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Aspen man killed in avalanche

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Postby mconnell » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:17 pm

Downy wrote:He had more experience than you all put together. He was with Timmy Madsen, who also has more experience than all of you could ever hope to have, actually being from the mtns.


Really? How much time have I spent in the mountains?
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Postby mconnell » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:19 pm

Downy wrote:He had more experience than you all put together. He was with Timmy Madsen, who also has more experience than all of you could ever hope to have, actually being from the mtns. He had multiple fractures and likely died within minutes of the avalanche. Sometimes good people have bad things happen to them.


BTW, he died of suffocation. Very likely preventable if he was wearing a beacon.
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Postby The Chief » Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:52 pm

Downy wrote:He had more experience than you all put together. He was with Timmy Madsen, who also has more experience than all of you could ever hope to have, actually being from the mtns.


One last question... where were are his compatriots????

According the CAIC Report, they were all in the Hut. Seems he went out on his own. A big no no from the group of "experienced" folks in my neck of the woods.

BTW, the folks from my neck of woods do this deal over 120 days of the year. They read this and all could not believe their eyes what they had just read.

All (some of them Patroler's with over 20 years experience here at MMSA)said instantly without hesitation......"He was well experienced, huh?"
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Postby T Sharp » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:02 am

A transceiver turns into a cadaver location device when traveling with out a partner. A serious mistake, with tragic consequences.
My condolence to the friends and family of the victim. :(
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Postby Ed F » Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:27 pm

DO NOT GO INTO THE BC WHEN THE AVY CONDITON'S ARE PRIME TO KILL YOU, REGARDLESS OF ALL THE REI TOYS YOU HAVE ON YOUR BODY. SIMPLE!


if the avalance conditions are high - don't go!


I completely disagree. Traveling in avalanche terrain when conditions are Considerable and higher provide valuable skills for interpreting the snowpack when it is "safer." I wouldn't advise newcomers to the backcountry to try it until they've gathered enough experience, but I really think it's essential as you learn how to travel in avalanche terrain. Seeing all of the different types of "bad" snow is important. If you've never dug a pit and seen a buried hoar layer and its ability to provide a sliding surface or what an ice crust looks like, I think it would be tough to conceptually visualize it with just books and photos.

I've skied in the backcountry in every level of danger, including extreme. It's always possible to find a safe route down, even if it's the way you came up, and even if it's not very "fun." Sometimes you gotta ski the ridge down -- the plan you hatch at the trailhead must always yield to the conditions that you find.

Traveling in avalanche terrain is always a matter of balancing risks. It's NEVER "safe," even on a green light day.

I completely agree with your other point that "REI toys" don't keep you safe. Beacons, avalungs, etc. should have no impact on the danger that you expose yourself to. They don't make you safer; they're only a last, last resort when the chips are really down. You should never expect to survive a slide because of them.

Use that one piece of equipment that is free....

YOUR BRAINS!


The most important avy tool.

Best to ski at the area or go somewhere your highly familiar with when the conditions are high.


Now this I agree with. I never travel to an area I haven't been before when conditions are dangerous, but like I said above, this rule is just part of the overall balancing of risk.
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Postby mconnell » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:25 pm

The Chief wrote:
According the CAIC Report, they were all in the Hut. Seems he went out on his own. A big no no from the group of "experienced" folks in my neck of the woods.


I'm not sure where you read that. From the report:
Shortly after the avalanche, other members of the group began a search of the debris. The victim was not wearing an avalanche beacon. The group attempted to locate the victim using probe poles, but was unable to find him.


This statement is why I made my comments about the beacon.


Sisyphus: Excellent post.
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Postby The Chief » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:32 pm

Per the Article...

"Officials said there were eight people, including Kelley, on the hut trip. Kelley and five other members of the group were thought to have traveled to the hut on Monday....

There were thought to be two other members of the group near the base of the slope when the slide occurred, but they were not near Kelley, said Mountain Rescue’s Zuker.
"


In other words, he was alone without any Beacon.


