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  1. #51
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    I missed it, what are the ideal conditions that they seek? There was that one line that they skied that was not in good shape, which he descended more slowly and complained about how his legs were sore afterwards because his skis suck.

    I echo the others about the beauty and aesthetics.

    I've read most of this thread, and had not seen mention of nobis. Is this not his style or maybe the style that he pioneered?

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob stokes View Post
    Uhhh dunno about that! Also did ya watch the film? Not much pow there and a lot of ice.....
    Just to be clear, either option is pretty much unnaceptable. But something has to give him the margin to ski that fast in terrain that steep. In my estimation, it's snow quality and relative lack of fatal obsticals in runouts.

    Is what's going on here in any way, shape or form safe? No. Is it riskier than other modern cutting edge ski lines on which a fall/slip/lost ski would be guarenteed life ending? I'd say not. Higher risk probably, but with slightly lower consequences.

    Then again, I've never skied any of these faces and I certainly wasn't there when Heitz did. That's only a guess as to why he's able to justify doing what he's doing. I'm sure he's thought about it, feels it's worth doing and can reconcile with the extremely obvious risks. Regardless of the internet's opinion, that's what matters.

  3. #53
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    Amazing that he skied these faces Azkaban
    Alaskan powder style, but without Alaskan powder.

    The glacier ice was pretty close under the surface, or visible in many cases.

    And he did not have the foot deep ak maritime powder that sticks to steep faces.
    Continental snow, sloughing a lot more during snow storms, barely clinging to ice.

    Much harder to ski conditions than what you see in Alaska ski movies.

  4. #54
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    I would like to keep arguing about the quality of the runouts. I couldn't put the whole list together from memory and it's not streaming anymore but here is my runout assessment of the lines I remember. Clean rounout meaning no obvious hazard in the fall line.

    obergabelhorn: runout clean-ish. patch of rocks directly below where he drops in.
    lenzspitze: not a clean runout
    cervinia: not a clean runout
    spencer couloir: not a clean runout
    combin de valsorey: clean
    zinal rothorn: imo generally not a clean runout, but there are a few spots where the fall line is clean. I think they skied several different lines on this one.
    lyskamm: one or two clean-ish options, including what they skied
    L'Aiguille de l'Amône: not a clean runout
    Gervasutti: not a clean runout (rock walls)
    pointe allobrogia: not a clean runout
    brunegghorn: clean once you get past the rocks at the top

    Someone said that conditions look "soft and slow" - I think the opposite is true. As rod said ^^, he is not skiing the powder of AK type lines, he is skiing a thin layer of old pow/facets on ice, windbuff-type snow or corn at best.

    Regardless of conditions and runouts, it's a cool achievement. He absolutely had great conditions on a few of the faces and there are some incredibly beautiful ski lines on that list, some of which I would like to ski, others not so much. Bit jealous of the conditions they had on Lenzspitze, that's the only one on the list that I've tried.
    Last edited by klar; 11-20-2016 at 04:12 AM.
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  5. #55
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    Actually only three or so made it onto my list which haven't been on. I'm not even sure i would want the lenzspitze there because the approach is not so convenient . I still would like to ski the lyskamm, but the video made me even more scared of it. The Zinalrothorn looked more like my cup of tea. especially the west shoulder And there is more in the valais I like, like the la luette north face which is more fun than death defying. Another plus is that there not one million super steep Bros racing ahead of you as in chamonix.

    edit: and to secomd klar: some of the runouts have horrible or ver unpleasant exits because the glaciers are not necessarily flat. they just look faltish because the line above is 50+degrees. Not counting all the immediate death lines where you have to go left or right.
    It's a war of the mind and we're armed to the teeth.

  6. #56
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    Here is a formula that most ski mountaineers know, but maybe haven't put into an equation:

    Conditions + Fall Zone = Fall Consequence.
    Conditions are the killer, whats in the fall zone is the acceptable risk.
    Conditions dictate everything. Many times the black or even blue run at a ski area, when in icy condition, is rather extreme when you have trees in the runout and an uncontrolled fall could have significant consequences.

    Jeremie has demonstrated to me that he understands this equation even if he can't articulate it. He pulled the plug a couple of times because of conditions.

    Bodywhomper just mentioned Nobis pioneering steep face skiing. Its true...things are done on the shoulders of others. Nobis opened everyone's eyes to what was possible on big Alaskan faces. And the gang took it from there. (And its not always fluff and bunnies on those slopes.) Heitz has made the natural progression (not by himself) of moving this riding style into the Alps and some pretty impressive faces. Alaska set the stage.

    Are any of you really in disagreement that an uncontrolled fall in this terrain, unless super low on the slope, will have the same consequences, whatever they are, regardless of the speed? In an uncontrolled fall one hits a maximum velocity pretty quickly. That velocity is achieved despite whatever speed you were skiing. Consequences are the same.

