Page 2 of 5 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 120
  1. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    cb, co
    Posts
    4,226
    I've long said that the danger ratings are one of the least informative parts of the forecast- the good stuff is all in the problem types and forecast discussion. It always drives me nuts when someone says "it just went moderate!". Who cares if it's a pwl like we usually have in CO. Somehow they need to bring the problem types to the front, and put the rating in the back...

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    337
    Great discussion and it would be interesting to get a psychologist's input on how people actually assess risk. I believe one reason PWLs are so dangerous is that humans are not adapted to rationally assess low probability/high consequence events like PWLs. I don't know if we will ever solve this problem but if we do lottery ticket sales will probably tank.

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Rossland BC
    Posts
    1,435
    I donít agree that the forecasting is the issue. Every forecast available is very clear about the issues in the snowpack, and those who read them and have the humility and discipline to adapt accordingly donít have problems. However plenty of people either donít read them, donít think they apply to them, or just inexplicably act contrary to them. Itís fascinating to speculate about all the complicated psychological and societal factors at play in such risk taking, but imagining that changing how forecasts are communicated is somehow going address these fundamental human qualities, seems a tall order.

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    the LCC
    Posts
    739
    Quote Originally Posted by wra View Post
    The issue is about route finding and safe travel, in other words, how to get around the mountains in winter.
    Looking at the slide path in Wilson glade will reveal flagged trees all the way across the base with alleys from previous large slides cut out between the trees.
    Haven't seen the monsters since early nineties? but avalanches run in 10-20-50-100 year cycles. Rather than focusing on danger ratings and filming video after video of digging snow pits for you tube, the focus should be on how in the hell you get around.
    Don't need to spend half an hour digging when the hollow layer can be felt with a pole plant.
    Terrain features can and do suggest safe paths on the up, which is where majority of the time is spent.
    ^^^
    I've said that I don't know how to keep people on top of the snow.
    That's not true. I've taught scores of people to do just that in and out of the ski area.
    And paid great attention to linking up older with younger patrollers on routes.
    How does one learn the stuff that a forecast can't teach you?
    One learns it best from mentoring not just unguided experience.
    So, how do we get young "expert" folks mentored?
    Especially for the up where all time is spent and folks are most likely to be traveling through avy terrain more than one at a time, like wra says.
    No one is gonna pay for it, and if it is free is it worth anything?
    Time spent skiing cannot be deducted from one's life.

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    5,073

    Persistent Weak Layers and forecasting.

    People have a hard time implementing the only highly effective strategy during shitty PWL = 0 avalanche terrain.

    Recognizing avalanche terrain and skiing clear of it is more effective then any asterisk or X rating or whatever improvement on the forecast report.

    IMO too many people want to make it about ďmaking the call.Ē With PWL the call is not skiing on or under avalanche terrain until there is major bridging or a metamorphosis of some type.

    Discipline is required. Days, weeks, months can go by without being able to ski on or under avalanche terrain. And thatís not as exciting as steep terrain today and requires constant attention from planning to skin track chatting to choosing the less exciting way down.










    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Profane View Post
    Keystone is fucking lame. But, deadly.

  6. #31
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
    7,511
    Quote Originally Posted by Kinnikinnick View Post
    People have a hard time implementing the only highly effective strategy during shitty PWL = 0 avalanche terrain.

    Days, weeks, months can go by without being able to ski on or under avalanche terrain.
    The "or under" seems to be a major issue this year. A related challenge is that while PWL are pretty standard in some places, the "shitty PWL," as you called it, is a whole other animal. There are places I ski most winters on moderate days that I'm scared of this year.

  7. #32
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    west tetons
    Posts
    1,678
    Quote Originally Posted by Kinnikinnick View Post

    Discipline is required. Days, weeks, months can go by without being able to ski on or under avalanche terrain. And that’s not as exciting as steep terrain today and requires constant attention from planning to skin track chatting to choosing the less exciting way down.










