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  1. #176
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    "If you're in the mountains in the mountains and you're in the backcountry, you're putting yourself at risk....and No one is above the law" - Jeremy Jones.

    Condolences to anyone touched or involved with this disaster.

  2. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    it seems to be at least equally as likely to have been a natural release.
    I take issue with the statement about equal likilihood. Greater than 90% of groups involved in avalanche accidents trigger the slides that affect them. The other fraction are slides triggered by other groups or naturals.

    The reason these things *seem* like voodoo and risk *feels* random is that humans are absolutely awful at making risk analysis regarding high consequence, unquantified low likelihood events.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  3. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinner View Post
    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.

    [
    Good point.
    As they were found bunched with skins I wondered if they had someone go down, loose gear, etc. The facts will come out, and at this point beyond a learning mechanism they don't matter.

    I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry for my public navel gazing. I'll STFU now.

  4. #179
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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.
    It could have changed prior decision making completely, CAIC's website does not seem to have a history of reports, so I cant see that days prognosis. Again, not a critique of CAIC, jsut an observation.

    Spring-like rapidly changing snow conditions at all elevations WITH Winter like snow within 8-14 days was the rule. Lower elevations that I was on, saw RAPID ( crazy) melting 4 days before, re-freeze and more snow 3, 2, 1 days before.
    Terje was right.

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

  5. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    I take issue with the statement about equal likilihood. Greater than 90% of groups involved in avalanche accidents trigger the slides that affect them. The other fraction are slides triggered by other groups or naturals.
    that 90% includes people skiing lines. if you were only to include groups that had large avalanches come down on top of them, the % would drop dramatically. and it is also possible there was someone on top of them.


    Quote Originally Posted by DasBlunt View Post
    It could have changed prior decision making completely, CAIC's website does not seem to have a history of reports, so I cant see that days prognosis. Again, not a critique of CAIC, jsut an observation.
    my point was whether you're avoiding the slope because you're afraid of triggering it or afraid of it releasing naturally doesn't matter. you still avoid it.
    powdork.com - new and improved, with 20% more dork.

  6. #181
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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.
    Someone on TTips who I trust, someone who is knowledgeable, knows the CAIC folk (may even do some work for them?), posted "Apparently they heard a very loud collapse while they were out on the slope that propagated up the slope. From what I understand all the investigators agree that they triggered it." FWIW.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

  7. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by DasBlunt View Post
    It could have changed prior decision making completely, CAIC's website does not seem to have a history of reports, so I cant see that days prognosis. Again, not a critique of CAIC, jsut an observation.
    An incorrect observation. Go here: https://avalanche.state.co.us/pub_bc_avo.php?zone_id=1 and scroll to the bottom. You can get any forecast you'd like.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

  8. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    my point was whether you're avoiding the slope because you're afraid of triggering it or afraid of it releasing naturally doesn't matter. you still avoid it.
    This is the only thing I've been thinking since I first heard about this accident, especially the last part.

  9. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    my point was whether you're avoiding the slope because you're afraid of triggering it or afraid of it releasing naturally doesn't matter. you still avoid it.
    QFT

    .....this is what I'm still struggling with. How did they miss the obvious terrain trap and slide path? Maybe its obvious to me because its my backyard and its dangers have been discussed many a time by myself and the people at Loveland I know and ride with, I dunno.
    Quote Originally Posted by DoWork
    Well we really came up with jong because it was becoming work to call all the johnny-come-lately whiny twats like yourself ball-licking, dick-shitting, butthole-surfing, manyon-sniffing, fotch-fanagling, duck butter spreading, sheep fucking, whiny, pissant, entitled, PMSing, baby dicked, pizza-frenchfrying, desk jockeying flacid excuses for misguided missles of butthurt specifically. That and JONG is just fun to say.
    the-one-track-mind

  10. #185
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turnipking View Post
    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).
    Reading--or rather trying to read--that study got me thinking about the risk of climbing. While the risk of mountaineering varies enormously with the range and the seriousness of the climb it seems that the routine risk of climbing is similar to skiing under avalanche conditions most folks would consider unacceptable. For some reason climbing deaths don't seem to generate the soul searching that skiing deaths do, and don't often merit any media attention at all, except sometimes in the local paper or if an incident is spectacular. Maybe the risk of climbing is just better understood by participants and the public.

