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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by skideeppow View Post
    I agree, i think at some point someone has to broadcast a harsh message, you really need to think before you go. Red flag warning, massive winds and snow totals in the 20inch range.
    I knew Mike well, and it is an awful loss, and maybe something can be learned, but wtf. This was no place for people to be fucking around.
    Scarcity?
    https://www.ellis-brigham.com/news-a...euristic-traps
    I'm still kind of in shock. I haven't talked to him in a few years but we used to play a lot of lax together before kids came along.

    At the huts we've seen a pretty big increase over the last 5 years or so in the numbers of day skiers coming through Friends, Opa's and Barnard trying to prerun the course and get some long practice days in. But why they decided to push it on a day like Saturday with the snowpack we've got just seems hard to imagine. The standard route does pass through plenty of sketchy spots but they're running the race at the end of March, not the middle of February during a storm.
    "They don't think it be like it is, but it do."

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo View Post
    I'm still kind of in shock. I haven't talked to him in a few years but we used to play a lot of lax together before kids came along.

    At the huts we've seen a pretty big increase over the last 5 years or so in the numbers of day skiers coming through Friends, Opa's and Barnard trying to prerun the course and get some long practice days in. But why they decided to push it on a day like Saturday with the snowpack we've got just seems hard to imagine. The standard route does pass through plenty of sketchy spots but they're running the race at the end of March, not the middle of February during a storm.
    yup, just some very bad decisions. Look at the CAIC site today. That large red banner should get everyone's attention. Back country travel should be avoided. When i head out, which is very infrequent now days, this is the first place i go.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joey Joe Joe Junior Shabadoo View Post
    The standard route does pass through plenty of sketchy spots but they're running the race at the end of March, not the middle of February during a storm.
    Yup. This pitch often barely has any snow on it when they run the race.

    Also agreed that pictures don't do justice, it is a steep slope with few trees.

  4. #29
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    Definitely reinforces that micro terrain can hold very large risks.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MakersTeleMark View Post
    Definitely reinforces that micro terrain can hold very large risks.
    Don't even know if it's that micro. Looking at the Google Earth, it's about 250 vertical feet.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    This is where I am at. I think I'm coming to the realization that we just don't have an organization who's singular focus is the safety of recreational backcountry skiers. It ain't the forecasting centers, AAA, AIARE although they all do great work. We just don't currently have a culture where a feedback loop exists where poor decision making is analyzed for the purpose of enhancing future decision making.

    We are close, but there seems to be some disconnect and I don't know what it is.

    Maybe we should create another thread so we can distance ourselves from the sadness that is this and other fatal accidents?
    We always say that. It still keeps happening. There is no denying in every avalanche death there was a poor decision somewhere. The proof is in the outcome. Sadly, that decision is always that of the deceased (and we're not allowed to discuss it), or someone who survived (and we're not allowed to discuss it).
    For us to learn, maybe we need to discuss it when and where it hurts the most.
    powdork.com - new and improved, with 20% more dork.

  7. #32
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    When you have a desire to push your body and mind outside what you would consider normal capability, the idea of thinking logically is thrown out the door. Considering consequences, poor outcomes, rescues, self rescue, injury, or death is all pushed aside so you can attain a goal. Very few people work within this mindset, so it's difficult to understand. The idea to push through deep snow, poor visibility, and questionable terrain was all rational at the time because the perceived payoff. Taking on a 10 - 20 mile back country tour solo may seem irrational to some, while to others it seems like a great idea.

    Fear motivates a few, while it keeps many safe and at home. Dying doing what you love is the biggest bullshit line out there. No one walks out their door straps on skis and considers the idea that death is available to them today. No one wants to die doing what they love. They want to come home to a toasty house at the end of an adventure, with their mind buzzing high on an adrenaline rush. Knowing that they pushed as hard as they could that day. Drained of all energy and feeling like you accomplished something that very few others have.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    We always say that. It still keeps happening. There is no denying in every avalanche death there was a poor decision somewhere. The proof is in the outcome. Sadly, that decision is always that of the deceased (and we're not allowed to discuss it), or someone who survived (and we're not allowed to discuss it).
    For us to learn, maybe we need to discuss it when and where it hurts the most.