    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    This is the real crux of the biscuit. Discipline. I know Nancy Reagan ruined it for us, but truly, you gotta just say NO to avalanche terrain. Gotta be patient. Gotta wait til spring or til next year. Sure we could re-work the avalanche bulletin, but that's not the issue. People gotta OWN terrain choices. I know the general demographic that is getting smoked. As Pogo says, they are US, they are ME. Name:  Screen Shot 2021-02-10 at 8.51.14 PM.png
Views: 1761
Size:  925.9 KB

  8. #33
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    760
    Quote Originally Posted by total_immortal View Post
    Great discussion and it would be interesting to get a psychologist's input on how people actually assess risk. I believe one reason PWLs are so dangerous is that humans are not adapted to rationally assess low probability/high consequence events like PWLs. I don't know if we will ever solve this problem but if we do lottery ticket sales will probably tank.
    This, and then you add in familiarity.

    I've talked a bit about this and decision making in general with my wife, who is a psychologist. She's not specialized in cognitive behaviour, so she's not really into these things, but overall she just says that most people are built so that they always try to justify why they can do something they want to do. As opposed to finding reasons not do it. The difference is mainly that different people relies on different heuristics.

    I also work together with a few psychologist and other with degrees in psychology. Neither has really given me good explanations of how we function cognitively when we assess LPHC-situations. To me it seems that this "defect" has had a function in human evolution. Would you hunt wolly mammoths, if you considered the risk rationally? Or would you eat berries and whatnot?

    I'm pretty certain that I on a group level see a difference between boys and girls in how they assess and accept risk. I'm pretty certain that there's been research into avalanches as well, were groups including girls are less prone to avalanches.
    Last edited by sf; 02-11-2021 at 05:08 AM.

  9. #34
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Verdi NV
    Posts
    9,252
    Quote Originally Posted by homemadesalsa View Post
    This is the real crux of the biscuit. Discipline. I know Nancy Reagan ruined it for us, but truly, you gotta just say NO to avalanche terrain. Gotta be patient. Gotta wait til spring or til next year. Sure we could re-work the avalanche bulletin, but that's not the issue. People gotta OWN terrain choices. I know the general demographic that is getting smoked. As Pogo says, they are US, they are ME. Name:  Screen Shot 2021-02-10 at 8.51.14 PM.png
Views: 1761
Size:  925.9 KB
    There it is.

    But an addict is going to do it regardless of the risks.
    It's where we are
    Own your fail. ~Jer~

  10. #35
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    the LCC
    Posts
    739
    Quote Originally Posted by sfotex View Post
    I have a good friend/IMGA guide/forecaster/rescue type person who been proposing that the forecasting community needs to change how they represent and convey PWL issues to the public for a few years now. His take is that a considerable rating due to a PWL is a lot different then considerable new snow issue. One is playing Russian roulette, the other could be possibly be navigated safely by a skilled party. (And several mags have brought this up recently) And the events of this season have show something is off.

    Is it time to reevaluate the rating definitions and standards and make PWL issues it's own thing?
    Like a 'no-go' color or PWL cross hatching for the rose? Something else?
    To address the original post:
    Where did the term pwl come from, anyhow?
    A fancy term for what is usually large facets on the ground.
    It's kind of a stupid phrase and like Sfotex says, doesn't have a warning bell to it.
    There's a tremendous difference like he says between new and old snow avalanches.
    We use to talk about "deep slab" or "full depth avalanches" instead of pwls.
    That is we are talking about what could slide, not the weak layer that was the cause.
    Much more attention getting, yes?
    Always had an ominous ring to it, at least for me.
    Maybe we should be talking about pwls less, and deep slab potential more, eh?
    Time spent skiing cannot be deducted from one's life.