  11. #186
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    From what I've seen, climbing deaths are covered by the media with the same amount that avalanche deaths are (only by local media in most situations).

  12. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbourdon View Post
    .....this is what I'm still struggling with. How did they miss the obvious terrain trap and slide path? Maybe its obvious to me because its my backyard and its dangers have been discussed many a time by myself and the people at Loveland I know and ride with, I dunno.
    It may be a local's knowledge thing, I don't know. Here was a post on TTips (by another local): "I have been up there a few times. The thing that makes me squirm is how quickly you can get in trouble. You park your car and start out in the bottom of a somewhat steep drainage. There is a more mellow slope on your left and the trees block your view to the right and in front of you a bit. With in minutes you pop above the trees and under a huge open wind loaded slope.

    I have no idea what happened but I could see how some might not even have done a beacon check or turned on their avy senses and boom."

    That could explain how they "missed" the terrain trap and slide path. Maybe it was triggered just as they hit the treeline?
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

  13. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    Reading--or rather trying to read--that study got me thinking about the risk of climbing. While the risk of mountaineering varies enormously with the range and the seriousness of the climb it seems that the routine risk of climbing is similar to skiing under avalanche conditions most folks would consider unacceptable. For some reason climbing deaths don't seem to generate the soul searching that skiing deaths do, and don't often merit any media attention at all, except sometimes in the local paper or if an incident is spectacular. Maybe the risk of climbing is just better understood by participants and the public.
    Non-climbers view all climbers as effing crazy. So climbing deaths don't strike a chord. Whereas there are many many skiers, and many skiers who xc ski, so people dying in BC skiing accidents strikes a chord with far more people. You have to climb to really "get" climbing. You don't have to BC ski in avalanche terrain to really "get" BC skiing.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

  14. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    ...For some reason climbing deaths don't seem to generate the soul searching that skiing deaths do, and don't often merit any media attention at all, except sometimes in the local paper or if an incident is spectacular. Maybe the risk of climbing is just better understood by participants and the public.
    More people ski than climb? And prolly climbing is looked at by the general public as much more fringe than skiing. Skiing is sold as safe, even for the ladies and kids.

    Edit: like Danno sed.
    And I guess that I just don't know

  15. #190
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbourdon View Post
    .....this is what I'm still struggling with. How did they miss the obvious terrain trap and slide path? Maybe its obvious to me because its my backyard and its dangers have been discussed many a time by myself and the people at Loveland I know and ride with, I dunno.
    Ever travel across an avy path and think (a) the slope above is pretty mellow, it can't slide, (b) if it slides, it won't be big, (c) if it slides, I can quickly get out of the way, (d) if it slides, I have my friends not in the avy path to help? I think we've all been there where our guards were briefly lowered.

    I can understand if the group was in fact at the bottom of path (adjacent to the road) and trying to reach either the west or east ridge to gain elevation. It's terribly awful to think that at the time the snow released above them, they had no chance in hell to escape, and it's equally sad knowing at least 3 in the group were incredibly close to one another.

  16. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    It may be a local's knowledge thing, I don't know. Here was a post on TTips (by another local): "I have been up there a few times. The thing that makes me squirm is how quickly you can get in trouble. You park your car and start out in the bottom of a somewhat steep drainage. There is a more mellow slope on your left and the trees block your view to the right and in front of you a bit. With in minutes you pop above the trees and under a huge open wind loaded slope.

    I have no idea what happened but I could see how some might not even have done a beacon check or turned on their avy senses and boom."

    That could explain how they "missed" the terrain trap and slide path. Maybe it was triggered just as they hit the treeline?
    All it takes is one look at the topo to see what they might have 'missed'. Heck, I could do that by phone from the bottom of the pass. The nature of the get-together could have made it easier to skip the extremely important planning phase.

