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  1. #1
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    I'm over the Green River traverse

    For all you non-Jackson mags, the Green River traverse is a common path that skiers take in the sidecountry to the south of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. It's a traverse under a cliffband, with some windloaded snow pockets above that. There are several large airs over that cliffband, which get hit with some regularity. The best known of them is called Fat Bastard - you'll find many references to it here.

    This afternoon, my wife, two daughters, and I headed out the upper gate to go ski Rock Springs bowl. We went out the upper gate so we could give our daughters a visual tour of the area. They are ages 9 & 11, and it was only their second time out the gates. We figured we'd ski over to the Green River traverse, sidestep up it, and then ski down the tree shots next to the Paranoia Ridge bootpack.

    As started pointing out features to our kids, we heard a roar and looked over to see a very large avalanche washing over the Green River traverse. We skied quickly over there to help search if necessary. When I got there, I saw a group of people digging at the toe of the avalanche. I started a quick beacon search of the debris field. When I got within earshot, one of the people at the bottom yelled up that everyone was accounted for.

    It turned out that a skier intending to jump Fat Bastard had set off the slide and been carried over the cliffs. I'm not sure, but I believe that he was carried over both Fat Bastard and the cliffs above. Miraculously, he appeared unharmed. His party had someone stationed to keep people off the traverse during his huck, so there was no one there when the slide hit.

    From seeing the slide, skiing through the debris field, and seeing the size of the blocks of snow in that debris field, I think it likely that anyone on the traverse who was hit by that slide would have been killed. This party apparently did the right thing by stationing someone at the start of the traverse, but I know for sure that isn't always the way it's done.

    I've been halfway over that traverse only to realize that there was someone above me. This time, my wife, my two daughters, and I were at most five minutes away from being in the impact zone. I've never liked that traverse, but this incident made it really hit home. I'm over the Green River traverse.

  2. #2
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    Good to hear everyone came out ok.

    Way to be on your toes Suit.

  3. #3
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    Keep the kids on the resort, inbounds. Havent you ever seen or read the warning signs?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Suit View Post
    His party had someone stationed to keep people off the traverse during his huck, so there was no one there when the slide hit.
    Can't be too mad since they at least did that. About 7 years ago, I heard the swish of pow above, looked up and some fucktard hucked fat bastard and skied 15 feet in front of me. Not cool.

    It is geting retarded, though. There is no more common sense or common courtesy.

    Glad to hear they had a spotter and traffic cop.
    Shit coulda been way different for your family if they didn't
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
    Hunter S. Thompson

  5. #5
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    This story could have been so much worse. Glad everything is okay with you and your family, Suit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Roo View Post
    I don't think I've ever seen mental illness so faithfully rendered in html.

  6. #6
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    Even TGR film crews have made this mistake though...Dana Flair in Tangerine Dream anybody?

    With that said, I'm glad everybody is okay.
    Big mountain or Bust.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruno Groovey View Post
    Keep the kids on the resort, inbounds. Havent you ever seen or read the warning signs?
    I have conflicting feelings on this. On one side, I see lots of parents taking their kids into the backcountry areas here at Crystal. Oftentimes nobody has a pack/shovel, nobody's beeping, and they're on all-mountain or racing skis - ill-equipped to deal with any situation, and certainly not imbuing any respect of terrain or conditions in their children.

    On the flip side, the Suits girls got to witness the power of nature firsthand, and that your actions up top can definitely influence and affect those below. I think they got an object lesson in that at an early age, and one that should stick in their heads for awhile - respect the backcountry.

    Suit, I don't know how you had your family outfitted, and I'm not passing any judgment on you. It's something I see here and it bothers me.
    Last edited by Jumper Bones; 03-04-2007 at 06:52 PM.

  8. #8
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    I can certainly understand the fear it strikes in your heart as a parent, suit.
    My stepson and I were traversing under the Palisades at Squaw one hot spring day. He was ahead of me with his helmet on. I was keeping a wary eye on the cornices above when one about as big as a large SUV broke off. I looked at Travis' momentum and the path the block was tumbling and started hollering at him, but he couldn't hear me through his helmet. I finally resorted to a high-pitched squeal, which he heard. He stopped to turn around as the cornice block rolled right in front of him, where he would have been had he not stopped. Scary lesson for both of us.

