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Old 01-20-2011, 01:45 PM   #21 (permalink)
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That sucks. With Jeff already gone, it would've been nice for a small sliver of good news to come out of this.
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:46 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I hate to keep talking on this one, but there is a lot that can be learned here.

CAIC has their preliminary report out.

CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

He was riding in the exact area that I thought he was. From the report from his friend, sounds like the slide released from above the cliffs. Not a good scenario. Those cliffs have a convex roll and get very wind loaded. A trained eye would instantly see this.

Avalanches just don't care if you are an expert, novice, uneducated, superhero, dog, whatever. They will take anyone and anything out that annoys them.
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Old 01-21-2011, 12:20 AM   #23 (permalink)
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I don't know if they realized the danger they were putting themselves in or not. I do know that from chatting with some people that there are many people out there who would consider themselves relatively avy savvy that don't understand that you can trigger an avalanche without being on the slope itself. That it's very possible to trigger one from below without even being on the slope. This sounds like what very well could've happened in this place.

I had no clue this was possible before reading Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain. I know just enough about avalanche awareness to get myself in trouble in complicated terrain, but at least I know that.
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:19 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Excuse my ignorance as I have never ridden backcountry. But, technically, how does one go snowboarding with a dog? Does the dog run down the mountain as you carve down? Is the dog at the bottom waiting for the master? Is it a little dog in a back pack? I'm just trying to picture how you backcountry ride with a dog.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:09 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pencap75 View Post
Does the dog run down the mountain as you carve down?
This. I've rode with killclimbz and his dog a couple of times. Dogs do just fine in the snow.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:38 PM   #26 (permalink)
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A few things about this accident.

Lot's of little mistakes added up to taking a life.

The victim had a beacon, left it in his car. I assume this is because his partner did not have avy gear.

Evidently they were planning on riding the 7 mile trail. Which by itself is not really threatened by avalanches and is about as safe as it can get to ride. There is a 100 year path that comes down from the Mines drainage. If that one gets you in Seven Mile, well god hates you. The problem is that getting into the 7 mile trail brings you under some avy paths. There are pretty safe lines to get through this but conditions contributed to them not taking that route.

Conditions as mentioned were snowing hard and very windy. Hard to see white out at times. So visibility was an issue. From what I have seen they traversed too high when they were trying to get onto the seven mile trail. They ended up smack in the middle of the apron. A loaded face that rips a fair amount of times. Jeff's partner was able to ride out, while Jeff most likely had the rug pulled out from under him.

He was not buried deep. Most likely that he suffocated.

I am pretty sure that the slab fracture I noticed on the Apron was the one that got him after reading some of the reports. From where he was found, and where they talk about the slide, it almost certainly is. We could have done something.

This is a stark reminder as to why we carry avy gear. Better to have a gun and not need it...

Last edited by killclimbz; 01-24-2011 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:09 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Damn it, that sucks even worse. So reminiscent of the last death on Berthoud as that victim's avy gear was in the passenger seat of his car in the parking lot.

I hate to play Monday morning QB on this, but Jeff should've known better than to have been out on the pass in those conditions, with the avy danger where it was with a partner with no gear. Even in areas you know very well, it's easy to get a bit off track in low visibility. A bit off track in avalanche terrain can be the difference between living and dying.

You're probably right that visibility played a role here. It sounds like Jeff knew what he was doing and was trying to play it safe, but the poor visibility may have led to him getting a bit off course and into an area he didn't intend to be in.
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:18 PM   #28 (permalink)
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I agree that all of the classic red flags were there. Snowing over an inch an hour, lot's of wind, plus natural avalanches were visible at various spots on the pass. Ultimately he paid with his life. You can't really ask for much more than that. Hopefully this is a learning experience.

I was at the pass on Friday and almost everyone I talked too was asking about this accident. So it is definitely in front of people's minds. Of course there was a fair number of riders out there sans gear, hopefully they won't venture into avalanche terrain...
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