    Big difference in thoughtful and dispassionate discussion and calling out dead people for being stupid.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    We always say that. It still keeps happening. There is no denying in every avalanche death there was a poor decision somewhere. The proof is in the outcome. Sadly, that decision is always that of the deceased (and we're not allowed to discuss it), or someone who survived (and we're not allowed to discuss it).
    For us to learn, maybe we need to discuss it when and where it hurts the most.
    Quote Originally Posted by fastfred View Post
    When you have a desire to push your body and mind outside what you would consider normal capability, the idea of thinking logically is thrown out the door. Considering consequences, poor outcomes, rescues, self rescue, injury, or death is all pushed aside so you can attain a goal. Very few people work within this mindset, so it's difficult to understand. The idea to push through deep snow, poor visibility, and questionable terrain was all rational at the time because the perceived payoff. Taking on a 10 - 20 mile back country tour solo may seem irrational to some, while to others it seems like a great idea.

    Fear motivates a few, while it keeps many safe and at home. Dying doing what you love is the biggest bullshit line out there. No one walks out their door straps on skis and considers the idea that death is available to them today. No one wants to die doing what they love. They want to come home to a toasty house at the end of an adventure, with their mind buzzing high on an adrenaline rush. Knowing that they pushed as hard as they could that day. Drained of all energy and feeling like you accomplished something that very few others have.
    I have very little avalanche experience (and hope to keep it that way), but both are excellent points and worth noting.
    Screw the net, Surf the backcountry!

  10. #35
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    I have been involved with a few serious rescues, and I can tell you that I remember thinking, and even saying out loud, "Why the fuck are we doing this?" As in, how in the fuck did we rationalize that backcountry skiing was worth risking our lives for a few mediocre powder turns? I try to remember my thoughts when I was in the moment, whenever considering going out to ski a backcountry line.

    The switch in your head switches real quick from "Yeah, I'm gonna shred the shit out of the line cause I'm a badass!" (obviously exaggerated to make a point) to "Fuck! I wish I was sitting on the beach drinking rum out of a coconut right now". That's seriously the vision that was going through my head.

    Aviation has some pretty good training on avoiding heuristic traps. Most of it directly transfers over to backcountry travel.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    For us to learn, maybe we need to discuss it when and where it hurts the most.
    Quote Originally Posted by Not bunion View Post
    Big difference in thoughtful and dispassionate discussion and calling out dead people for being stupid.
    These are both true: when and where it hurts the most is one thing, but How is another.

    Fastred's detailed description of getting hung up on a goal reminds me of a technique Keith Robine (who co-wrote the AST1 booklet for Avalanche Canada) is teaching: mindfulness. We're used to being scatter-brained and not "present" and thinking of the future (the goal or the end of day buzz) instead of seeing what's going on around us. Taking a forced pause from time to time to see the present seems like a good idea.

  12. #37
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    ^^^ Good points.

    IMO where it crosses the line is that skiing is supposed to be fun and BC is skiing and so it should be about having fun.

    And suddenly when you are skiing avalanche terrain on some days it is deadly serious and not any longer just about having fun but in making good decisions.

    No easy answers that I can think of.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by I've seen black diamonds! View Post
    I do think a national organization that focuses on analyzing accidents developed to the point that it is recognized as the authority on the subject, and thus treated as required reading for BC skiers, could result in a significant reduction in blatant human error. This would be separate from forecasting organizations, but prominently linked to on all such pages. No space for public comment. No shaming. Honest, carefully crafted storytelling an high quality photos + video. It would cost time and $$$ to do it right. Production value matters when you are effectively competing with facebook and instagram.
    The CAA already does a pretty good job, though well after the fact.
    https://www.avalancheassociation.ca/...spx?id=5143665

    If you want to hone your skills and play safely, all the resources you need are available, but thereís no getting around the deadly consequences of fucking up.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not bunion View Post
    Big difference in thoughtful and dispassionate discussion and calling out dead people for being stupid.
    100% yeah.

