or even going down inbounds from cranking down a groomer and beatering into the woods (which happens plenty), I would rather die skiing than spend my life in a padded room. To me that's only half living. I must be outside doing my snow dance.
    x10

    Fuck adrenaline. Sunrise on an untracked peak, or diving to 120 ft below the sea to explore a shipwreck. The views are awe inspiring, feeling one with this earth while humbly taking in it's beauty is what it is about for me. I can list about a dozen experiences where in the moment, they were the only times I've ever been at peace in my life. The drive to explore, to challenge yourself, to put in the effort it takes to experience what 99% of the people this earth never will.
    Best Regards,

    UMKP

    "Peter, You've been missing a lot of work lately".
    "I wouldn't exactly say I've been missing it, Bob".

  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    Actually, Loveland Pass is in both Vail/Summit and Front Range zones.
    Yea... this one falls in the Front Range

    Truly one should always read both zones... or all zones.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  4. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    Yea... this one falls in the Front Range

    Truly one should always read both zones... or all zones.
    On this day it really didn't matter which zone it was in, the forecasts for the two zones were very similar. Just trying to illustrate a point. But yeah, north/east of the divide is in clear creek and the "front range" and south/west of the divide is "summit/vail" and this incident was north/east of the divide.

  5. #155
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    There are two kinds of risk--subjective and objective. I get a thrill--happiness--out of skiing something at the limits of my ability, knowing that I could get hurt if I fail. (Not likely die--I don't ski that kind of terrain, although even a groomer is "fall and you might possibly die" terrain of course). I got the same thrill from technical rock and ice climbing back in the day. Getting your thrills from skiing in a high avy risk situation is another matter. Your survival doesn't depend on your skill (I'm not talking about the skill of avoiding risk, I'm talking about knowingly taking significant risk) but on luck. I've skied the Vallee Blanche 3 times. Every time someone had recently died in a crevasse (once a guide, once a PGHM). I got no thrill from skiing over crevasses I couldn't see and knowing if I was unlucky I might fall in. Didn't stop me from doing it--the level of risk was personally acceptable to me (my folks are dead, my wife could definitely do better, I guess my grown kids would miss me)--but that wasn't the fun of it. And the best part of it wasn't the skiing or the scenery--it was the fact I was doing it with a son every time.
    Believe it or not people who live humdrum, safe lives are not dead--they may be very happy and content. If you find fun and satisfaction and happiness doing a sport that has significant risk, as I do, so be it, but don't think that life has no meaning without risk, or that a life lived without risk is not worth living. For most people their family and friends are what makes them happy, and they might well criticize us for risking our lives and placing your sport above our personal relationships--knowing the effect our loss will have on those who love us.

  6. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by telebobski View Post
    Condolences to family and friends of the deceased - and to Jerome Boulay, who I suspect is going through a special brand of hell right now. I hope all affected find peace.
    I feel for that guy. Hope he is surrounded by people who love him right now.
    On first

  7. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by DasBlunt View Post
    How could anyone not heed such a windloaded terrain trap?
    Assuming it was a windloaded terrain trap--you may be qualified to judge that, I am not--it's easy to see how they did not heed it. They didn't see it. We see what we want to see, we ignore what we don't want to see, what goes against our convictions or what we want to do. We do it subconsciously. We all do it. And we don't know we're doing it. Let's hope evolution isn't done with the brain.

  8. #158
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    there is definitely a different feeling that comes with doing something risky. for me more often than not it is in the form of an exposed line or largish air or high speed run. for those things you accept the risk and are rewarded for it after by having faced the fear and overcoming it. i know somehow i need that because i constantly find myself doing things that have me puckered up until i do them.

    avalanche risk is different. at least for me, you go because you believe the risk is not present or the consequences won't be severe. so when you make it down you don't get the benefit of feeling you overcame a particular risk. the one time i felt i went in a situation that scared me (yeah, i didn't speak up), afterward i didn't feel any reward or relief. i only felt stupid.
    powdork.com - new and improved, with 20% more dork.