    Use the Gervasutti for a poor example. Jeremie did not like conditions and skied it way slower than his other descents. When Saari died in an uncontrolled fall there, he was pretty much standing still when the fall began. Granted, Hans came in from the spicier entrance, but still. The reason this is a poor example is that the Gervasutti IS a couloir which by the above definition has tremendous fall zone considerations. Conditions dictate everything. You don't see Honnold soloing in the rain.

    High speed couloir skiing has more risk than most of Jeremie's skiing in this movie. Again, the risk is what is in the fall zone. And that's not even touching on that the ascent of couloirs has way more objective hazard. How many friend's have we lost on the way up these gullies?

    A local example would be the footage of Griffin skiing the Middle Teton. High speed beautiful skiing on a big face. Post chose wisely, though. Great conditions, a fat snowpack, and pretty clean fall zone made the chance and consequence of an uncontrolled fall reasonable. Good call, Griff!

    Lastly, Neckbeard, you mentioned that you can't be calculated in big mountains or something to that effect. I call B.S. on that...its all we have going for us...its how we stack the deck in our favor pursuing dangerous activities. We as a species have the ability to reason (though that was not apparent on election night) and use this ability daily to enjoy and prolong our life. Oh yeah, and we have opposable thumbs for holding ski poles and ice axes!

    Is what we saw on that film dangerous? Obviously. Is high speed gully skiing more dangerous? Inherently.
    Are the consequences any different with how fast one is going when one takes an uncontrolled fall on these faces? Probably not.

    Its all about conditions...

  7. #57
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    Agree with Klar. It's not about falling near the bottom above the run-out, it's about falling higher up. Several of those lines have fall and you die exposure, it's pretty obvious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeJ View Post
    Agree with Klar. It's not about falling near the bottom above the run-out, it's about falling higher up. Several of those lines have fall and you die exposure, it's pretty obvious.
    So TJ, please answer the question I posed above. You just said "Several of those lines have fall you die exposure" I agree its about falling higher up, but do any of you really think that the consequences are any different depending on the speed one was skiing when one enters an uncontrolled fall? If you are high up, I postulate that consequences of an uncontrolled fall are the same. These lines have been skied by others and an uncontrolled fall for ANYONE in these places will have the same consequence. (And have others skied those places in less than ideal conditions?) Again, conditions dictate everything.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by telefreewasatch View Post
    So TJ, please answer the question I posed above. You just said "Several of those lines have fall you die exposure" I agree its about falling higher up, but do any of you really think that the consequences are any different depending on the speed one was skiing when one enters an uncontrolled fall? If you are high up, I postulate that consequences of an uncontrolled fall are the same. These lines have been skied by others and an uncontrolled fall for ANYONE in these places will have the same consequence. (And have others skied those places in less than ideal conditions?) Again, conditions dictate everything.
    The consequences of a fall are the same. It's just that the chances of falling increase when you are going mach10 and jumping off stuff in the face, no?

    Agree that everything depends on conditions. IMO snow is way more of a decisive factor than a few degrees of steepness more or less.
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  10. #60
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    ^^ This. Obviously.

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by klar View Post
    The consequences of a fall are the same. It's just that the chances of falling increase when you are going mach10 and jumping off stuff in the face, no?

    Agree that everything depends on conditions. IMO snow is way more of a decisive factor than a few degrees of steepness more or less.
    Thank you for agreeing. Yes, for him his chances to fall increase for sure. But a point could be made that with his mad skills, given the right conditions, him going 40 mph would be safer than a less skilled skier going 5 mph in the wrong conditions, no?

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by klar View Post
    The consequences of a fall are the same. It's just that the chances of falling increase when you are going mach10 and jumping off stuff in the face, no?

    Agree that everything depends on conditions. IMO snow is way more of a decisive factor than a few degrees of steepness more or less.
    Don't see how anybody could argue with this.

    Klar, your imput on the runouts on these faces is enlightening, as this footage is the first I've really seen of many of them. It seems to me that, because of his speed and the elevated fall risk he is banking on the conditions allowing him to arrest a fall at some point before certain death, even if that point is simply at the bottom of a clean face like the Combin.

    Either that or he believes he won't ever fall, which at that speed is an unfathomable level of confidence.

  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by telefreewasatch View Post
    Thank you for agreeing. Yes, for him his chances to fall increase for sure. But a point could be made that with his mad skills, given the right conditions, him going 40 mph would be safer than a less skilled skier going 5 mph in the wrong conditions, no?
    yes, that point can be made, but I'm not sure what the relevance is? I don't think anyone is saying that the absolute level of risk is unprecedented in the sport of skiing in its many forms. I'm pretty sure it's not, for the record.