  9. #9
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    On today's BTNF advisory:
    "On Sunday, snow surfaces on sunlit aspects were dampened up to six inches deep, resulting in pin wheels, sun balls, and wet-loose sloughs. A skier also triggered a 2 to 5 feet deep hard slab above the Green River traverse in the backcountry south of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. He was carried through trees, over a cliff band and almost completely buried. Luckily his party was well prepared, and he was quickly located and extricated alive. He was the third person to ski the line."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by splat View Post
    .... I finally resorted to a high-pitched squeal..

  11. #11
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    i saw the crown above fat bastard this afternoon. didn't look like it was triggered from the (very big) cliffs above, but i did notice that it wasn't there (that i recall) yesterday. i spent the day hitting a few lines on cody. good stuff.

    glad everyone's ok.

    it can be kind of sketchy doing that traverse -- you never know what people are doing above you. you can always choose to go lower and hike up, although i grant that the GR traverse is the fastest way to 4p.

    as i've said in other threads, the biggest fear/danger in the jh sidecountry is what other people are doing around or above you. i guess that's like saying you're confident in your own driving but scared of 'other drivers.'

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jumper Bones View Post
    I have conflicting feelings on this. On one side, I see lots of parents taking their kids into the backcountry areas here at Crystal. Oftentimes nobody has a pack/shovel, nobody's beeping, and they're on all-mountain or racing skis - ill-equipped to deal with any situation, and certainly not imbuing any respect of terrain or conditions in their children.

    On the flip side, the Suits girls got to witness the power of nature firsthand, and that your actions up top can definitely influence and affect those below. I think they got an object lesson in that at an early age, and one that should stick in their heads for awhile - respect the backcountry.

    Suit, I don't know how you had your family outfitted, and I'm not passing any judgment on you. It's something I see here and it bothers me.
    I think we qualify as "properly outfitted." Beacons on everyone, shovels & probes for the adults. On the other hand, my wife & I are both kicking ourselves for succumbing to the "familiarity breeds contempt" trap with respect to that traverse. That was our main topic of conversation at dinner tonight.

    We do what we can to instill in them respect for the backcountry - with things like performing a beacon check when we leave the resort, discussing our route-finding choices, looking for islands of safety, etc. Since this incident turned out OK, I'm glad the kids got that experience. They were scared, which is just fine by me.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by upallnight
    i saw the crown above fat bastard this afternoon. didn't look like it was triggered from the (very big) cliffs above, but i did notice that it wasn't there (that i recall) yesterday. i spent the day hitting a few lines on cody. good stuff.
    There is a smaller crown visible above the upper cliffs, and we actually saw the slide come down from up there. I don't know for sure if the guy was carried over both sets of cliffs, but I'm guessing he was.

    The slide went right around noon today.

    Quote Originally Posted by upallnight
    you can always choose to go lower and hike up, although i grant that the GR traverse is the fastest way to 4p.
    That's no longer true, with the tram down. Yesterday Mimi & I went out the low gate and hiked up Paranoia ridge, passing a group of friends that rode up East Ridge and took the Green River traverse.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Suit View Post
    There is a smaller crown visible above the upper cliffs, and we actually saw the slide come down from up there. I don't know for sure if the guy was carried over both sets of cliffs, but I'm guessing he was.

    The slide went right around noon today.
    if that's true, it's a miracle the person who took that ride would survive.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Suit View Post
    That's no longer true, with the tram down. Yesterday Mimi & I went out the low gate and hiked up Paranoia ridge, passing a group of friends that rode up East Ridge and took the Green River traverse.
    ...i guess that depends. i agree with you if you are factoring in lift times...but i was assuming one was coming from cody (i.e., what i was doing today). if one is already out the upper gate, it's faster to go via the GR traverse -- but i agree that if you are saying "fastest access to 4p starting at the gondi" then the lower gate + paranoia hike works.

    anyway, i'm glad you're safe and i do think that such an incident is valuable in discussing things with kids.

  15. #15
    SkiBumOfVT Guest
    ya i heard there was a avalanche near the green river traverse from a patroler, glad to hear everyones alright

  16. #16
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    That is the exact same spot and the exact same circumstances where Justin died in January. If a slide happens above fat bastard anyone standing up there is surely going over the cliff. Glad everyone was ok this time. That is not the way that things happened last time.

  17. #17
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    First off, I am glad everybody is safe.

    Second, don't beat yourself up as a parent for potentially putting you kids in danger. The drive on icy roads to the resort, or school, is probably far more dangerous then taking you kids into the back country. Outfitting everybody, discussing safety, and doing all the reasonable things is all one can do. Shit happens, and as much as we as parents want to protect are kids from the world, we just can't protect them from everything. More kids get hurt inbounds, and if you want to protect them, keep them out of the parks.

