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  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    we shall see later today (most likely) when the full report is released.
    WTF dude. That's totally uncalled for.

  2. #202
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    "Originally posted by: SnowGypsy:
    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."

    Just wanted to point out that most people in avalanches die from lack of oxygen, not blunt force trauma. And as far as skiing alone ..... we all make our choices. But speaking from experience...... a small injury alone can become a real issue in the backcountry. A real issue quickly becomes a fatality.
    Just my humble opinion....

    Jay E.

  3. #203
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    Little more detail on the group released today. For one of the victims, Saturday was the FIRST time he had ever been in the backcountry.

    Link:
    http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_23...erate-dig-life


    Chris Peters ventured into the backcountry for the first time in his life Saturday.

    He was following Joe Timlin, his best friend from high school, and four other veteran backcountry travelers. They were minutes into an afternoon run above Loveland Valley ski area when the slope above them gave way, burying the group in Colorado's deadliest avalanche in 50 years. Five men were killed.

    Peters had spoken with his friend, Colin McKernan, about avalanche safety earlier in the day at the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Gathering.

    McKernan, who worked with Peters at a Lakewood engineering firm, reminded his novice friend about the death of a fellow snowboarder, Mark McCarron, 38, near Vail Pass two days before.

    "It was supposed to be a mellow, low-key day with no risk," McKernan said. "We talked about just enjoying it and making sure we get back to the parking lot and drink some beer together. It wasn't supposed to end this way."

    McKernan joined his friend Pete Hunter while Peters stuck with Timlin, the organizer of the backcountry event.

    McKernan had skinned up the closed Loveland Valley ski area with Hunter earlier in the day, reaching the Sheep Creek drainage. The pair dug a pit in the snow, testing for weak layers that could trigger a slide. They found a noticeably weak layer — the same faceted, rotten snow near the ground that has plagued snowpacks across the state this season.

    "We were pretty certain that going above treeline on that aspect, in that location was not something we were interested in doing," McKernan said. "It's worse than February snowpack up there right now. The possibility of something big happening was more consequential with the new snow."

    ......

    McKernan and Bennett pulled Timlin and Gaukel from the snow an hour later. The airbag trigger pull on Gaukel's backpack shoulder strap remained in its zippered pouch, McKernan said.

    "He didn't even have a chance to pull the trigger on his airbag pack. They were in skin mode," he said. "Moving wisely and quickly and looking to earn their turns."


    ......

    McKernan speculated that Boulay, Timlin and Gaukel had traversed to the stand of trees and were waiting for Lamphere, Peters and Novak to skin the short distance toward the higher, eastern side of the drainage spilling from the north-facing slope of Mount Sniktau.

    "It looked like they were watching the other people cross. They had set up a traditional safety system of one-at-a-time," McKernan said.

  4. #204
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    Even if the airbag may not have done anything, just a reminder to have the trigger available while skinning.

    "McKernan and Bennett pulled Timlin and Gaukel from the snow an hour later. The airbag trigger pull on Gaukel's backpack shoulder strap remained in its zippered pouch, McKernan said.

    "He didn't even have a chance to pull the trigger on his airbag pack. They were in skin mode," he said. "Moving wisely and quickly and looking to earn their turns." "

  5. #205
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    [QUOTE=old goat;3973664]
    the routine risk of climbing is similar to skiing under avalanche conditions most folks would consider unacceptable.
    Incorrect. An avalanche is a sudden catastrophic change in conditions. This change is a given for being in avalanche terrain. Rock climbing routes just aren't subject to the same forces.

    In other words, when you step in-to avie terrain, this possibility of a catastrophic change (a slide) is a given in all decision making. In only the rarest instances however does a cliff collapse. It is not part of one's normal risk decision making, unlike planning for weather or broken holds. There are other reasons, but this is not the place for an extended discussion.


    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.
    I'm not sure how you could think this. It is my experience that the grief and soul searching is the same no matter how someone dies.

  6. #206
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    There are true safe zones and there are "safer zones." This mistake is frequently behind slides catching more than one person.

    Balloon packs are minimally effective against avalanches coming from above into a terrain trap.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  7. #207
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    Balloon packs are minimally effective against avalanches coming from above into a terrain trap.
    I don't disagree, but how much evidence is out there on these situations? Either way, still smart to have it ready while skinning in avy terrain.