    Going back to the imperfect gambling analogies, you rolling your dice one day does not affect the outcome of me rolling mine the next day (unless your dice sets off an avalanche above me, or something). We all have to make our own decisions about the risks we take.

    What is striking to me is that he is purposefully pushing steep skiing to a new level of speed, which objectively ups the risk he is taking, as you said. Other people (e.g. Antamatten) who are arguably equally skilled and maybe more experienced apparently choose not to do so to quite the same extent, for whatever reason. This is their right, just as it is his to take all the risks he wants to.
    Ich bitte dich nur, weck mich nicht.

  14. #64
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    Jeremie Heitz - La Liste

    Credit where due, johan o (sp?) in tb 5 was the first I had seen of somebody taking steep lines at very high speed.

    there can be conditions where momentum and the willingness to ski through a section of crap condition with momentum (gaining lots of speed) with the knowledge and anticipation of better snow below for turning can be easier than skiing the crap snow. psychological, trust in your ability and condition knowledge, and possibly the gear.... Sometimes skiing slowly on very hard snow (coming to a stop or near stop with every turn) is more difficult, and possibly deadlier, than letting it roll.

    In my mind, one enters that terrain with the mindset of that you don't fall.

    Also, I wonder if the fact that they are surrounded by support if there is a problem influences some of their decision making.

    A friend, who liked to open it up and make GS rhythm turns, took a long tumbling fall skiing a steeper face in the Sierra because he didn't recognize the hardness of the ice below him (the rest of the face had a foot of spring powder) and he tried to set an edge at mock looney on the alpine ice. He lost focus of the snow conditions on the slope (we knew about the segment of alpine ice). He lost his edge, slid, and then tumbled maybe a 1000 feet. It was a clean run out and he got lucky. The rest of us (4 total) were above him. it was beautiful to watch somebody railing GS turns down the slope ( I have a picture somewhere) but i specifically remember his roommate say, "what's he doing!" We were a two day ski from the car and didn't have cell phones (late 90's). That exposure had been a key element influencing our decisions on that trip; we had already turned turned around from one objective.

    I hope this post makes sense. I suck at typing and post from a phone.

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by klar View Post
    yes, that point can be made, but I'm not sure what the relevance is? I don't think anyone is saying that the absolute level of risk is unprecedented in the sport of skiing in its many forms. I'm pretty sure it's not, for the record.

    Going back to the imperfect gambling analogies, you rolling your dice one day does not affect the outcome of me rolling mine the next day (unless your dice sets off an avalanche above me, or something). We all have to make our own decisions about the risks we take.

    What is striking to me is that he is purposefully pushing steep skiing to a new level of speed, which objectively ups the risk he is taking, as you said. Other people (e.g. Antamatten) who are arguably equally skilled and maybe more experienced apparently choose not to do so to quite the same extent, for whatever reason. This is their right, just as it is his to take all the risks he wants to.
    The relevance is that everyone was talking about Jeremie having a short life span in the beginning of this thread. My point is that those same folks aren't talking about many of us having a short life span because we are skiing couloirs, etc. at high speed...high consequence. How come?

  16. #66
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    ^^ Most of us aren't straight-lining couloirs. I like to make nice smooth, in-control turns because it's still pretty damn fun and lowers the risk considerably. I suspect I'm not alone here.

    Yes, there's always risk, but there's a pretty broad range of how to mitigate it. From beginner to the very best, going 50 mph is always more likely to cause a fall than going slower.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by telefreewasatch View Post
    So TJ, please answer the question I posed above. You just said "Several of those lines have fall you die exposure" I agree its about falling higher up, but do any of you really think that the consequences are any different depending on the speed one was skiing when one enters an uncontrolled fall? If you are high up, I postulate that consequences of an uncontrolled fall are the same. These lines have been skied by others and an uncontrolled fall for ANYONE in these places will have the same consequence. (And have others skied those places in less than ideal conditions?) Again, conditions dictate everything.

    I agree an uncontrolled slide, whether initiated from a hop turn or a high speed GS arc, result in the same fall. The difference lies only in ones ability to prevent an uncontrolled slide once one of those "oh shit" moments occurs, and you might have a fighting chance of getting some purchase before maximum acceleration is reached-I know several people who've recovered or been able to self arrest when making a mistake above exposure where it would have been fatal. History is littered with the names of greats who could not. I will add that the advantage to skiing the open GS style is that he is actually planing higher on the surface, making less directional changes and spending much less time and effort to maintain control in the no fall zone. They are also on full on alpine gear, damn impressive to climb heavy and know exactly what the snow is like, as opposed to using the heli to get plopped on top.