  18. #18
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    lucky he didn't get seriously schooled in fat bastard. I've seen lots of friends pack it in there. Sketchy entry. Anyhoo, glad all is good..... the GRT is always scary. Especially when doods are huckin' all day after a big pow dump, be careful.
    They only live to get radical! - Bodhi

  19. #19
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    Can somebody post a picture of this area?

  20. #20
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    the funny part is that people keep thinking stability is really solid. i know of at least one person who recently hit fat bastard (solo) in conditions not too dissimilar.

    it's a repeat offender -- that sliding surface hasn't gone away, and we have all the new snow/water on top of it.

    what is interesting is hearing peoples' rationale for why it was safe when they were standing on top of it.

  21. #21
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    Here's a picture of the area from January, two seasons ago.


    Suit, glad you guys are OK. Do you ski on Bro Models with Naxos?

  22. #22
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    From talking with Justus this afternoon when a bunch of us were chilling at the base drinking PBRs and enjoying the sun we got a bit of first hand information about what happened out above the traverse today. Justus and Matt Annettes skied a line above and through the Fat Bastard cliff and everything seemed fine and stable. Trevor Thomas was the 3rd person to ski down the face and had a line skiers left of everyone else, so more towards Smart Bastard I think its called. Someone had blocked off the traverse during each of the skier's runs so that in case anything did sluff or slide no one would be below in the traverse. They played it smart, there were a lot of people spotting from all areas we were told. So I guess what happened is when Trevor was above the cliff band ABOVE the Bastard cliff band it ripped on him and carried him over that band and then into the snowfield and finally over the final big cliff band. I guess the slide dropped down a level on the snowfield and we were told it made such a huge cloud that it "filled the valley." Somehow Trevor ended up below the traverse with part of his head poking out and was reached and dug out within a few min. Last I knew he was perfectly fine, miracuously, and was in the hospital confusing doctors with how hell he overcame falling over 100ft through cliff bands without being injured.

    I've heard of a decent amount of activity in the past couple days from warming up and other factors. Trevor was very very lucky from what I heard, and I just hope everyone out in the Tetons and elsewhere is extra careful this week.


    Edit: Oh and ya suit I'm with you. The traverse is soooo played out, the double bootpack is so much quicker than the East Ridge Chair, and way less sketchy than the traverse.
    Last edited by skiaholik; 03-05-2007 at 12:06 AM. Reason: addition
    It ain't about how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward - Rocky

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkiJunky05 View Post
    Suit, glad you guys are OK. Do you ski on Bro Models with Naxos?
    That was me.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiaholik View Post
    From talking with Justus this afternoon when a bunch of us were chilling at the base drinking PBRs and enjoying the sun we got a bit of first hand information about what happened out above the traverse today. Justus and Matt Annettes skied a line above and through the Fat Bastard cliff and everything seemed fine and stable. Trevor Thomas was the 3rd person to ski down the face and had a line skiers left of everyone else, so more towards Smart Bastard I think its called. Someone had blocked off the traverse during each of the skier's runs so that in case anything did sluff or slide no one would be below in the traverse. They played it smart, there were a lot of people spotting from all areas we were told. So I guess what happened is when Trevor was above the cliff band ABOVE the Bastard cliff band it ripped on him and carried him over that band and then into the snowfield and finally over the final big cliff band. I guess the slide dropped down a level on the snowfield and we were told it made such a huge cloud that it "filled the valley." Somehow Trevor ended up below the traverse with part of his head poking out and was reached and dug out within a few min. Last I knew he was perfectly fine, miracuously, and was in the hospital confusing doctors with how hell he overcame falling over 100ft through cliff bands without being injured.

    I've heard of a decent amount of activity in the past couple days from warming up and other factors. Trevor was very very lucky from what I heard, and I just hope everyone out in the Tetons and elsewhere is extra careful this week.


    Edit: Oh and ya suit I'm with you. The traverse is soooo played out, the double bootpack is so much quicker than the East Ridge Chair, and way less sketchy than the traverse.
    Thanks for the info. That description fits with what we saw out there. He got carried a long way. If you look at SkiJunky's picture, the upper crown was almost at the skyline above Fat Bastard.

    I can corroborate the size of the powder cloud. It was hudge.

  25. #25
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    skiaholik--
    can you fill us in on why you thought that stuff was stable, particularly given that it has slid before in the last month and the sliding layer is still present?

    i'm honestly curious if you saw anything that would give you that impression, because i've been seeing a few signs of increasing stability, but not on slopes that are that aspect & have slid before.

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