  9. #159
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    and snowpits. many folks will ski a line if they want to ski a line no matter what the pit tells em. digging a pit makes them feel safer cuz they think they covered one more base.

    rog

  10. #160
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    I don't like horror movies and I've never really been a huge fan of rollercoasters. Being scared doesn't excite me. It frightens me.

    Escaping suffocation alone in a cold, icy tomb with broken bones isn't a thrill. Flying weightless through steep and deep snow is. And one that I intend to enjoy for at least a little while longer.

    Maybe it's a function of being a few years older and having lost so many friends to the mountains, but, increasingly, I don't look at turning back from a line (or any objective really) as failure. I see it as incredibly courageous.

    Returning to the case at hand: I knew Rick. I trained with him and I toured with him. He wasn't a risk-taker. He was humble and realistic. He was a strong, talented rider, an inquisitive and observant snow scientist and a patient and caring teacher. I also know that area on LL Pass. I can easily understand how his group could have been working the edges of that feature to gain suitable position to further assess the snow.

    Many commentators over the past day have assumed that this group myopically marched up the gut of an obvious slide path and that this indicates an obvious lack of a trip plan and/or ignorance of the bulletin in the face of heuristic pressures, or an elevated risk-acceptance level and inflated faith in their ability. These commentators need to shut the fuck up and let the adults do the talking.

    Learn from this tragedy about your own risk tolerance, but let's not use such discussion to rationalize our own weaknesses or minimize our prior mistakes. Certainly human factors contributed. Almost certainly group size played a role. There's much more to it that we won't understand until all the facts are in. There will be as much that we won't know even after the facts are in. Until then let's take more than a minute to slow down and recognize that these valuable members of our community were our friends and that our world will be a little dimmer without them.

    Donny Roth looked at risk in a recent article on his blog.

  11. #161
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    Heartfelt condolences to all friends and loved ones. Hard to loose someone so young.

    Read the whole thread as I just learned of this today-been avoiding news outlets. Some weird stuff posted in here. I understand the rest of TGR, but why the fuck in a thread about loss of people who love what we love.

    Foggy goggles makes some good points.

    This is the dragon I am most scared of-when it rips deep down and I am crossing underneath it.

  12. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by georgio View Post
    It's a combination. I've spoken about this before but the area CAIC forecasts for in the "Front Range" zone (which is where this area falls) is fucking massive and has hugely variable snowpack. What the conditions up in RMNP were last weekend and what the conditions at Loveland Pass were (and to that point what the conditions in Pikes Peak were because that's in the zone as well) were hugely different. What has happened in those areas snowpack wise all year is hugely different. So to place the blame on CAIC is probably misguided, they would need more funds to be able to split up the regions into smaller zones.

    That said they were in a terrain trap below a considerable slope that closely resembled slopes that had slid naturally nearby. But if you look at the pictures and know that area ... It's not an intimidating area (at least before this it wasn't to me). I would have been right out there with them without much of a second thought. Of course after this I'd really fucking think twice. On top of that remotely triggering something from below (at least to me) is one of the harder things to account for. Especially on a slope that large. To think you could trigger something that massive remotely to me indicates that it is much more unstable than a considerable rating would indicate. Well see if the ratings change next year (to be more like the UAC) helps that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bean View Post
    I bet the official report will answer this question.


    You keep repeating this as if it were relevant to this incident.
    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    Loveland Pass is part of the Vail/Summit Forecast Zone
    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    Actually, Loveland Pass is in both Vail/Summit and Front Range zones.
    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    Yea... this one falls in the Front Range

    Truly one should always read both zones... or all zones.
    Quote Originally Posted by georgio View Post
    On this day it really didn't matter which zone it was in, the forecasts for the two zones were very similar. Just trying to illustrate a point. But yeah, north/east of the divide is in clear creek and the "front range" and south/west of the divide is "summit/vail" and this incident was north/east of the divide.
    From the posts above, there is confusion about the CAIC website's classification of regions, I also think pow fever is contained there too. On the right side of the main page are snowfall totals. Why can't that data point be more pinpoint area summations of dangers and unusual situations? We had some crazy weather last week, Tuesday was nuts, and things were actually melting out at the base of Loveland. Variable and unpredictable to say the least.

