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  1. #26
    spook Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by meatspicy View Post

    flags:
    -widespread faceted snow, especially in shallower areas (like pucker face)
    -a foot of super light density snow, followed by 16" of wet heavy wind slabbed snow with 3" water content
    -recent natural slide activity in the area, including on the very face in question
    -steep hanging snowfield with massive consequences if snow starts moving
    -1:30pm on one of the warmest days of the year on a sun exposed aspect (35 deg at time of accident)
    i have never gone bc boarding but it seems if you paid any attention to the weather in the days preceding your arrival you would know almost all of that and know most of the rest upon arrival without having to do much research.

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Where the chairlifts do double corks
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    As soon as you think you know everything, or that you are in control, you are vulnerable and in danger. Being aware of an avalanche hazard will not save your life. Safe backcountry travel and route selection will.
    long live the jahrator

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Land of Brine Shrimp and Magic Underwear
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    5,616
    ^^^
    Nailed it. I always say, think like an amateur.
    There's nothing better than sliding down snow... flying through the air.

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Vancouver, BC
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    Condolences to family and friends.

    That's a serious face. Hard to believe snow sticks to that thing.

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    NorCal
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    Condolences to all those affected. Horrible to read about this around the holidays.

  6. #31
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    7,179
    vibes to family and friends of the fallen tribe member

    rog

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    Paradise
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    Quote Originally Posted by totaliboard View Post
    As soon as you think you know everything, or that you are in control, you are vulnerable and in danger. Being aware of an avalanche hazard will not save your life. Safe backcountry travel and route selection will.
    this is good and there is more to what you just said than just reading snow.

  8. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    9 miles from the Bird/Idaho
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    Spent the holiday in Idaho, before I left town last night heard rumors of a snowmobiler also dying in an avy yesterday on Palisades peak. Don't know any other details cept I know Palisades peak is fairly close to Jackson.

    Vibs to family and friends of both snowboarder and snowmobiler.
    Hunting kicks ass.
    Chicks dig Labs.
    I'll keep my job, my money and my guns and you can keep the change.
    From my cold dead hands.

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    7,236
    Bummer. Seems like a dude we can all relate to. Time to dial things back to live to ski another day. There is no glory taking the big ride down. RIP Mike.
    Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. -Helen Keller

  10. #35
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    tourin BC
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    am I correct in assuming most of the snow on that face is wind loaded ???

    it looks like a march/april line not december ...
    steep & facets sound ugly in december ...
    We, the RATBAGGERS, formally axcept our duty is to trigger avalaches on all skiers ...

  11. #36
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Where the chairlifts do double corks
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    i think that is an assumption that can be made without making an ass out of anyone.
    long live the jahrator

  12. #37
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    north aspect
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    Quote Originally Posted by D(C) View Post
    Condolences to family and friends.

    That's a serious face. Hard to believe snow sticks to that thing.
    ditto after viewing image.
    b
    bF
    Alpental Indigenous

  13. #38
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,429
    condolences to family and friends.

    Quote Originally Posted by from the news
    In a statement released overnight, Kazanjy's brother said, "Mike lived life with a full heart for those around him, and they for him. He loved his family, his Cal Bears, his skiing buddies and San Francisco. My parents were lucky enough to spend this Christmas with Mike in Jackson this past week, and are grateful for it. This tragic loss at a time of year when families draw close to each other is a reminder to cherish the time we have with our loved ones. Reach out to yours and tell them you love them."
    Quote Originally Posted by from a comment in the jhunderground responding to another comment
    As a close friend of all that were a part of the incident, yes, they did try to test the slab. After dropping cornices on it and ski cutting it without any movement, they opted to ski it. Only Mike was caught. It has been a sad day for all of us. There are a lot of confusing emotions attached to the decision to ski the face. Thank you all for the prayers, thoughts and phone calls to support the friends and the family of Mike Kazanjy, he will be deeply missed.
    others have mentioned rapid temp change, which seems likely a critical factor, and I agree, it's a hard one to notice and attend to while out there. other ALPTRUTHs (avalanches, loading, path, terrain trap, rating, unstable snow, and thaw instability) also seem important. from my hindsight toilet seat, i "see" 4 conditions being met on that day at that time.

    i know that 'scary' moderate or "x-moderate" has been discussed in this forum and the avi subforum at ttips when that subforum was active several years back. maybe it should be considered an amendment to the ALPTRUTH conditions, although, it complicates the simplicity of the method. one avi course that i took was near the tail end of a "mod-x" type of "cycle" and this hazard was definitely something that was thoroughly discussed from the classroom to the field and was influential in all route selection and terrain management.

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    4
    Thx for clarifying the post slide face pic bfr I was in jackson last year and remember looking over at that exact slope with the same type of slide. Gnarly slide area.

  15. #40
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    somewhere in wyoming
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    303
    Thursday I dug my friend's body out of the apron of pucker face. Check in with Bridger Teton Avalanche in the next week or so, where you will find a thorough recap on what went wrong, what went right and what our main take aways were from this tragic loss of our good friend Mike.

    We share because we care and we don't want anyone to ever repeat the mistakes that were made yesterday.

    And just an FYI, we weren't a group of uneducated kids out the gates. My self and most of my partners are experienced, avi 1 and 2 certified back country enthusiast that spend more time in gtnp and other remote ranges then you could imagine. The village sidecountry was new terrain and mistakes were made and we paid dearly.

    On the red flags and warning signs:

    - Yes, there had been avalanches on similar terrain, but most of these slid 48-36 hours to the event. Yes there were slides on the apron of no shadows and pucker but when we were hiking up and we passed Jackson Hole Mountain Guides with their clients heading to no shadows and 4 shadows, we got a false sense of safety.

    - Yes,it was warming up but with the winds on that ridge we did not feel the actual temp the face was affected by.

