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  1. #51
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
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    11,232
    Quote Originally Posted by bodywhomper View Post
    the scenario that i provided was a compilation of a few obs on the SAC site (or their FB page). this week, we've experienced weather that has stabilized a lot of the tahoe snowpack. for me, part of understanding that stabilization would be through observations in the snowpack looking at structure and re-activity/energy/propagation, especially of the SH weaknesses that had been (variably) reactive for the past several weeks. digging is a great way to know for this type of circumstance. i would not hit higher consequence terrain w/o personal observations of what was going on with those layers.
    But I would say that you would be heading out with some degree of optimism / trust regarding the SAC removal of the PWL as an avalanche problem, and digging the pit looking for that layer to show instability and therefore possibly red light your plans of anything steeper. Right?

    Edit: nevermind, you said Tuesday and SAC didn't make that update until Wednesday.

    Even so, with only the anecdotal data of a pit or two, I probably wouldn't trust my findings until there was more widespread confirmation of the same. But we all have our varying tolerances.

  2. #52
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    42
    New to the Tahoe area this season (and posting for the first time after lurking around for a while). Just wanted to thank everyone for this thread. This kind of analysis and discussion is invaluable.

  3. #53
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    382
    just noticed this thread. thanks for posting it Scralp. Oh, BTW Happy Birthday dude.

    My wife and I got a lap near Nebelhorn/echo pass that Thursday. We rode the trees and found stable powder, but only dug hand pits down 1.5 feet. I'm glad I wasn't tempted into the open terrain that day because my guard was kinda down in retrospect.

    What I find interesting is that it seems most were aware of the snowpack situation and "tried" to choose their terrain wisely, but fully underestimated the consequences. I think these protected east facing treed lines held that surface hoar, when bigger more exposed and gnarly lines probably got wind which eliminated it, which was reflected in many of SAC's evaluations and snowpit data.

    I remember that sunday prior, SAC said it was actually considerable below treeline and moderate above. Don't think I've ever seen that type of advisory before.

  4. #54
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Eugenio Oregón
    Posts
    7,021
    Quote Originally Posted by pajamas View Post
    SAC said it was actually considerable below treeline and moderate above. Don't think I've ever seen that type of advisory before.
    That quote is indicative of some of the themes of this thread ... what's "typical" vs. atypical for Tahoe snowpack when looking at the Danger Scale.

    I no longer use the North American danger scale in my terrain evaluation, except if doing an ALPTRUTh assessment.

    Working the "math" of the avalanche problem forces you to evaluate what type of problem it is, where it is, how big it is, and how likely you are to get it moving. If you do this kind of "long division" then you don't skip over the details that it was Considerable below treeline and Moderate above. You instead see that the Persistent Slab problem (which should automatically raise your eyebrows because that means the sucker isn't going away anytime soon and may not respond to simple observations/tests) is located BELOW treeline and not above, and that the problem layer is buried under 1.5' of consolidated snow which can be a deadly avalanche in certain types of terrain, and you look at ECT/PST test results on the SAC website that show you shitty structure or propensity for propagation. Based on that criteria lines with nasty terrain traps should be ruled out, while lower angle lines with clean runout zones and minimal terrain complexity could be manageable ... who cares if it's Moderate or Considerable???
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  5. #55
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    1,705
    SM, solid thread - thank you. Powder published an "interview" with JT. http://www.powder.com/stories/the-sa...plE1Z0y5fZF.97

  6. #56
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
    Posts
    11,232
    Pasted without comment...

    "Obviously something didn’t go right, but I’ve had plenty of close calls in my life and looked back and thought, ‘What was I thinking?’ I don’t have that feeling here. In this case, I look back at this whole incident and I don’t see a cardinal rule that was broken. No red flag that we ignored."

  7. #57
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Behind the Potato Curtain
    Posts
    3,354
    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeJ View Post
    Pasted without comment...

    "Obviously something didn’t go right, but I’ve had plenty of close calls in my life and looked back and thought, ‘What was I thinking?’ I don’t have that feeling here. In this case, I look back at this whole incident and I don’t see a cardinal rule that was broken. No red flag that we ignored."

    The varying temperatures and wind loading became a topic of conversation.
    We used my binoculars and observed evidence of avalanches that had occurred naturally.
    On our third run we went to north-facing slopes. We decided against skiing some terrain that looked wind-loaded and started on a run the guides had skied recently.
    They treat that terrain too much like its in bounds. If you've ever skied there you've heard them talk about how they use skier compaction a la a resort to help mitigate problems so they can ski that more complex north facing stuff when the conditions do not dictate it.

    Glad JT's ok, furstrating when the red flags are there, the SAC says to avoid that specific terrain on that day, and get lulled into a false sense of security by a guide. Anybody with basic avy awareness would avoid that if accessed by their own power, throw a cat and some guides in the mix and suddenly basic decision making gets a lot more difficult unfortunately.

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