    Year after year that I have been on TGR in Slide Zone, watched how events unfold, I have seen a lot of bad luck and most times the conversation ends with that, but more often not, very little critique of the warning systems or information gathered. Scott writes awesome, and his words are easy for me to understand, but many folks have a hard time with reading so much, in such a large paragraph form.
    Terje was right.

    "We're all kooks to somebody else." -Shelby Menzel

  13. #163
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    I'm sorry I contributed to the thread drift here.

    I have nothing but respect for the victims and for their families and the rescuers. I hope that the survivors will be able to process this incident and deal with it a healthy way.

    I keep wanting to say they did everything right, but since this happened, something went wrong. That not suposed to be judgmental or mean, but the facts indicate something went wrong. I look forward to seeing the CAIC report, and maybe hearing from Jerome, if he ever decides to share his story.

    All that said, for me, life with a guard rail around at all times sounds awful. But neither do I go out looking for trouble. You might not understand where I'm coming from, but the gist of it is that I don't care to live life in a bubble. I don't think many people do. That is all I'm going to say about it here.

  14. #164
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    It's good to hear lots of veterans chiming in to give their perspecitves on risk in backcountry skiing. Being The Slide Zone, I thought this was the place to discuss these types of things. The 'vibes' threads are for Ski/Snowboard, no? When something this big happens, it is good time to step back and look at the bigger picture. That process is good for all of us, and will help to keep us centered in our outlook going forward.

    Giving CAIC a hard time here is BS. What do you expect them to do? Get real, they do a great job. The variability that exists in the real world shouldnt come as a surprise. When CAIC gets to choose from 5 danger ratings, how precise can it possibly be? All this just points more to the fact that the backcountry is complex, infinitely complex, and ultimately we have to make decisions based on the information we decide to be relevent. Get used to it.

    I think everyone here agrees that risk is part of the game. Most seem to agree that more reward with less risk makes for better fun and better outcomes. No need to oversimplify there. The more we can understand about reward-based recreation, the more we can be stoked on what we all do. When it all goes down, and the risk is about to kill or maim us, I think we all have second thoughts about whether it was worth it. No shame in being honest about that.

    For all the BS, there's been a lot of wisdom dropped in this thread. Wisdom about risk and decision making, not snowpits and avy reports. I hope we can all learn from it. Come home safe. Stay stoked. Learn from the elders. When you do high risk stuff, remember that old and bold dont go together. Stay humble.

  15. #165
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    I'm looking at risk a little differently.

    Skiing/riding big lines is taking a risk. We each calculate the danger, but regardless, it's still a risk. So is scrambling, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, etc. etc. If you want to excel and strive to improve at your craft, you'll naturally elevate your exposure to risk.

    Looking at high alpine sports, things change. Of course, the activity still has its risk, but there's the new danger of the very ground you stand on changing. That gently sloping snowfield? Walk over it and you'll get swallowed into a crevice. Crossing a wide valley? All the experience and knowledge in the world won't save you if Mother Nature decides to break off a 700' avalanche above you.

    Hiking big mountains? You'll see storm systems miles away. Inbounds slide danger is near zero with modern control work. The same section of river doesn't change from placid to Class IV in seconds. Trees don't reach out and knock you off your bike. Avalanches? They form in seconds and will kill your entire party with ease.

    It reminds me of the NYT headline from the Tunnel Creek tragedy "A few friends went to ski near Stevens Pass, then the mountain moved". Very few sports, outside of mountaineering, will expose you to that level of terror.

  16. #166
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    Terror? It doesn't have to be that. When you're at altitude it ought to be humility and respect. You're in something bigger than yourself. Closer to heaven than hell.