  11. #36
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Montrose, CO
    Posts
    3,493
    Quote Originally Posted by telefreewasatch View Post
    To address the original post:
    Where did the term pwl come from, anyhow?
    A fancy term for what is usually large facets on the ground.
    It's kind of a stupid phrase and like Sfotex says, doesn't have a warning bell to it.
    There's a tremendous difference like he says between new and old snow avalanches.
    We use to talk about "deep slab" or "full depth avalanches" instead of pwls.
    That is we are talking about what could slide, not the weak layer that was the cause.
    Much more attention getting, yes?
    Always had an ominous ring to it, at least for me.
    Maybe we should be talking about pwls less, and deep slab potential more, eh?
    That is a good point. My first stint living in Colorado, we had a really bad year. I remember reading the term "deep slab" over and over in the report every day, seeing lots of reference and pictures of small slabs stepping down into the older snow and ripping out the entire bowl. I was scared enough, then I took a SAR page for a fatality. Third person down the slope iirc in a heavily skied area. Triggered a small slab that stepped down and wiped out the whole pitch. I don't think I left the resort for a month or two after that.

  12. #37
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    6,878
    This is a really good discussion. I'm all about creative problem solving and I 100% agree that when the rating encompasses both probability and consequence, it has limitations with Deep slab/PSL/lingering problems with high spatial variability. That said, the true problem is consistently conservative decision making, a commitment to being awesome and being hyper situationally aware.

    As a user group, we need to be more in tune with the fact that we are the problem. We talk about "heuristic traps" and "humans being inside the avalanche triangle" but it is not enough. I advocate for this being the number one and first agenda item for any day in the backcountry. Check in with yourself and be honest about how you are feeling, where your brain is at and make a commitment to safety. Do this before you even look at the forecast or start with any trip planning. Then have this conversation with your partners. Do it again as part of your beacon check. Have everyone look each other in the eye and make sure that you and your group respect each others lives to the extent that getting everyone home safely from now until forever is by far and away the priority.

    If you can't do that or if you place something else above a true rigorous commitment to safety, you and your group are at risk and you may want to consider whether travel in avalanche terrain is an appropriate activity for you. Nobody wants to hear this. Everyone thinks that because they love skiing that the logical progression is into the backcountry.

    In many ways it is the antithesis of ski area skiing which can be an escape from reality. Backcountry skiing can be the most stark and deadly teacher of reality.

  13. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Ogden
    Posts
    7,053
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    This is a really good discussion. I'm all about creative problem solving and I 100% agree that when the rating encompasses both probability and consequence, it has limitations with Deep slab/PSL/lingering problems with high spatial variability. That said, the true problem is consistently conservative decision making, a commitment to being awesome and being hyper situationally aware.

    As a user group, we need to be more in tune with the fact that we are the problem. We talk about "heuristic traps" and "humans being inside the avalanche triangle" but it is not enough. I advocate for this being the number one and first agenda item for any day in the backcountry. Check in with yourself and be honest about how you are feeling, where your brain is at and make a commitment to safety. Do this before you even look at the forecast or start with any trip planning. Then have this conversation with your partners. Do it again as part of your beacon check. Have everyone look each other in the eye and make sure that you and your group respect each others lives to the extent that getting everyone home safely from now until forever is by far and away the priority.

    If you can't do that or if you place something else above a true rigorous commitment to safety, you and your group are at risk and you may want to consider whether travel in avalanche terrain is an appropriate activity for you. Nobody wants to hear this. Everyone thinks that because they love skiing that the logical progression is into the backcountry.

    In many ways it is the antithesis of ski area skiing which can be an escape from reality. Backcountry skiing can be the most stark and deadly teacher of reality.
    ^^^Good post.

    Edited to add: Kin nailed it. You just have to stay out of avalanche terrain, up and down. If you can't accept the fun in that, then the resort is where you should stay.

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Montrose, CO
    Posts
    3,493
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post

    In many ways it is the antithesis of ski area skiing which can be an escape from reality. Backcountry skiing can be the most stark and deadly teacher of reality.
    Man, so many people don't get this when they get their first BC setup. They are practically two different sports.