    While I do understand the urge to react somehow when these accidents happen, as has been pointed out here in the past, there's usually no new knowledge we are acquiring from these incidents right? Go one at a time; avoid slopes over 30ļ with a known PWL; I just don't understand what sort of persuasive and nuanced discussion folks expect to come out of this.

    I understand the urge to impart more knowledge to folks who go out there unaware and ill-prepared (like some of our beaconless UT fatalities); but it's hard to imagine that these guys, training for a ~40 mile largely unsupported competitive ski touring event, were green amateurs unaware of proper avalanche travel protocol, or hadn't read the forecast, etc.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Not bunion View Post
    Big difference in thoughtful and dispassionate discussion and calling out dead people for being stupid.
    +1

    Avi conditions are dispassionate, objective.

    I wonder if they were in a little different risk-assessment mindset, given what they were training for. For me the race (and training for it) is more of a flimsy-gear aggressive endurance point-to-point mostly on trails and roads; as opposed to putting a track up something to ski it.
    I'll admit my mindset and risk evaluation between those two .. has been more different than it should be.

    Also +1 on the comments that this pitch is almost melted out and bulletproof during the race - My bigger fear here was misstepping in the dark and falling/sliding down it. Maybe that's how they remembered it too, so didn't re-evaluate for mid-winter conditions as opposed to April conditions?

    Harsh reminders.

    another bad loss for the valley, RIP guys. You'll be missed. Condolences to family and friends

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by mall walker View Post
    ...there's usually no new knowledge we are acquiring from these incidents right?
    Maybe, but it can certainly serve as a reminder or refresher (after last yearís crappy snowpack I know I can use some reminding), and the more emphasis that is given to the human factors, the more people might relate what happened to their own decisions.

    Iíve seen my judgement slip sometimes. If I get away with something, i have seem myself push it a little farther the next time because I got away with it once. I think thereís a name for that but I forget what it is.
    And I guess that I just don't know

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mall walker View Post
    100% yeah.

    While I do understand the urge to react somehow when these accidents happen, as has been pointed out here in the past, there's usually no new knowledge we are acquiring from these incidents right? Go one at a time; avoid slopes over 30ļ with a known PWL; I just don't understand what sort of persuasive and nuanced discussion folks expect to come out of this.

    I understand the urge to impart more knowledge to folks who go out there unaware and ill-prepared (like some of our beaconless UT fatalities); but it's hard to imagine that these guys, training for a ~40 mile largely unsupported competitive ski touring event, were green amateurs unaware of proper avalanche travel protocol, or hadn't read the forecast, etc.
    i still have more frends that have died from overdoses and drug and alchol abuse
    only thing I learnt from their deaths and the ones that occouron a daily basis unlike avalaunches
    is attempt to manage your addictions or end em

    other than that

    I pass no judgement and offer vibes for those truly affected
    "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
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    ski on in eternal peace

  18. #43
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    People drive while drunk or high. They either rationalize or do not consider.

    People ski sketchy shit while on endorphin highs whether it is from pow or endurance. They either rationalize or do not consider.

    We educate people on what to consider and how to avoid rationalizing. We preach a culture that supports education, objectivity, honesty, openness, and conservatism.

    There is such a thing as bad luck: carefully considering and taking the right actions but still getting a bad outcome. Bad luck is rare in avalanche accidents.

    Usually, people rely on good luck: getting a good outcome despite the poor decisions. Skiers usually have good luck.

    A bad outcome from poor consideration or bad decisions is NOT bad luck.

