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  1. #1
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    First Avy Fatality of 19/20 Season in CO

    Vibes to the victim and her family.

    https://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/a...26&view=public
    What we have here is an intelligence failure. You may be familiar with staring directly at that when shaving. .
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  2. #2
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    Here are a few comments. When I worked for CAIC there was a fatal avalanche accident on South Diamond Peak in December 1999. Dale Atkins and I were sent to do the accident investigation. A few years later there was another avalanche accident (fatal) in the same location. We really could have just changed the dates on the first accident report, as it was almost the same exact accident. I wish the CAIC would share their fracture line snow profile from this accident. I'm curious to see how similar they are. My fracture line profile from 19991217 shows 36cm of 4mm size depth hoar and 17cm of 2mm size facets on top of the depth hoar, which was made up of fist and 4 finger hardness at the bottom of the snowpack. If I could find the second accident profile I'm sure it would be just about the same as the first = typical early season Continental snowpack. IMHO, South Diamond peak is a place to stay away from in early winter.
    "True love is much easier to find with a helicopter"

  3. #3
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    First Avy Fatality of 19/20 Season in CO

    Anybody know where exactly on south diamond this ripped? Kinda looked like gash in the photo but couldn’t tell for sure with the low light.

    Hacksaw - where were the slides you were talking about?


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz View Post
    Anybody know where exactly on south diamond this ripped? Kinda looked like gash in the photo but couldn’t tell for sure with the low light.

    Hacksaw - where were the slides you were talking about?


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    1999 accident (detailed location not given): https://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/a...ident=19991214

    2000 accident (photos show location): https://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/a...ident=20001229
    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    All ye punterz! Leave thine stupid heavy skis in the past, or at least in the resort category, for the age of lightweight pussy sticks is upon us! Behold! Keep up with the randocommandos on their carbon blades of shortness! Break thine tibias into spiral splinters with pintech extravagance!

  5. #5
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    Name:  E3E6F852-79C9-4E31-BB05-4E1989292FBF.jpeg
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    Slide location.

  6. #6
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    Jan 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    1999 accident (detailed location not given): https://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/a...ident=19991214

    2000 accident (photos show location): https://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/a...ident=20001229
    The 2000 one looks pretty identical to the one this year. Also, this report from last year: https://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/o...p?obs_id=51763

    ^^ That report was a topic at this year's avy awareness night here in CB. Dave didn't know the people he was skiing with very well. He assumed that everyone was just planning to ski the ridge, as he was. But when he triggered the slide from the ridge someone in his group thanked him, since they were planning to drop in on the face proper (so his topic was better communication). Looks like the same place again.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hacksaw View Post
    When I worked for CAIC there was a fatal avalanche accident on South Diamond Peak in December 1999.
    That young man was an acquaintance of mine and the incident fucked up our friend group pretty bad for a while. I think about him, and our friends that were with him, all the time. He was the first of several friends that never came home and a big part of why I don't go out there anymore.
    I know my anecdote isn't relevant but it makes me feel better to type it out.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz View Post
    Hacksaw - where were the slides you were talking about?


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    See the reports.
    "True love is much easier to find with a helicopter"

  9. #9
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    First Avy Fatality of 19/20 Season in CO

    I ski in the vicinity several times a year. Mostly in the trees, but also North Diamond and in times of stability I have done S Diamond from the top.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Hack. This IS NOT terrain to ski in early or mid winter short of exceptional stability.

    The thing that I have to say about this area is that almost every time I’m there, someone is doing something stupid.

    I’ve seen groups of 7-8 all lapping S Diamond at the same time, multiple people skiing while others lounge at the bottom of the face at the same time, while others are skinning up, all exposed at the same time.

    Solo skiers on S Diamond in early winter.

    People skiing the face/s in sketchy conditions.

    People with no gear

    Etc

    It reflects a general attitude to that terrain from this particular skiing population.

    Perhaps Fort Collins or Cameron Pass needs a remedial Avy awareness focus.


    Also with respect to this sad fatality, I have to comment on snow pits. I fucking hate them.

    I think that far too many think they’ve gained some expertise by learning them but in reality they are just akin to a first year civil engineer leading the math of building bridges. They may sort of understand the basics but shouldn’t be trusted to actually design bridges.