  17. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindahl View Post
    All it takes is one look at the topo to see what they 'missed'. Heck, I could do that by phone from the bottom of the pass. The nature of the get-together probably made it easier to skip the extremely important planning phase.
    well, I guess you're smarter than the 5 dead guys then, since you couldn't possibly have missed it. I was just offering a possible explanation that wasn't "they were stupid and didn't pay attention to where they were going".
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin

  18. #193
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    Sorry for the book - I didn't know Ian personally, but I knew of him in the way that many people in a small town know one another. My heart breaks for his little girl. I spent that day calling everyone I knew - "please, please, please call me..." It wasn't a good day.

    My perspective on this is two fold. On one hand, my heart wants to excuse it, make it an accident, a horrible tragedy (which it is), an act of fate or of the mountain that he and his friends had no control over. The other part wants to analyze it, unravel it, understand it. I think these dueling perspectives are just human nature.

    We make a lot of decisions in the BC. These decisions are either smart or not-so-smart. Being smart doesn't mean that those decisions are good, however.

    My avalanche gear is a body recovery system. That's right. I said it. It's not a guarantee of safety, nor does it give me an excuse to push boundaries. Most people who die in avalanches die from trauma. You should have gear, but your gear shouldn't trick you into thinking that you are invincible. I'm sick of people who think that having gear suddenly elevates you to a higher level of understanding and immunity from scorn. He had gear right? Aghhh! How could this happen...it doesn't matter. Gear makes you smarter. It doesn't eliminate the risk. And it doesn't do anything if your back is broken in two.

    Spring skiing (not based on a date, but on the snow) is the time to push it; winter is not the time to push it. Just a simple fact of nature. You might get lucky sometimes; you might not. You could determine that one aspect of a slope is stable and then, trigger a slide 15 feet to the right. It's that tricky. At least in CO and with the snow we've had this year.

    I don't ski in big groups. Ever. I'd rather ski by myself. I make better decisions. Just a fact. Doesn't matter who you are, how much experience you have, etc.

    It's also a matter of perspective. If you think at the trailhead that you are going out that day to "ski!" then guess what, your mind is going to make excuses so that you can achieve that goal. I go to the trail head to skin, to relax, to exercise, to get into the mountains that I love, to scout lines for spring. Skiing isn't the goal - it's a small switch in mentality, but it gives me the edge over my desires and a bit more objectivity when it comes to making that decision. I might be weak sauce when it comes to winter lines, but I'm not digging out my husband/partner - not going to happen. I've got nothing to prove to him, and everything to gain by being smart and safe. Rather 40 years of ski-love, than one 35 degree thrill.

    It's a lot of small things, a few decisions that weren't bad, but that weren't the smartest. We need to change the way we think about our place in the mountains and the way we interact with them. We need to listen to them and respect the place that they have given us that day. To sloppily quote someone brilliant, "the mountains can take everything away, but they also give us everything we need to breathe." Don't live in fear, but be aware. The mountains can do one or the other. The only thing that we have control over are the decision we make. Make smart ones.

  19. #194
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    well, I guess you're smarter than the 5 dead guys then, since you couldn't possibly have missed it. I was just offering a possible explanation that wasn't "they were stupid and didn't pay attention to where they were going".
    Nice dig. Not smarter, but I definitely know what the topo looks like before I leave the car, and I'm sure at least one of them did too (though its painful to know not all of them did). I don't think they failed to notice a slide path and terrain trap - pretty hard to do, looking at the topo. I doubt they talked about it though, and I'm sure more than one of them was completely unaware of the terrain they were getting into. Likely some strong expert halo going on. I've failed to do the same in the past, and its been an important lesson learned. I just think the leader(s) underestimated the danger.
    Last edited by Lindahl; 04-23-2013 at 10:45 AM.

  20. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindahl View Post
    The nature of the get-together could have made it easier to skip the extremely important planning phase.
    THIS^^^^^^^.big groups=big problems. add a bunch of avy saavy and experience and complacency can run amuck. look at the tunnel creek incident. seems like everything was planned, invitations sent, and accounted for cept for the past and current snow and avy conditions. oops!

    rog

  21. #196
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    Quote Originally Posted by icelanticskier View Post
    THIS^^^^^^^.big groups=big problems. add a bunch of avy saavy and experience and complacency can run amuck. look at the tunnel creek incident. seems like everything was planned, invitations sent, and accounted for cept for the past and current snow and avy conditions. oops!

    rog
    Even moreso when not everyone knows each other. Some of the human factors here and at tunnel creek are starkly similar.