    It really comes down to the ability to maintain control at speed, and Sam, Jeremie etal appear to do that quite well. The analogy was made that this type of skiing is more akin to base or speed flying and there is an element in there, but I'd also liken it to running the Hahnenkamm where the margin of being in control/out of control is often thin and the consequence of a mistake can be serious.

    I just went and watched the whole thing again. When he falls it's the only time in the film he is off line and trying to set an edge on the ice and he pays for it. My favorite of the whole set is the run down the Spencer where he's following the skin track pretty much the whole way.
    Move upside and let the man go through...

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeJ View Post
    ^^ Most of us aren't straight-lining couloirs. I like to make nice smooth, in-control turns because it's still pretty damn fun and lowers the risk considerably. I suspect I'm not alone here.

    Yes, there's always risk, but there's a pretty broad range of how to mitigate it. From beginner to the very best, going 50 mph is always more likely to cause a fall than going slower.
    Understood. Its not you and me we are talking about here. Personally I ski slower and decrease my exposure every year. We're talking about the top athletes out there and what They are doing. And They are skiing really fast with rock walls on both sides,eh? If we are going to say that Jeremie's days are numbered than should we be saying that about a lot of our other skiing icons? Think hes doing 50? I was figuring he was dawdlin' along about 40.
    Last edited by telefreewasatch; 11-20-2016 at 01:23 PM.

  19. #69
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    i've never done anything close to this obviously but with respect to him following the skintrack down, i am amazed that a lot of the guys don't make a wrong turn going 80mph and just fly off some cliff. i know they do recon and all but but it looks so completely different looking down even standing still.

  20. #70
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    Jeremie Heitz - La Liste

    Johan (sp?) in tb 5 averages over 70mph in the last descent of his segment, if I remember correctly. Mofro261 makes the same point as me regarding maintaining control/directional changes - thanks for writing that more clearly.

    There are plenty of short resort couloirs that people straightline, many in zones labeled "palisades".

    Didn't 666 post a tr long ago of he and friends, including Geoff of NZ free ride fame, railing turns down a hanging face off Carson pass ending in a cliff launch into a couloir? No helis, guides, or high budget film crew in sight.... to me, very similar caliber of skiing.

    For the film, I liked the spencer scene the most. Aesthetically, it was the best line and skied with great style.

    I would like to see a descent like these on a truly big line, like the big face of university peak.

  21. #71
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    Truly big line? Some of these are 3000-3500ft.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post
    Unbelievable
    Agreed. Mind blown. As I have gotten older, I have developed a bit of vertigo. Looking down some of the zones before he dropped in, I definitely felt it. That young man is really good, but also skating on very thin ice. Take care.
    Quote Originally Posted by leroy jenkins View Post
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  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by telefreewasatch View Post
    The relevance is that everyone was talking about Jeremie having a short life span in the beginning of this thread. My point is that those same folks aren't talking about many of us having a short life span because we are skiing couloirs, etc. at high speed...high consequence. How come?
    Okay, I see what you're getting at. I can only speak for myself and the reason I am talking about Jeremie currently is that I just watched his film, which this thread was initially about.

    I don't watch that many ski movies and can't comment much about how fast who is skiing what kind of terrain. I do recall feeling a similar mix of awe and worry when I saw that one really narrow couloir that I think Townsend more or less straight lined last year. I also recall quite a few very thoughtful discussions about risk on these boards, sometimes in the avalanche subforum, sometimes here on the main board, sometimes about competitive freeriding, sometimes about people dying while filming, sometimes after a high profile fatality.

    This has turned into an interesting discussion!

    Oh, and fair point about downhill racing by Mofro. The surroundings (snow) are more controlled and they have more (literal) safety nets but the line between being in control and not skiing wise seems similar.
    Ich bitte dich nur, weck mich nicht.

  24. #74
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    You are on crack if you are comparing this skiing to palisades straight lines.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Whelk View Post
    a more stupid motherfuck does not exist.
    Big Balls is worst asshat kind.
    kind that wear bukkake from above.
    with warm drown he gurgles final death, for one time not worried about his misplaced import known of african american social standing and prominent community members. for he is only drown, as is the way.

  25. #75
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    Yeah, like Mofro's Hahnenkamm analogy. Was thinking a bit ago about how downhill ski racing used to use a couple of hay bales to protect fall zones. A and B net didn't exist. How 'bout those acceptable risks in the fall zone? Maybe the future of extreme skiing at speed uses nets? You know, the next level in safety equipment. Used in conjunction with a complete body encasing solar powered impenetrable air bag that inflates at a certain g or impact force.

    Joking (kinda) aside, the kid has mad skills, is helping pioneer the next level of an extreme sport, makes it look beautiful, and seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Have a great career Jeremie!!
    Last edited by telefreewasatch; 11-20-2016 at 05:36 PM.

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