I admit, you're right....just because you don't have gear doesn't mean you're completely ignorant of the situation you're putting yourself into. I still think it's poor form and sets a bad example. What IF something goes wrong? Mother Nature is a bitch, you can't predict when she's gonna pull the carpet out from under you. You can give your best guess given the conditions/snowpack, but you're never sure. THAT'S how people die.
The reason I let it bother me is how uneducated back country users put others (even outside of their own group) in harms way. Not just riding w/o if something does happen. Like dropping on a suspect slope with others on or below the slope. Or dropping the biggest slide path above Hwy 2 when it's obviously been loaded, like I saw yesterday. Those are signs of uneducated BC users and puts many others at risk. That's where these dumbasses put ME (and many others) at risk and it becomes MY problem.
i hear you, but unfortunately that is the nature of riding/hiking in an uncontrolled area, the more popular is gets, the more people are going to head back there educated or not... i hike back there with and without gear, but only if i know for certain what the snow is doing the days leading up to... i get a lot of pow all year long so the extra risks on heavily loaded days are not worth it to me, gear or not... and there is plenty of stash pow at stevens to find in and just out of bounds. how do you propose to have control over those above you, in an area that is uncontrolled? you can't control mother nature, and everyone out there is taking that risk, and that is a risk you are taking as well... with or without gear
and try not to rely on others outside your group for your own feeling of safety... i'll admit sometimes i've fell more safe, and sometimes less when i've see people dropping into certain areas... as in, is one of these guys going to bury us? there is no formula, and way too many variables to worry about, at some point you just have to try to enjoy yourself and drop in. i like to think whether or not i chose to wear gear when i go into the backcountry, some guy won't give me a dirty look as if somehow i'm putting his life at risk for being back there at the same time he is... we all have business being out there, and we all have to cover our own asses however we wish to do that.