  8. #208
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    ^I agree! I certainly was not saying "keep the trigger stowed." I teach avalungs and balloon triggers should be deployed at the TH as part of a TH check (which includes beacon checks).
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  9. #209
    Hugh Conway Guest
    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.
    the public, and the media, were fascinated with climbing deaths for awhile. Eiger deaths, Everest deaths (remember Into Thin Air?), even various Hood deaths. Now the public/media spotlight has moved on to Backcountry skiing... in conjunction with more internal media coverage.

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by Summit View Post
    There are true safe zones and there are "safer zones." This mistake is frequently behind slides catching more than one person.
    I think this is very true.
    "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

  11. #211
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    Quote Originally Posted by PappaG View Post
    Little more detail on the group released today. For one of the victims, Saturday was the FIRST time he had ever been in the backcountry.
    That goes with what I heard - someone I know loaned him a beacon.

  12. #212
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    Quote Originally Posted by PappaG View Post
    "It was supposed to be a mellow, low-key day with no risk,"
    Quote from one of the participants in the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Gathering, not PappaG.

    Seems like regardless of where they went that day on Loveland Pass, given the snowfall history and snowpack, risk was going to be a bit higher than zero. But then again, one of the mental traps that plague us is thinking- no accident for me today, therefore no risk. Cart before the horse reasoning. Zero is a mighty small number. Might want to start recognizing that zero doesnt hapen very often in the natural world.
    Last edited by ate'em; 04-23-2013 at 03:02 PM. Reason: clarify source of quote

  13. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by canwilf View Post
    Thanks for posting that. Now I know that I am not the only pussy here.
    I get nervous on inbounds hikes at vail and kirkwood from time to time which makes me an extreme pussy.

  14. #214
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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.
    I think the risk between the two is different.

    In climbing the route is the most important driver and that has with it whatever the risk entails. Generally the skills needed to go that route are built up over time.

    Back country skiing is not so tied into the route as snow quality and other factors play into the pursuit. Meaning routes can be more flexibly changed to suit conditions while enhancing other factors. So skiing a particular slope is more a choice.

    In climbing the risk is more tangible and previous experience coupled with skill gives you the feeling of confidence or no confidence in continuing.

    The risk of an avalanche is not as tangible, but is analytically derived from adding all known data which eventually comes downs to a red light/ green light analytical decision. Rarely is the question in soft snow conditions do I have the skill and confidence to ski the slope so the tangible feeling of risk is not often present.

    My personal observations of media reporting is that they will always report stories where there is loss of life due to climbing or skiing. The place I feel the media glosses over more is the resort deaths because they are usually just one person at a time.

  15. #215
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    Thinking more carefully, I guess I'm wrong about the media thing, and what does it matter anyway what the media does? I do think the mountaineering community understands the risk and the consequences of the sport in a way that at least some backcountry skiers don't and if people are going to ski new snow in the backcountry they have to understand that there is risk no matter how good the gear and the training and the experience. The private grief will always be there regardless of the sport, but perhaps the skiing community shouldn't be shocked the next time this happens, and it will happen.

  16. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    if people are going to ski new snow in the backcountry ON SLOPES THAT ARE STEEPER THAN ABOUT 30 DEGREES AND MAY BE ATTACHED TO EVEN MORE SUSPECT STEEPER SLOPES OR TERRAIN TRAPS, they have to understand that there is risk no matter how good the gear and the training and the experience.
    FIFY.

    rog

  17. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by funkendrenchman View Post
    I don't disagree, but how much evidence is out there on these situations? Either way, still smart to have it ready while skinning in avy terrain.
    The only reason the bags work is because once they are in the flow the larger items rise to the top. Granular convection aka the Brazil Nut Theory. This has been studied extensively in Europe where airbags have been used for 15+ years. There needs to be a flow so the bag can act as that larger "nut". Whether this slide had the chance to have a subduction zone is not known and I'm not going to assume, but for the bags to be effective they need to be involved in the flow aspect of the slide. If I can find a paper online and folks are interested I'll put it up, they are out there.
    I agree, if you have it, why not have it out, then again, I see it and I have been guilty of not having those types of tools at the ready. You never know right?

    That being said, Rick, thanks for the conversation the last time I saw you, I've put a lot of thought into it, take care friend.

  18. #218
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    I think that the lesson at the core here is that shit can go bad fast. You have to keep you guard up, eyes and ears open, and constantly be thinking how to mitigate risk if you are travelling in, under, or near avy terrain.

    I'm sure these guys weren't stupid but mistakes were made and there was no lucky break.