  22. #197
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    Lindahl has a good observations and supposition... we shall see later today (most likely) when the full report is released.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  23. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    It may be a local's knowledge thing, I don't know. Here was a post on TTips (by another local): "I have been up there a few times. The thing that makes me squirm is how quickly you can get in trouble. You park your car and start out in the bottom of a somewhat steep drainage. There is a more mellow slope on your left and the trees block your view to the right and in front of you a bit. With in minutes you pop above the trees and under a huge open wind loaded slope.
    This could be very true. The handful of times I've dropped into Sheep Creek we've always immediately dropped back toward the valley as the longtime local that showed me the line stressed that that bowl is a 'no-go' zone and can and will slide with ease. I've never liked the line (the gully proper) as it is very committing and offers almost no safe zones as someone previously mentioned. And even then, its a line we stay away from on any day with a rating higher than 'low'.

    Quote Originally Posted by PappaG View Post
    Ever travel across an avy path and think (a) the slope above is pretty mellow, it can't slide, (b) if it slides, it won't be big, (c) if it slides, I can quickly get out of the way, (d) if it slides, I have my friends not in the avy path to help? I think we've all been there where our guards were briefly lowered.

    I can understand if the group was in fact at the bottom of path (adjacent to the road) and trying to reach either the west or east ridge to gain elevation. It's terribly awful to think that at the time the snow released above them, they had no chance in hell to escape, and it's equally sad knowing at least 3 in the group were incredibly close to one another.
    I honestly haven't thought like that because I'm a pussy and my risk tolerance is such that I don't venture into that kind of terrain until well into the spring corn cycle and even then, crossing under big paths scares the shit out of me. Makes you feel like you're naked in your elementary school classroom you know? Honestly, my philosophy when it comes to the backcountry is to keep shit as mellow as possible while still having a good time. For me, if I'm on a slope that has a possibility of sliding, I can't enjoy my run. The thought is constantly in the back of my head, similar to the analogy of surfing in shark infested waters. Its just something that nags at you (or me at least) and takes away some of the enjoyment for me. That's why I bitch about our snowpack, its like surfing in a damn shark tank out here. Sure some days are better than others and you can get out and get on some steeper, bigger shit; but eventually, at least in CO that approach is gonna get you bit IMO.
    Quote Originally Posted by DoWork
    Well we really came up with jong because it was becoming work to call all the johnny-come-lately whiny twats like yourself ball-licking, dick-shitting, butthole-surfing, manyon-sniffing, fotch-fanagling, duck butter spreading, sheep fucking, whiny, pissant, entitled, PMSing, baby dicked, pizza-frenchfrying, desk jockeying flacid excuses for misguided missles of butthurt specifically. That and JONG is just fun to say.
    the-one-track-mind

  24. #199
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lindahl View Post
    Even moreso when not everyone knows each other. Some of the human factors here and at tunnel creek are starkly similar.
    That and backcountry "gatherings" make it really difficult to say "the backcountry is sketcky, let's not ski anything interesting today."

  25. #200
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    Quote Originally Posted by icelanticskier View Post
    look at the tunnel creek incident. seems like everything was planned, invitations sent, and accounted for cept for the past and current snow and avy conditions. oops!

    rog
    Exactly. The tunnel creek incident has come up in just about every discussion I've had regarding this incident. The similarities are pretty startling in my opinion. I think the important thing to take away from both incidents is as you mentioned: big groups=big problems. Moreover, big groups with lots of experience could arguably be even more problematic. Its just a shame all the way around. Joe was my board rep, and Jerome is my boot rep. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing....
    Quote Originally Posted by DoWork
    Well we really came up with jong because it was becoming work to call all the johnny-come-lately whiny twats like yourself ball-licking, dick-shitting, butthole-surfing, manyon-sniffing, fotch-fanagling, duck butter spreading, sheep fucking, whiny, pissant, entitled, PMSing, baby dicked, pizza-frenchfrying, desk jockeying flacid excuses for misguided missles of butthurt specifically. That and JONG is just fun to say.
    the-one-track-mind

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