Avalanche kills five snowboarders in Colorado today


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steve shea

Apr 24, 2013 - 08:47pm PT
So if what you, collectively, write is in fact what's up, then we are seeing natural selection at work. Low tide in the gene pool. I assume most skiing/riding persons here speak and understand the king's english but choose to ignore or minimize the substantial warnings posted daily by various avalanche groups. What is it in this mindset?

A bad analogy perhaps but here it is. When living in the Massif du Mt Blanc, spent 4 yrs there climbing in the 70's, the meteo was gospel. At the time it was widely acknowledged to be the best mt weather forcasting in the world of alpinism. One could pretty much take to the bank what was predicted. Especially lightning. It was uncanny how accurate they were. Yeah, sometimes we went on the hill when a storm was predicted but never if there was lightning in the forecast. The other significant telltale of doom was the isotherme. The freezing level. Too high no go, low and we were on the way. So every day after a grand cafe noir we'd boot it up to the meteo and live by the forecast. What has changed? Is judgement thrown out the window because of instruments and group think? To me considerable and extreme are not too mutually exclusive. What has changed in the mindset. We wanted to climb as much as anytime we wanted to ski powder. So what is it? Glory, ego, ignorance or just dumb and should have been killed playing in traffic as kids. Seeing regular flights of PGHM helos dangling body bags helped keep us aware. I love powder but if I do not get it during the powder hour in bounds, screw it, ski crud. At least I'll go home at night. The lifts and ski patrol are there for a reason. Powder is fun but not worth dying for.


Trad climber
Apr 24, 2013 - 11:01pm PT

Full report now available

steve shea

Apr 25, 2013 - 10:12am PT
Yes and even more analagous is the isotherme which you can't see or really feel til it may be too late. By then the situation is at the least dangerous and at the worst the mts doing their thing. It is insidious like an ephemeral cancer on the mts. What at one moment seems quiet and safe can turn into a hair raising situation that will have you wishing you stayed in the sleeping bag.

I do not mean to judge the deciscions but find out why. I'm sure everyone is aware of the AAC Accidents supplement. Read and heed. Seems not enough heed. As a matter of fact here in the Tetons the most avalanche deaths lately have been the most experienced.

I agree it is fascinating, this mindset.
Big Mike

Trad climber
Apr 25, 2013 - 11:04am PT
It is easy to underestimate the consequences of getting caught in a deep-persistent slab avalanche, because these slides are often much bigger than most of the avalanches witnessed by backcountry recreationalists. Deep-persistent slabs do not form every year, like storm and wind slab avalanches. The only effective travel technique for this avalanche problem is to avoid areas where deep slabs might release, or if the risk is deemed acceptable, expose a single group member to the danger. Spreading out often does not mitigate the risk to the group because these avalanches are always large and destructive.

Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Apr 27, 2013 - 10:46am PT
This is an important read for everyone playing this game:


Again condolences to the families and friends of those taken. Safe travels everyone.

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Apr 27, 2013 - 11:15am PT
In my early mountaineering career(pre avalanches training), the lure of the summit, in retrospect, put my friends, and I in some precarious situations.
The camaraderie of being in the outdoors with a group of friends lulls us into a sense of security
Big Mike

Trad climber
Apr 27, 2013 - 01:27pm PT
1. As soon as you open your car doors and start down the access trail, you are in a spot where on that particular day you absolutely should not have been a place where others have died. And that fact would have been no mystery to these guys if they had anywhere near the level of collective experience they are said to have had. Hence, I continue to wonder if our avalanche education system is functionally flawed.

From the Wildsnow link charlie posted.

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