  15. #40
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    6,878
    https://avalanche.state.co.us/foreca...e/front-range/

    The hazard rating for today is MODERATE for all elevations. The associates verbiage is:

    Summary
    You can trigger an avalanche large enough to bury you completely. The most dangerous slopes have firm slabs of recently wind-drifted snow. Identify and avoid steep areas with smooth, pillow-like drifts of snow. You're likely to find these under ridgelines and in steep, sheltered gullies. Avalanches can break into deeper layers and produce surprisingly large and destructive avalanches.
    In the first week of February, at least 14 people were killed in avalanches in the U.S., making it one of the deadliest weeks in 100 years. This comes despite advances in weather forecasting, personal safety equipment, education and training. There is no doubt that the mountains can be a perilous place. Still, safety is possible, but it requires nearly monastic focus and careful planning when conditions are dangerous. Even after all that, you have to stick to the plan and be ready with contingencies when the unexpected occurs.

    Recent avalanche activity shows a pattern of larger avalanches recently and some running longer than expected. Despite low snow volume for this time of the season, bed surfaces are almost slippery, wind has concentrated snow in start zones, and avalanches are reaching areas that people haven't seen in recent memory.

    Years like this are uncommon but not unheard of. Avalanches occur on a geologic timescale, with landscape-altering events occurring infrequently. It's a timescale more akin to massive floods than severe thunderstorms, as far as the frequency of severe events goes. Most people never see big avalanches in their lives. Others live through a historic avalanche cycle like March 2019 in Colorado.

    This year, your previously used travel plans might not be safe. Long-running avalanches are always possible, but this year they are more likely. Keep your planning and communication tight and focused on careful travel and don't be afraid to adjust your plans if you get new information along the way.
    To me, as a 25+ year ski tourer in a Continental Snow Pack, my tour plan for today would be "AVOID ALL AVALANCHE TERRAIN". That doesn't make it the right answer, it just makes it my answer. The incidents this year are just reinforcing the idea that ski touring in avalanche terrain just sucks right now. Unless you are willing to avoid avalanche terrain, you are at risk. Go to the ski area, go meadow skipping, figure out a traverse, prospect new zones, get a snowmobile, learn to pow surf. Mid winter travel in avalanche terrain is the exception not the rule.

  16. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    2,388
    Quote Originally Posted by telefreewasatch View Post
    ^^^
    I've said that I don't know how to keep people on top of the snow.
    That's not true. I've taught scores of people to do just that in and out of the ski area.
    And paid great attention to linking up older with younger patrollers on routes.
    How does one learn the stuff that a forecast can't teach you?
    One learns it best from mentoring not just unguided experience.
    So, how do we get young "expert" folks mentored?
    Especially for the up where all time is spent and folks are most likely to be traveling through avy terrain more than one at a time, like wra says.
    No one is gonna pay for it, and if it is free is it worth anything?
    As someone on the other side of this equation, I couldn't agree more: the best knowledge comes from personal, 1x1 relationships, mentoring, hands on teaching. My partners and I try our best with the tools we have at our disposal - CalTopo, WBS map, searching UAC for previously reported slides while planning a tour the night before, etc, but we're all right around 30 +/- 5 years, and we just don't have the depth of knowledge that many of the more seasoned backcountry travelers have. Nor do we see the world through your eyes; I'm sure that on the same tour, you would pick up on twice the available evidence of avalanche activity or snow instability than we would.

    For whatever it's worth I could easily find a group of 3 highly motivated, younger skiers who would gladly pay for the opportunity to have this type of mentorship. Please shoot me a PM if you're serious

    Quote Originally Posted by kootenayskier View Post

    I donít agree that the forecasting is the issue. Every forecast available is very clear about the issues in the snowpack, and those who read them and have the humility and discipline to adapt accordingly donít have problems. However plenty of people either donít read them, donít think they apply to them, or just inexplicably act contrary to them. Itís fascinating to speculate about all the complicated psychological and societal factors at play in such risk taking, but imagining that changing how forecasts are communicated is somehow going address these fundamental human qualities, seems a tall order.
    I respectfully disagree, and I think that your comment represents an oversimplification of human behavior, risk assessment, and data analysis/interpretation. It's not simply a matter of hubris or lack of humility or reading comprehension, and fundamentally, if the goal of an avalanche center is to reduce injuries and fatalities, it is incumbent upon them to identify communication and visualization strategies that effectively convey the desired information. Moreover, equipping people with the right tools and knowledge pays dividends for years to come - it's not enough just to say "Don't ski steep shit or UR GONNA DIE"