    - Cracks and whoomps we're not noticed on a similar aspects earlier. There was no way we could get onto this face and check with out putting our selves in harms way. When we cut the cornice I was roped up on belay just in case but I wasn't about to get on that face with a parachute cord attached to my waste.

    - Yes, we had significant wind and snow loading 48+ hours before the event.

    We made a ton of mistakes and ignored a lot of signs we shouldn't have. As a splitboarder who spends most of my time in gtnp, i was thrown off by not being immersed in a climb where I spend hours and countless tests/observations regarding what is safe to ski and not. Being unfamiliar to the sidecountry, I should have studied up on pucker because it is obvious we should never have been on that face and we paid dearly with the loss of a great friend.

    Another problem was group mentality. We were a group of 6 which progressed our comfort on the line. We're we comfortable, no, we were all a little bugged out and even went over SAR scenario if it slid. Right before Mike dropped he asked if everyone was alright and committed to the line and everyone agreed. In reality I think we a had doubts but did not want to speak up being a group of 6 who had spent the last 40 minutes on top of a line.

    After it slid is when good decisions were made. We all watched for visuals or a last seen point. A partner was on the phone with ski patrol in 20 seconds. I looked left and right , checking for hang fire and made the decision to descend the face, by snowboarding at the top and climbing/billy hosting down the rocks just above the apron.

    Once I got down I started the grid and with the help of Dave Miller (lead guide) probed mike in 6 minutes. Once we had him probed there were more guides and clients all helping dig in a organized V formation. We got Mike's air hole cleared in something like 15 minutes but with the way he settled at the bottom, he didn't have an air hole or room to even expand his lungs.

    We had two doctors, ski patrol, guides, everybody reacted so quickly and efficiently. CPR was given for 35 minutes but Mike was flat lined. The rescue effort and everyone involved deserves serious props. In many cases we could have saved a life.

    This has been one of the toughest times for our party, Mike's family and friends. Please send positive vibes to Mike and learn from our mistakes.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    to ski another day

  16. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    8,029
    We made a ton of mistakes and ignored a lot of signs we shouldn't have. As a splitboarder who spends most of my time in gtnp, i was thrown off by not being immersed in a climb where I spend hours and countless tests/observations regarding what is safe to ski and not. Being unfamiliar to the sidecountry, I should have studied up on pucker because it is obvious we should never have been on that face and we paid dearly with the loss of a great friend.

    Another problem was group mentality. We were a group of 6 which progressed our comfort on the line. We're we comfortable, no, we were all a little bugged out and even went over SAR scenario if it slid. Right before Mike dropped he asked if everyone was alright and committed to the line and everyone agreed. In reality I think we a had doubts but did not want to speak up being a group of 6 who had spent the last 40 minutes on top of a line.
    These 2 paragraphs must have been difficult to write and deserve to be read and re-read.

    Thank you and extremely sorry for the loss of your partner/friend.

  17. #42
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    A LSD Steakhouse somewhere in the Wasatch
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    9,422
    ^^^^ what he said
    thanks for takin the time to post
    heed not the mmacqbers whose might think they know better yet lack the risk tolerances to understand.
    cherish the memory of your bro, learn from your mistakes and shortcomings
    anyone who hasn't fucked up or lost a friend probably just hasn't been doing it for that long or with a driving passion.
    "Its what we do"
    "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

  18. #43
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Southern NH
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    4,180
    Quote Originally Posted by totaliboard View Post
    As soon as you think you know everything, or that you are in control, you are vulnerable and in danger. Being aware of an avalanche hazard will not save your life. Safe backcountry travel and route selection will.
    Word. The truth.

    OM, sorry for your loss. RIP Mike. Thoughts and prayers to his family, to you, to the others involved, to all his friends. Sad times.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using TGR Forums
    The Passion is in the Risk

  19. #44
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    7,179
    Well written and thanx for sharing, oceanman. Posi vibes.

    Rog

  20. #45
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    North Vancouver/Whistler
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    9,810
    Oceanman - thanks for the opportunity to learn. It was brave of you to share your thoughts and much appreciated.

  21. #46
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    LaLa Land
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    2,884
    RIP MIke. Oceanman. Sorry you had to write that, but it was very well written, analytical, and hopefully will be useful to someone out there.

    I haven't been to the village in a while, but sometimes miss the days with the closed boundaries. Not for the cat and mouse game we used to play with Patrol coming out of Granite, but knowing we could let slopes sit for days without them getting hammered, thereby making them that tad bit safer than it is today when everyone is charging every slackcountry line soon after a storm. Definitely cause for thought...
    He who has the most fun wins!

  22. #47
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Denver, Co.
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    1,424
    Thanks for the write-up Ocean, very sorry for your loss. RIP Mike.
    "I almost feel bad for the guy, awakening the veritable Sauron's Eye that is TGR's sense of entitlement to judgement! " - Joe Strummer

  23. #48
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    The Ranch
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    3,537
    RIP MIke and hopefully you can find some peace Oceanman. That sounds like a nightmare, I hate reading about groups making bad decisions but I can totally understand how it happens. This activity all boils down to decision making and being on the same page with your partners, the group mentality can go awry quickly. It's good to get this message out there and hopefully someone will learn from this, make sure you feel empowered to speak your mind with the group you are skiing with when you are out there, learn trust your instincts.

  24. #49
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    720
    Thanks for sharing that OM, and sorry for your loss. Lots of good, productive comments in this thread.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Where the chairlifts do double corks
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    528
    It takes awhile, but once you can embrace it and move on, you will feel a new strength that comes with safe decision making in the backcountry. You survived, and now you have a responsibility to teach others, but continue educating yourself, and most of all, ride for Mike.
    long live the jahrator

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