While searching for a missing hiker some years ago, a fellow searcher picked up a dud avy control shell. He proudly carried it for a while, showing it off to everyone. I told him to calmly set the damn thing down.
I called the head of ski patrol and we agreed to head out the next morning to take care of the shell. He asked that the fool who was dancing with the shell to come along for a little education. The location was maybe a quarter mile from a popular trail through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, with big Red Firs all around.
We found the shell without trouble and the ski patrol guys set a blasting cap on it. They ran a long wire over a slight knoll, behind some of those big trees. The switch was set up there. We all took one last look at the shell and each one of us took shelter behind a tree.
The head of ski patrol had called the local law enforcement and forest service to let them know what we were up to that morning. He also tried to warn the folks at the top gondola station what was about to occur, but they did not answer their radio. He finally decided it was time to blow it anyway.
The moment that plunger went down the whole wilderness rocked. I mean the ground did not just shake, it rocked. Rocks and pieces of trees flew everywhere. We had all covered our ears with our hands, but the noise was still huge. We all waited a second, then came out from behind our trees laughing like little boys setting off firecrackers in the school office. Suddenly, the ski patrol director stopped laughing and yelled to get back behind the trees. As we jumped back, pieces of rock and trees tore through the air, coming back down from the sky.
There was a nice crater where the shell had been. Everything within 10 feet was destroyed. The guy who had carried the shell was very impressed. So was the guy at the top gondola station, who quickly got on the radio to report a huge !@##*ng explosion on the backside of the mountain!