  19. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by GravityPilot View Post
    The only reason the bags work is because once they are in the flow the larger items rise to the top. Granular convection aka the Brazil Nut Theory. This has been studied extensively in Europe where airbags have been used for 15+ years. There needs to be a flow so the bag can act as that larger "nut". Whether this slide had the chance to have a subduction zone is not known and I'm not going to assume, but for the bags to be effective they need to be involved in the flow aspect of the slide. If I can find a paper online and folks are interested I'll put it up, they are out there.
    I was just thinking about this. If you find a link, I'd be interested in reading it.

  20. #220
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    First condolences to all affected, tragic situation on a good day. The fact that so many deaths occur on "good" days is horrible.

    I've read no account from the guy who survived, he knows how they came to be there at that time; then again, understandable.

    CAIC has still not given a report aside from the preliminary, again the delay is understandable given the tragedy; they do a better job of accuracy then the media sources that surround these things.

    TGR jumps to conclusions but has plenty of insight in the crap.

    I do not see how this happened, such an obvious mistake made by such skilled people. It is tragic for everyone affected and saddening for all of us starting to enjoy backcountry and touring

    I think the discussion of risk e valuation has been relevant and useful stuff in this thread. I'm still screaming w/ the question of how did people of this caliber make such an obvious mistake, --again
    you know there ain't no devil,
    there's just God when he's drunk---- Tom Waits

  21. #221
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    Earlier I had speculated that an airbag likely wouldn't have made the difference in this situation, and that may still be the case, but after reading this

    http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_23084012/colorado-avalanche-turns-mellow-day-into-desperate-dig-life


    especially this "To free Boulay, who had been buried for more than an hour, the pair had to move the body of Rick Gaukel, who was tangled in Boulay's legs." and this "McKernan and Bennett pulled Timlin and Gaukel from the snow an hour later. The airbag trigger pull on Gaukel's backpack shoulder strap remained in its zippered pouch, McKernan said"

    Makes me think the airbag would likely have made the difference, even if it just meant head up as opposed to head down. On another note I CANNOT imagine what going through that for Jerome must have been like. Literally touching the person you cannot save and feeling the life leave their body unable to do anything. Jesus fucking christ that's HORRIBLE.

    Edit: I'm bad at reading and other people had referenced these same quotes but I'm leaving it because my point still stands.

  22. #222
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    I'm just gonna leave the vibes and suggest that group size changes group dynamics, # of potential victims/rescuers and possibly forces exerted on a given slope.
    It doesn't change anything in the weather triangle, snowpack stability/structure or any terrain features including terrain traps and slope angle/runout zones.
    Thank jah the red headed porn and tgrz shenaingans keep holyer than thou Lou from bringing his self grandulizing brand of "expertise" to this community.
    now if only it worked 4 roj
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
    ski on in eternal peace

  23. #223
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    Quote Originally Posted by skifishbum View Post
    I'm just gonna leave the vibes and suggest that group size changes group dynamics, # of potential victims/rescuers and possibly forces exerted on a given slope.
    It doesn't change anything in the weather triangle, snowpack stability/structure or any terrain features including terrain traps and slope angle/runout zones.
    Thank jah the red headed porn and tgrz shenaingans keep holyer than thou Lou from bringing his self grandulizing brand of "expertise" to this community.
    now if only it worked 4 roj
    oh hey now, mr bota bag has spoken^^^^^^^^guess we can shut this TR down now (roll eyes)

    hows that uni-dimensional wasatch life of yours goin, dibbs? got it all figured out?

    rog

  24. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by GravityPilot View Post
    The only reason the bags work is because once they are in the flow the larger items rise to the top. Granular convection aka the Brazil Nut Theory. This has been studied extensively in Europe where airbags have been used for 15+ years. There needs to be a flow so the bag can act as that larger "nut". Whether this slide had the chance to have a subduction zone is not known and I'm not going to assume, but for the bags to be effective they need to be involved in the flow aspect of the slide. If I can find a paper online and folks are interested I'll put it up, they are out there.

    Here are a couple of papers from the 2012 ISSW that may be of interest:

    On the effectiveness of avalanche balloon packs

    Three different shapes of avalanche balloons a pilot study

  25. #225
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    Quote Originally Posted by lvsper View Post
    Here are a couple of papers from the 2012 ISSW that may be of interest:

    On the effectiveness of avalanche balloon packs

    Three different shapes of avalanche balloons – a pilot study
    Neither actually test the effectiveness off an airbag with minimal time caught in the flow of the slide.

    It would be interesting to see a study where the dummies are caught in the slide for various periods of time and how this affects burial.

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