Had an interesting conversation about this incident with a close friend who has been a Patroler for over 38 years, is one of the senior "AVY Forecasters/Controlers" on the hill, has 12 years of AVY Forecasting and Control work exp in both the Wasatch/Colo area, stated the following...

"Yep. we heard and debriefed this one yesterday. Same ole story bubba. Anyone with any real time AVY Control experience in them hills, damn well knows that during a below normal snow season, just like the one they are currently having this season, the shit facet layers build and no one goes out after any storm. They wait till later in the season, late March/April time frame, after all of the crap layers settle."

He also indicated that it is obvious that no type of snow condition inspection was ever conducted prior to this individual heading up on his own. Had they done so, the results would have been such that no one would have ventured up that slope.
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Postby mconnell » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:51 pm

I was basing my comments on the CAIC article, so thanks for the info.

The Chief wrote:"Anyone with any real time AVY Control experience in them hills, damn well knows that during a below normal snow season, just like the one they are currently having this season, the shit facet layers build and no one goes out after any storm. They wait till later in the season, late March/April time frame, after all of the crap layers settle."


Speaking from personal experience around here, the claim that no one goes out until later in the season is BS. Many people, many who have a lot of experience in control/rescue/etc., go out throughout the season.
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Postby The Chief » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:33 am

mconnell wrote:I was basing my comments on the CAIC article, so thanks for the info.

The Chief wrote:"Anyone with any real time AVY Control experience in them hills, damn well knows that during a below normal snow season, just like the one they are currently having this season, the shit facet layers build and no one goes out after any storm. They wait till later in the season, late March/April time frame, after all of the crap layers settle."


Speaking from personal experience around here, the claim that no one goes out until later in the season is BS. Many people, many who have a lot of experience in control/rescue/etc., go out throughout the season.


I am not going to argue with the dude. He worked full-time at both Steamboat and Vail SP in Control for a combined total of 12 years in the late 70's through the late 80's. He has been Patrolling full-time since 1977.

And, if you in fact have spent time here on the Eastside, you most definitely will know him. He and his wife are amongst the elite group of senior experienced Patroller's/AVY Forecasters-Control Operators in the North America.

Just saying....
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Postby mconnell » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:58 am

The Chief wrote:
mconnell wrote:I was basing my comments on the CAIC article, so thanks for the info.

The Chief wrote:"Anyone with any real time AVY Control experience in them hills, damn well knows that during a below normal snow season, just like the one they are currently having this season, the shit facet layers build and no one goes out after any storm. They wait till later in the season, late March/April time frame, after all of the crap layers settle."


Speaking from personal experience around here, the claim that no one goes out until later in the season is BS. Many people, many who have a lot of experience in control/rescue/etc., go out throughout the season.


I am not going to argue with the dude. He worked full-time at both Steamboat and Vail SP in Control for a combined total of 12 years in the late 70's through the late 80's. He has been Patrolling full-time since 1977.

And, if you in fact have spent time here on the Eastside, you most definitely will know him. He and his wife are amongst the elite group of senior experienced Patroller's/AVY Forecasters-Control Operators in the North America.

Just saying....


I probably don't know him, but my brother would. He worked at steamboat through most of the 80's. I do know several patrollers from Breck who ice climb all winter, and were back country skiing north of Breck last week.
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Postby Ed F » Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:10 pm

So, it's just impossible to safely travel in mountain terrain on skis at all when there are persistent instabilities in the snowpack until April? I think that person probably meant that it was stupid to be on a steep slope given the persistent weaknesses. The forecasters for the Utah Avy Cntr travel all throughout the Wasatch during these kinds of conditions. How else would they forecast?
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Postby Downy » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:49 pm

You can ski almost any day during the season you want, with a few exceptions, just not always on the slope you'd like. An exception would be in 99 when we got 20+ feet of snow
in the Alps and everyone was made to evacuate the mountains.
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