    Even when people get signals from the pit, they far too often only use them to rationalize a GO decision. ‘We DID dig a pit and thought the risk reasonable’


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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Profane View Post
    Keystone is fucking lame. But, deadly.

  10. #10
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    How bout them Bronco's!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kinnikinnick View Post
    ... Also with respect to this sad fatality, I have to comment on snow pits. I fucking hate them.

    I think that far too many think they’ve gained some expertise by learning them but in reality they are just akin to a first year civil engineer leading the math of building bridges. They may sort of understand the basics but shouldn’t be trusted to actually design bridges.

    Even when people get signals from the pit, they far too often only use them to rationalize a GO decision. ‘We DID dig a pit and thought the risk reasonable’
    I gotta say ... people with way more experience than me tend to not like 'em. Sadly, as you note, they tend to use them to rationalize a "go" decision.

    From the report (and I'm pasting it here so it's further burned into my awareness):

    The two skiers dug a snow pit near the top of the run that they wanted to ski. They correctly identified a slab on top of a weak layer near the ground. They knew that the structure was poor, but the total height of snow where the dug the pit was only 12 to 14 inches. They incorrectly assumed that the snowpack across the entire slope would be 12 to 14 inches deep, and that if they triggered an avalanche it would not be very big. Snow profiles and snowpack tests are useful tools to examine the snowpack structure and identify weak layers; however, use great care in extrapolating a snow profile to an entire slope. In this case, the snowpack on portions of the slope was only 12 to 14 inches deep, but the gully where Skier 2 triggered the avalanche was a perfect place to collect wind-drifted snow. The snowpack was much deeper in the gully and the avalanche wider and deeper than the pair expected.
    ... Thom
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  12. #12
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    I dig snow pits all the time. I turned around many times.

    But... I see very often the comment: he did not have any avie gear and he was alone.

    Avie gear will not help if you're alone.

    Avie gear will not help if you're caught in a slide and have massive trauma.

    Best thing is not to ski when there's a buried weak layer.

    A problem obviously if you live in a Continental climate.

    Then you do what marault (i think Bill) said: never ski anything over 25 degrees in the winter in Colorado.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post
    I dig snow pits all the time. I turned around many times.

    But... I see very often the comment: he did not have any avie gear and he was alone.

    Avie gear will not help if you're alone.
    There are numerous stories of folks skiing alone being found by other parties. There is one two threads below this one right now.
    https://www.tetongravity.com/forums/...-5-hour-burial

    Or you could come across a slide with a single set of tracks running into it, but you have no beacon. Plus, I just consider it best practice to ALWAYS wear it. Otherwise you have to pick a point at which it is safe vs not safe to leave it at home and that seems like a slippery slope.
    Having said that, If I'm solo and I forget it, I'm not gonna turn around.
    powdork.com - new and improved, with 20% more dork.

  14. #14
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    S Diamond has always sketched me out. I think I suffer from agoraphobia in the backcountry. I hate wide open faces and bowls, especially when they are above rock outcroppings and terrain traps. Give me a good old fashioned steep coulie any day.

    RIP, sad to lose another snow traveler.

    Always carry any gear, solo or not. I've had to dig myself out, I've dug others out too, while solo. We even wear gear when skinning jeep roads despite the wife's protest.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Name Redacted View Post
    Always carry any gear, solo or not. I've had to dig myself out, I've dug others out too, while solo. We even wear gear when skinning jeep roads despite the wife's protest.
    yup. maybe if you live above the arctic circle or someplace like that it doesn't matter, but in CO/UT/WY/CA/NV/ID etc, you ain't the only one out there.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mall walker View Post
    yup. maybe if you live above the arctic circle or someplace like that it doesn't matter, but in CO/UT/WY/CA/NV/ID etc, you ain't the only one out there.
    And if you go out alone and you eat it, have some consideration by making it easier for people who have to recover your body.

    ... Thom
    Last edited by galibier_numero_un; 12-29-2019 at 05:03 PM.
    Galibier Design
    crafting technology in service of music

  17. #17
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    Beepin in the car...beepin in the bar. That's the rule!

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