    The thing that's baffling me about this accident is why sheep creek? Even on a great year that line is scree-filled with variable snow and the total vert is small. It funnels to a difficult to navigate terrain trap. Very few safe zones. I wonder if those guys were familiar with it? We may never know.

    Anyway, this is a sad loss. Pour one out.

  17. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skihuckster View Post
    Terror? It doesn't have to be that. When you're at altitude it ought to be humility and respect. You're in something bigger than yourself. Closer to heaven than hell.
    Sure thing. I don't think any rational outdoor enthusiast would say otherwise.

    Point is "humility" and "respect" don't mean a damn thing when mother nature turns the ground you stand on into a river of snow and ice instantly.

  18. #168
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    Some may have not read TARs latest issue focused on managing uncertainty. Cover article linky
    http://www.americanavalancheassociat...31_4_Cover.pdf

    I sort of like his idea about thinking out loud on tour. Might get a little tiresome for people seeking tranquility though.

    The whole issue is well worth the read for anybody thinking about how they can make smarter decisions.
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  19. #169
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    Thinking out loud is the way to go!

    Communication time. Communication time.

    We are all flying over the cuckoo's nest.

  20. #170
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    I remember going to a talk by the U of Calgary on relative risk in the backcountry and managed to find the article. The calcs are pretty rough but worth the read

    http://www.ucalgary.ca/asarc/system/...9_Jamieson.pdf

    The other tid-bit I recall was that having a female in a group reduced the relative risk by ~80% as females are much more willing to speak up if they feel uncomfortable with a decision/terrain choice than your typical male. Since then, I've always tried to to speak up when I don't like something (with varying degrees of success).

  21. #171
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    Not sure if this has been posted on here yet, but wanted to reshare it even if so

    http://www.wildsnow.com/9938/mike-be...eek-avalanche/

    Joe T was a friend and a very respected member of BC community of vail. Having gone on many a trip with him, he would always be one of my top 5 choices for guys to go into the back with. Very safe, very aware, very cautious.

    Its all fucking voodoo. Ive been an asshole at times and not followed precautions when should have, yet here i am typing this. These are guys that i know from experience are willing to turn back when they dont feel comfortable. It is really fucking awful.

    Ill be riding my bike for the rest of the season.

  22. #172
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    one thing we keep hearing is that they triggered the slide from below. is that something known or just something that's been reported over enough times it's been taken for granted. it seems to be at least equally as likely to have been a natural release.
    i know the sierra are vastly different but wet snow is wet snow and to me it is more consistent with a natural release from above due to dramatic change in loads rather than fragile midwinter snowpack that releases from a hair trigger a distance away. of course, this arm chair quarterbacking is also based on the sheriffs assessment that there's a lot of wet snow back there which may not have been the case at all.
    it changes nothing though, in regards to outcome or prior decision making.
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  23. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slurr P View Post
    Its all fucking voodoo.
    this^^^^^^^^^been saying it for years myself. and being humble/respectful means absolutely NOTHING when you fuck up. "oh but he/she was so humble" makes me laugh everytime. nice when they're around i guess, but when their dead it doesn't mean shit cept for warm fuzzy memories for loved ones.

    rog

  24. #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    one thing we keep hearing is that they triggered the slide from below. is that something known or just something that's been reported over enough times it's been taken for granted. it seems to be at least equally as likely to have been a natural release.
    i know the sierra are vastly different but wet snow is wet snow and to me it is more consistent with a natural release from above due to dramatic change in loads rather than fragile midwinter snowpack that releases from a hair trigger a distance away. of course, this arm chair quarterbacking is also based on the sheriffs assessment that there's a lot of wet snow back there which may not have been the case at all.
    it changes nothing though, in regards to outcome or prior decision making.
    build a tower of blocks, then pull out the bottom block(s)

    they were skinning up. coulda been a natural i guess. what timing if so.

    rog

  25. #175
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    "...it seems to be at least equally as likely to have been a natural release...."

    i know it's a lot easier for all the experts and bloggers who weren't there to interject themselves in this tragedy if they can blame it on someone but what if this was simply bad luck?
    F-R-O-double-G

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