    Quote Originally Posted by kinnikinnick View Post
    IMO too many people want to make it about ďmaking the call.Ē With PWL the call is not skiing on or under avalanche terrain until there is major bridging or a metamorphosis of some type.

    Discipline is required. Days, weeks, months can go by without being able to ski on or under avalanche terrain. And thatís not as exciting as steep terrain today and requires constant attention from planning to skin track chatting to choosing the less exciting way down.
    I agree completely with this, and with comments that Boissal and others have made in previous threads. Simply put - you can't outsmart a PWL problem. The only answer is avoidance, plain and simple. No other management technique will work.

    That said - when I look at the choices of the recent Wilson Glade accident, as well as our own choices that day (skiing similar avalanche terrain in the same area), I think there's a bit more going on to this problem. The tragedy is that I'm sure the Wilson Glade party thought they were skiing in safe(r) terrain, and they probably rationalized their choices because "it's only 32 degrees", much in the same way we did. It wasn't about skiing "exciting" terrain, it wasn't about ignoring the forecast, it was a rationalized decision based on a presumption of lower risk - we all knew the forecast, and a series of events led to some really bad decision making. "This terrain is only 30 degrees and while it technically can slide, it's not like we're going to go ski some 38 degree bowl". That type of thinking.

    Name:  steepness.gif
Views: 1654
Size:  6.2 KB

    I know we've all seen similar graphs, but I know that one of the hardest lessons for me of last weekend is internalizing the fact that slides can and do and will kill people even at (or slightly under) 30 degrees.

  17. #42
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    6,878
    Quote Originally Posted by snowaddict91 View Post
    Man, so many people don't get this when they get their first BC setup. They are practically two different sports.
    Do you buy your lunch? Do you complain about snow conditions? Do you go inside when the weather sucks? Do you need the trail map to get around? Go XC skiing on ungroomed trails 20 times and get back to me.

  18. #43
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Rossland BC
    Posts
    1,435
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    This is a really good discussion. I'm all about creative problem solving and I 100% agree that when the rating encompasses both probability and consequence, it has limitations with Deep slab/PSL/lingering problems with high spatial variability. That said, the true problem is consistently conservative decision making, a commitment to being awesome and being hyper situationally aware.

    As a user group, we need to be more in tune with the fact that we are the problem. We talk about "heuristic traps" and "humans being inside the avalanche triangle" but it is not enough. I advocate for this being the number one and first agenda item for any day in the backcountry. Check in with yourself and be honest about how you are feeling, where your brain is at and make a commitment to safety. Do this before you even look at the forecast or start with any trip planning. Then have this conversation with your partners. Do it again as part of your beacon check. Have everyone look each other in the eye and make sure that you and your group respect each others lives to the extent that getting everyone home safely from now until forever is by far and away the priority.

    If you can't do that or if you place something else above a true rigorous commitment to safety, you and your group are at risk and you may want to consider whether travel in avalanche terrain is an appropriate activity for you. Nobody wants to hear this. Everyone thinks that because they love skiing that the logical progression is into the backcountry.

    In many ways it is the antithesis of ski area skiing which can be an escape from reality. Backcountry skiing can be the most stark and deadly teacher of reality.
    Within my short life experience, backcountry skiing has gone from something mysterious and implicitly dangerous that just a few of us weirdos practiced in obscurity, to what is now sold as a logical extension of resort skiing by an entire industry and their tools of mass persuasion. Weíre now in the realm of mass movements, which have a momentum of their own, that in aggregate are impossible to anticipate or manage. No different than trying to convince voters to make rational choices.

