Great article, Steve. I emailed the link to my son, who is itching to ski the backcountry powder with his friends, but does not yet have the years of avalanche study experience to draw upon.
Awesome. That makes the hours spent on it worthwhile.
Makes you think... thanks for putting it together.
This is the kind of stuff I would love to see more of on SP. A very interesting read.
Great article. Thanks for posting.
You know, it's not fair that the slope, if it's going to slide, doesn't slide under the first rider. It would be nice that if one rider makes it down, then the slope is proven safe.
In regard to the article, it is so true that the group mix and dynamics really alters the decision making process.
Excellent work Steve, Very thought provoking. Looking back on some of my bumbling experiences, my "thought" could well have done with being provoked a long time ago.
Yeah, I know the feeling. It's all stuff I'll never tell my kids about!
It's one of my biggest fears, and can only be lessened by knowledge and experience.
Well thought-out, well assembled, and well-presented. Nice article.
very interesting read. nice work.
Nice Steve. I've been waiting for this one. I loved the fact that you included a photo of me on that LPP slope. What were we thinking!??? :)
Do you think we took an unwarranted risk?
Looking back at it now, we probably did take some risk when we crossed that slope. I won't call it excessive and unacceptable though. What do you think?
I compared the situation that day with the seven hazards used in my article, and the only one I would say was clearly present was terrain traps (trees, rocks, small cliffs and a bottleneck in the runout). I recall checking rather carefully as I went across, looking for any sign that the snow was weak, but I didn't find any. If I had it to do all over again I'd probably make the same decision, at least, that would be my input to the group. I do think we did the right thing spending the extra hour to get to the top of the slope before we crossed it.
However, thinking back on the day, I'd say we took a slightly higher risk getting to that point. The west-facing slopes we ascended (above where we dropped the snowshoes and skis) had the additional hazard factor of temps above freezing, and the terrain traps were worse. I'd also probably ascend that slope again as well, as the snow was pretty cold and dry despite the sunshine and warm air temps.
I really appreciate your work putting this information together; very nicely done.
What an excellent article. It's easy to overlook human factors in favor of sexier things like snowpack analysis and weather but at the end of the day, it's the human element that we have the most control over. By the sounds of things, it also has the greatest chance of making a difference too. Thank you for this insightful and thought provoking read.
GREAT article, Steve. Thanks for taking the time to put this one together.
After my, shall we say, heuristically induced avalanche incident last year, I came across this in a bookstore: Deep Survival - Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales. Amazon Link
People might want to read this in addition to your references. More of a layman's book, but touching on similar subject matter and analyzing several incidents, and the choices and behavior of people involved.
many thanks for taking the time Steve