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Old 09-01-2013, 11:29 AM   #21 (permalink)
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That is all it is. Which btw, most ski area slopes that you cruise are at are above 25 degrees. Of course I don't ride mid west backcountry so maybe I am way off in that regard. There are also slopes at just over 20 degrees that have slid. Generally spring time stuff. There was an observed slide in Utah from a few years ago. I want to say the angle was 20 degrees, but it was probably more like 28. I'll have to dig around and see if I can find it. Bill's statement was not incorrect, it seems that he is a fan of mine...

Generalization for sure. It does keep your mind on observing. Seeing as how some of the best consistently say this, and personally I find it as a valid reminder when out there.

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Old 09-02-2013, 11:01 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowvols View Post
Not to knit pick, but it is a common misconception for people if they ride the lift up even if they go out of a gate they will be safe. I ran into some kids last year that rode a slope from Solitude and they hit some line. I did an ECT before I dropped the slope and the slab fractured while cutting it with my saw. I asked the kids if they knew what they had any gear on and they said no and asked me how to get back to sillytude.

That being said, the term slack country should never exist, IMO. Every thing outside of a gate is considered backcountry. Not trying to talk shit but more or less educate others.
is it controlled and patroled or not thats all that matters. i prefer hiking my bc turns more than going out a gate. I have more time to assess the snow on the way up, see how it changes with aspect and elevation and wind loading. I dont know that one pit at the top of the line will tell me enough about the whole line, and i dont want to stop on the way down to re evaluate, your committed at that point any ways.
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:52 PM   #23 (permalink)
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is it controlled and patroled or not thats all that matters. i prefer hiking my bc turns more than going out a gate. I have more time to assess the snow on the way up, see how it changes with aspect and elevation and wind loading. I dont know that one pit at the top of the line will tell me enough about the whole line, and i dont want to stop on the way down to re evaluate, your committed at that point any ways.
Very valid. Too be honest does anyone stop to re evaluate on the way down? I can't think of any instance where I have. I can imagine with big enough terrain, the right type of terrain there might be situations where you would really want too. Risk vs consequence stuff. Not making a statement here, more of a question to discuss.

Terrain is generally not that huge here and during the winter it is usually more dangerous up higher and backs off considerably as you head down. In spring it can flip but that is about it off of the top of my head.

So experiences anyone? I generally deal with a continental snow pack and then some Maritime stuff for one week a season. Obviously, I have more experience with the former than the latter.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:38 AM   #24 (permalink)
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A lot of terrain in the bridgers is more mellow on the ridge and the rolls over and gets steeper mid way down. In certain weather we get cross loading mid slope as well.
There was a avy death in tunnel creek five years ago from a wet slide low on the slope, where snow was cold at the top of the run.
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:23 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Still begs the question though, is it a habit for you to stop mid run?

I agree, my experiences in Washington have yielded similar results as you described. I set off a decent sized slide about half way down the south side of Heather Ridge. Definitely warming up as we went down and pop there goes the window pane.

Stopping and re-evaluating didn't really come to mind.

I've definitely ridden terrain you describe in the Bridgers. There are a couple well below treeline spots I will avoid because of that or similar dangers.

So do you find yourself re evaluating at these spots or does it come down to the exact terrain selection at that time? For me, it is more likely the latter.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:03 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Not so much but pay close attention to how the snow / sluff reacts while riding maybe a ski cut when appropriate, but as I mentioned earlier I try not to drop into slopes I didn't get to assess on the hike up. Which is why I don't ride really any backcountry out of resort gates. Not having a seasons pass makes me want to lap stuff inbounds when I have payer for a day ticket. Bridget bowl, big sky, and moonlight all have gnar runs that require a hike, but are inbounds and controlled by patrol. When I ride Stevens in Washington it is more tempting, I try to split across the street during the day, and lap the lifts at night.

I am still deciding how I feel about the terrain at Stevens that is out of bounds but is controled due to the fact slides would run into inbounds terrain, such as the front side of cowboy, piste point, lower rooster, and the ridge that runs above chief bowl. I feel they are controled for the safety of those below me, not so much my safety.

(not sure where the thumbs down came from thumbs up for BC turns)
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:37 PM   #27 (permalink)
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I can understand that. It can also be hard to do that when you are doing a tour. Dropping several ridges in a day. I generally approach from the south and drop North facing shots. Stevens has a ton of that on Heather and Skyline Ridge. Such as Dark Bowl. You approach that from the parking lot and though you can take in a lot of info on the way there, not a whole lot is being told about the bowl itself until you are there.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:49 PM   #28 (permalink)
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i agree that it can be difficult, i experienced this around heather ridge last year. We were dropping to the SE from the cell tower at the top of the road. There is not really a steep slope to assess right there. I was checking the snow at some of the road cuts on the way up, and on the NE facing slope at our drop in point, and didnt get any reaction. The run starts out in a mellow treed slope heading mostly east, part way down we would veer to the south, the terrain lower down was much steeper and into/across some gullies. I instantly started thinking "watch out things are changing" "terrain trap" I stopped the group and discussed what we were seeing. We agreed to traverse the gullies with extra wide spacing between us and found a treed rib to descend.

In montana i find my self climbing very close to what i am going to ski, at least close enough i can go a little out of the way to get on and assess the slope i plan to ride. I am sure with more experience you begin to gain confidence in relating one aspect/elevation to another, but with the sporadic distribution of weak layers in our mountains i prefer to have a understanding of the snow i am about to ride.

another Continental vs maritime issue i've been dealing with is safe zones. Riding in montana i prefer to ride most slopes top to bottom and stop in a safe area at the bottom of the run, runs usually have limited trees and good visibility, communicating with your partner is not that difficult. In Washington a lot of riding is in trees but still avy terrain. You can loose sight of your partner in a matter of feet, and have limited visibility of the slope above and below. When riding terrain that is not familiar safe zones are hard to find/ decide on. Add in the tree well, deep snow suffocation danger and it is a interesting problem.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:57 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Yeah, I am definitely not familiar with Montana bc splitting. Would like to learn a little more first hand. Obviously I have a pretty good feel for Colorado. I am moderately okay in the PNW. Only so much you can learn from the three week long trips I have made there. I have some experience in the Wasatch. Montana like everywhere else seems to have it's unique challenges. Good feedback. Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:20 PM   #30 (permalink)
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i've taken basic and lvl 1 avy classes here in montana. I am looking forward to take a lvl 1 in washington once i move back, maybe i'll be able to catch a seminar or presentation in washington this winter. (even better maybe get to put in a day with ale capone) My washington splitting consists of only a handful of days a year, i tend to play it extra safe, fortunately mellow pow runs seem to be plentiful in the cascades.
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