  19. #44
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    6,878
    Tgapp, with all honest respect, I read that post and I see a smart person trying to walk a tightrope. I think my mindset is pretty well known so I won't waste your time with that, I'll just say that it appears to be that you need to build in a larger margin of safety.

    if the goal of an avalanche center is to reduce injuries and fatalities, it is incumbent upon them to identify communication and visualization strategies that effectively convey the desired information.
    I can't speak directly to the UAC, but generally this is a dangerous fallacy. Avalanche Center's are primarily forecasting entities and often funded by Highway Departments. To be short, you need to own all that. If you need assistant, get with the local guide or avalanche education community. It's totally bullshit to put that on the avalanche center. It is really a fairly recent change to have forecaster even begin to start talking about decision making.

  20. #45
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    2,388
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    Tgapp, with all honest respect, I read that post and I see a smart person trying to walk a tightrope. I think my mindset is pretty well known so I won't waste your time with that, I'll just say that it appears to be that you need to build in a larger margin of safety.
    Hey to be clear, I'm not trying to walk a tight rope here - I'm acknowledging that I fucked up and made dumb decisions. No effort to thread a needle on my part; I'm only pointing out that rationalization or selective interpretation among (somewhat) experienced backcountry users plays a large part in often fatal choices, and that helping backcountry recreationalists recognize and contextualize that data can change their decision making process.

    It's not like they didn't read or understand the forecast, it's that there is often a gray area between 100% safe areas (20 degree gladed meadows with nothing above) and 100% dangerous areas (38 degree windloaded slopes or whatever). All I'm saying is that there is nuance that is missed by experienced (20+ veterans) reducing the issue to "OMG the backcountry is full of so many resort skiers, they're so dumb they don't even read the forecast amirite??". And, unfortunately, new backcountry skiers (myself included) lack the depth of knowledge to say "Remember when this went big back in 2001? It might not go every year, but we had a very similar snowpack that season".


    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    I can't speak directly to the UAC, but generally this is a dangerous fallacy. Avalanche Center's are primarily forecasting entities and often funded by Highway Departments. To be short, you need to own all that. If you need assistant, get with the local guide or avalanche education community. It's totally bullshit to put that on the avalanche center. It is really a fairly recent change to have forecaster even begin to start talking about decision making.
    Yep, and I can't speak to many avalanche centers outside of the areas where I ski commonly - UAC, CAIC, and Bridger Teton, but I can say that their mission (and methodologies) have shifted dramatically with the influx of huge numbers of backcountry recreationalists. I'm not "putting" that on the UAC, everyone who goes out into the backcountry (or anywhere for that matter) needs to own both their choices and the consequences thereof: I believe in radical accountability as a basic principle of human autonomy. I do something, it's on me. It's not the UAC's fault if I make a dumb choice, BUT, their advisories, communication, and community outreach has a direct impact on it's mission and goals as an organization.

    The UAC's sponsorship of the Know Before You Go program is direct evidence of the shift from traditional forecasting (which is more like meteorology) to active harm reduction/community invovlement, as is their sponsorship of numerous classes and community events (Snow and Avalanche workshops, AVY101/AIARE1 courses, fireside chats, etc). Times have changed, and they're no longer just an extension of the department of transportation or the forest service - and the shift in messaging (or the consideration of how backcountry users read/interpret that message) is evidenced by different visualization strategies, marketing budgets, etc.

  21. #46
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    6,878
    there is often a gray area between 100% safe areas (20 degree gladed meadows with nothing above) and 100% dangerous areas (38 degree windloaded slopes or whatever)
    ...And there you have it. That's backcountry skiing in between Low and Extreme Hazard Ratings. I'm not the best at explaining myself on the internet and I'm only using your comments as an example (it may not be accurate so don't let me pile shit on ya that doesn't apply).

    There is no Secret Decoder Ring. Long time tourers have no additional skills or knowledge. They may have a level of refinement (stubborness) that allows them to be more consistently awesome with their decision making (or not) when managing a deep slab problem.

