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  1. #26
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Golden, Colorado
    Posts
    5,874
    Yeah, midpack surface hoar is not something we normally deal with.

  2. #27
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    200
    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    Yep and the problem is, for much of the state, the PWL of concern is ABOVE the mid-pack slab. It's not the depth hoar like it is on many years. CAIC is starting to become a little more direct on this at least in the forecast discussions. All three forecast discussions (northern, central, and southern) are specifically calling out faceted layers buried in early February as the most concerning right now. In our hasty pits on Berthoud this weekend, very weak layers producing planer failures were very easy to find sitting above the dense mid-pack slab and ever-present depth hoar. I do think CAIC could be doing better to call this out in the forecast summary and not hiding it in the discussion, or doing what CBAC does and providing a text paragraph describing the details in the section where they list avalanche problems.



    I too am very interested in this. My first thought, at the awareness level when we first introduce red flags - we introduce them as "indicators that dangerous conditions may exist." Perhaps we need to be more explicit that lack of red flags does not equal green light? At what level should we start getting into the weeds of behavior of specific types of avalanche problems and red flags that you can expect/not expect to see for each?
    Red Flag #6 - Listed avalanche problem lacks some or all of the physical clues of Red Flags 1-5? Maybe add that it's difficult to impossible to manage?

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  3. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    cb, co
    Posts
    5,064
    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    Yep and the problem is, for much of the state, the PWL of concern is ABOVE the mid-pack slab. I do think CAIC could be doing better to call this out in the forecast summary and not hiding it in the discussion, or doing what CBAC does and providing a text paragraph describing the details in the section where they list avalanche problems.
    I am so grateful for the CBAC, they kick so much ass. Before yesterday's forecast, I thought to myself "they should talk a bit about surface hoar. We just don't get it that big (it's a very distinct 1" layer here), or that widespread around here very often" And sure enough, they talked a lot about it. They are so on top of their discussions, and travel advice, in a way that few other centers are.

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    sandy, sl,ut
    Posts
    9,496
    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    Yep and the problem is, for much of the state, the PWL of concern is ABOVE the mid-pack slab. It's not the depth hoar like it is on many years. CAIC is starting to become a little more direct on this at least in the forecast discussions. All three forecast discussions (northern, central, and southern) are specifically calling out faceted layers buried in early February as the most concerning right now. In our hasty pits on Berthoud this weekend, very weak layers producing planer failures were very easy to find sitting above the dense mid-pack slab and ever-present depth hoar. I do think CAIC could be doing better to call this out in the forecast summary and not hiding it in the discussion, or doing what CBAC does and providing a text paragraph describing the details in the section where they list avalanche problems.



    I too am very interested in this. My first thought, at the awareness level when we first introduce red flags - we introduce them as "indicators that dangerous conditions may exist." Perhaps we need to be more explicit that lack of red flags does not equal green light? At what level should we start getting into the weeds of behavior of specific types of avalanche problems and red flags that you can expect/not expect to see for each?
    I would argue that the lack of red flags IS kind of what a green flag is, but that you cannot limit this to just huge huge red flags like cracking. If you include all possible red flags, and aren't seeing any, thats a green flag, but potential red flags, as we all know but it doesn't hurt to have a reminder of, are heuristic traps that have nothing to do with the snow, like summit fever, or not having backed off a line in a while, as well as just not having observed the snowpack develop over the course of the season etc etc etc.

    but yea, I've heard similar things said out loud from smart people with degrees etc, mentioning the lack of severe red flags like cracking, with no discussion of whether or not there are more minor red flags.
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  5. #30
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    14,948
    What’s a green flag?


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  6. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,520
    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalated View Post
    I too am very interested in this. My first thought, at the awareness level when we first introduce red flags - we introduce them as "indicators that dangerous conditions may exist." Perhaps we need to be more explicit that lack of red flags does not equal green light? At what level should we start getting into the weeds of behavior of specific types of avalanche problems and red flags that you can expect/not expect to see for each?
    At awareness level, I think it's sufficient to introduce the idea that red flags present = avalanche hazard present, and emphasize that no red flags =/ no avalanche hazard. Linking the "no red flags w/unstable snowpack" condition to a specific avy problem here is probably too much.

    At L1 link the "no red flags w/unstable snowpack" condition to PWL. Emphasize that it's a uniquely non-communicative problem. Emphasize avoidance. Emphasizing avoidance specifically for PWL introduces the idea that other problems are manageable (potential can of worms/curriculum creep), but discussing management strategies for other problems is too much for L1 IMO.

    Travel approach (beyond avoidance) for different types of avalanches seems like clear L2 curriculum. Awareness and L1 are about identifying hazard. L2 there's room to discuss how to manage hazard. Discussing management of surface instabilities vs. PWL seems appropriate here.

    Some or all of this may already be happening. I don't remember much about it in my L1 or L2, but both are outdated reference points.

    The trick is that L1->L2 transition. I think there are many that take a L1 and delay a L2 for a significant amount of time. So in my proposed progression you still may end up with a lot of relatively experienced L1 users that are aware of the unique behavior of a PWL, but might not have a detailed enough understanding to fully appreciate/respect it.
    Last edited by North; 02-18-2024 at 05:46 PM. Reason: Grammar

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Where the sheets have no stains
    Posts
    22,295


    BIG PICTURE.

    Trying to thread the needle in years with a bad PWL lead to things like "Total of six people caught in three avalanches in 24 hours"

    In these type of years, (Realistic and conservative) terrain and goal management are what might keep you alive.
    Last edited by Bunion 2020; 02-19-2024 at 10:02 AM.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

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  8. #33
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    west tetons
    Posts
    2,108
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunion 2020 View Post


    BIG PICTURE.

    Trying to thread the needle in years with a bad PWL lead to things like "Total of six people caught in three avalanches in 24 hours"

    In these type of years, terrain and goal management are what might keep you alive.
    Ya when you work regularly on the other side of probability, luck runs out faster.

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