    Two people dead in a terrain trap is not bad luck. It is tragic.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  19. #44
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    thousands of people dieing from opiate od aint tragic no more
    its just the fuckn way it is
    and typin shit on the web aint gonna change shit
    "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

  20. #45
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    OD deaths are not from bad luck
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

  21. #46
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    2 buried/killed Brush Creek, Crested Butte CO

    Quote Originally Posted by I've seen black diamonds! View Post
    I do think a national organization that focuses on analyzing accidents developed to the point that it is recognized as the authority on the subject, and thus treated as required reading for BC skiers, could result in a significant reduction in blatant human error. This would be separate from forecasting organizations, but prominently linked to on all such pages. No space for public comment. No shaming. Honest, carefully crafted storytelling an high quality photos + video. It would cost time and $$$ to do it right. Production value matters when you are effectively competing with facebook and instagram.
    To do this a producer has to become the arbiter of truth in murky scenarios that cost lives. Thatís a proposition I think would be doomed to failure from the start. Could you imagine the blowback here? Joel Gratz canít even do a forecast w/out catching flack...

    It would also be very expensive: making a single 4-8 minute video for each fatal slide would easily cost tens of thousands of dollars (in freelance rates) to be done right. Add in a team to raise money, run the organization, market everything, whatever else and this could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year all to solve a problem that costs on average 27 lives a year.

    Iíd love to save every single person that died in a slide and I could make exactly what youíre asking to be created. But I donít think itís a realistic solution.
    Last edited by kathleenturneroverdrive; 02-20-2019 at 08:19 AM.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by mall walker View Post
    100% yeah.

    While I do understand the urge to react somehow when these accidents happen, as has been pointed out here in the past, there's usually no new knowledge we are acquiring from these incidents right? Go one at a time; avoid slopes over 30ļ with a known PWL; I just don't understand what sort of persuasive and nuanced discussion folks expect to come out of this.

    I understand the urge to impart more knowledge to folks who go out there unaware and ill-prepared (like some of our beaconless UT fatalities); but it's hard to imagine that these guys, training for a ~40 mile largely unsupported competitive ski touring event, were green amateurs unaware of proper avalanche travel protocol, or hadn't read the forecast, etc.
    I've learned from these discussions. You try to figure out what the thought processes or group thought processes were that led to the result. "How did you end up on that 38 degree slope that you all said you were going to avoid before you left the car?" In previous discussions someone posted a link that included the idea to always have someone in the group to play devils advocate for the important decisions. Last sunday we were skiing powderhouse on a high day with the main danger being touchy windslabs on the ridgeline. we would reassess things as we went up as whether to turn back early but we weren't going to the ridgeline. The guy in front kept going and as we got nearer to the ridgeline and the top layer got a bit heavier I pulled the plug for the rest of us (and we had a radio to tell the guy up front so he turned around too). This wasn't a hard decision mostly because it's not one of those ridgelines you WANT to drop in off of the better skiing is below. But without these discussions I likely wouldn't have spoken up as I did.

    I just think faulty decision making is the number one reason people die from avalanches so to throw up our arms and say we can't discuss it but we can discuss all the science that we in many cases ignore anyway is kinda silly.
    powdork.com - new and improved, with 20% more dork.

  23. #48
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    Confused. Who says that faulty decision making canít be discussed?

  24. #49
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    There is some great stuff in this thread. Thanks for that. The more I think about it the more I think this has nothing to do with avalanche education and everything to do with "Obstacles to Good Decision Making".

    I'm such a stubborn asshole that has been at this so long that while not publicly expressing it (until now), my mind is always, "why would you do that, dumbass?" when an educated and experienced backcounty user makes a seemingly "obvious mistake".

    What I'm now realizing is that there are so many factors, both internal and external, that effect our decision making that it is anything but "simple and easy". We are our own worst enemy. It almost takes some level of awareness and self-consciousness that is uncomfortable.

    I don't really know where I am going with this other than to say that maybe it is a moment of clarity for me where I'm coming around to just how difficult good decision making can be for some people in some situations. I have no answers but it is something I am gonna keep thinking about.

    Let me know what you think.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    The more I think about it the more I think this has nothing to do with avalanche education and everything to do with "Obstacles to Good Decision Making".
    I think that good decision making is the most important part of avalanche education (but obviously not the only source nor a cure-all). Avalanche education has shifted emphasis from science to human factors, risk, and decision making more and more over the last 10-15 years.
    Quote Originally Posted by blurred
    skiing is hiking all day so that you can ski on shitty gear for 5 minutes.

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