    To be honest, the nuance that we think we have may be making it worse not better. I've been quasi-mentoring a few paraglider pilots and they struggle with the lack of answers also. It is an imprecise science with many unknowns. The best we can do is best honest with ourselves about the objective level of risk (that can't be mitigated), embrace the uncertainty, and make conservative choices.

    [total sidebar: engineers have a hard time with uncertainty and think their needs to be a better mouse trap].

  22. #47
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    SLC, Utah
    Posts
    2,388
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    ...And there you have it. That's backcountry skiing in between Low and Extreme Hazard Ratings. I'm not the best at explaining myself on the internet and I'm only using your comments as an example (it may not be accurate so don't let me pile shit on ya that doesn't apply).

    There is no Secret Decoder Ring. Long time tourers have no additional skills or knowledge. They may have a level of refinement (stubborness) that allows them to be more consistently awesome with their decision making (or not) when managing a deep slab problem.

    To be honest, the nuance that we think we have may be making it worse not better. I've been quasi-mentoring a few paraglider pilots and they struggle with the lack of answers also. It is an imprecise science with many unknowns. The best we can do is best honest with ourselves about the objective level of risk (that can't be mitigated), embrace the uncertainty, and make conservative choices.

    [total sidebar: engineers have a hard time with uncertainty and think their needs to be a better mouse trap].
    i think - the biggest difference is - long time tourers are able to pick up on more contextual data, have a longer history with the place (they remember that big year back in 2001), and spend less energy making decisions.

    i thought this presentation at USAW around how experienced people think vs how inexperienced people think (decision making fatigue) was extremely insightful - i would recommend it to everyone:

  23. #48
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    PNW
    Posts
    6,399
    Quote Originally Posted by tgapp View Post

    Simply put - you can't outsmart a PWL problem. The only answer is avoidance, plain and simple. No other management technique will work.

    That said - when I look at the choices of the recent Wilson Glade accident, as well as our own choices that day (skiing similar avalanche terrain in the same area), I think there's a bit more going on to this problem. The tragedy is that I'm sure the Wilson Glade party thought they were skiing in safe(r) terrain, and they probably rationalized their choices because "it's only 32 degrees", much in the same way we did. It wasn't about skiing "exciting" terrain, it wasn't about ignoring the forecast, it was a rationalized decision based on a presumption of lower risk - we all knew the forecast, and a series of events led to some really bad decision making. "This terrain is only 30 degrees and while it technically can slide, it's not like we're going to go ski some 38 degree bowl". That type of thinking.
    This is what I was trying to emphasize in our texts the other day. I see exactly this rationalization amongst experienced ski tourers and have done it myself. To echo Boissal's earlier post for the n'th time, it's easy to fall into this pattern of risk reduction when storm snow is the focus. But the margin isn't there with a pwl waiting to explode the whole slope with the right trigger.
    life ain't guaranteed, love your people while you can

  24. #49
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    6,878
    I'll watch that video tonight maybe. Just spitballing, but maybe there is some frustration it trying to the thirst for progression with "there is no substitute for experience"?

    It gets back to the "we are the enemy" idea. So many newer ski tourers are smart, wealthy, confident, successful etc. You probably got there through hard work, determination, focus, risk acceptance, fearlessness and desire. These attributes are gonna work again you if you try and "over manage" a persistent weak layer.

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Where the sheets have no stains
    Posts
    16,935
    Great discussion with lots of varying degrees of experience and risk acceptance/avoidance.

    Man, so many people don't get this when they get their first BC setup. They are practically two different sports.
    That needs to be on a label for all BC gear.

    There are plenty of people who pour over maps, read the advisories and study the weather, follow their local areas of choice snow pack and travel with wide safety margins.

    There are also plenty who throw their shit in the truck and drive to the trailhead to get out and go skiing with no planning and no discussion of goals and their concerns.

    It would be interesting to see the breakout between these ranges and who ends up getting into trouble more often.

    My gut feeling is that is is about 50/50.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •