NYT Article on Tunnel Creek Avalanche - Page 2 - Snowboarding Forum - Snowboard Enthusiast Forums
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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If you watch the inter active video in the section where the guys who took the safer route down found ski gear sticking out of avalanche debris. The POV guys goes into his pack to pull out his beacon. When you are using a beacon, it should be used with the harness, attached to your body under your ski gear. Packs can get ripped off in an avalanche. Outer wear can get ripped, so putting it in a jacket or pant pocket is not recommended either. It's bad form, and not one avalanche school will tell you to do this.

At this point it's nit picking. I just don't know why you wouldn't wear your beacon in the normal fashion. You don't even know it's there.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Yeah, I noticed that. Bad form for sure, but at that point, I am not really going to critique people who had to deal with such a horrible situation.
A couple weeks ago in my 2 day avy class we spent some time...most everybody had read/seen the article and general consensus was that it is a required read. We did critique (not the article) some their actions/decisions or the lack thereof; to which one of the take away main parts is that of human/individual/group behavior. Our instructors felt that learning about avy terrain, snow conditions and metamorphosis , weather, route finding is relatively easy and straight forward; but that human behavior and group behavior/dynamics...communication, decision making and etc. is the more difficult factor in avy awareness.

edit...in someways I really hate to note this because it is against my nature and better judgement...because protocols do not address everything and can be too heavily relied upon as a crutch/excuse for good judgement and instincts. But it would be nice to see a checklist and a demonstration of recommended protocol say at the bc gate, during the approach, when dropping the line and when evaluating the bc mission. You know examples of positive behavior instead of critiquing examples of bad behavior/accidents.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:42 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Wrath,

You have to learn from other peoples mistakes. Every avalanche accident I have scene, the victim in some way has been responsible for their death or injuries. It is always the human factor. Hence the reason to read the analysis as to what happened, so that hopefully you are aware of the danger when you face it. For most of these accidents, it's pretty obvious what you need to watch for. Every now and then, there is something that I learn to watch out for. It's tough, because in general, people have died. I don't like critiquing them either. I certainly don't want to tap dance on someone's grave.

Your avy class should stress the good behavior and protocols part of backcountry travel.

The bc check list has been hashed around back and forth for years. It's a tough one, because to some people, if the list checks out it means go for it, regardless of other considerations. I would like to see more beacon check stations at resort accessed bc gates. I wouldn't mind a sign that said, "this many people have died here since ..." and with a quick description of what you should be prepared for. The reality is, almost every bc spot I go to has a sign warning you of dangers and people will blindly walk on.

Education is the best defense, yet even the educated get popped.

Your questions and observations are tough ones to deal with and valid. There is no one right way, but certainly a right direction. Getting people to think about what they are doing all the time is about the most key point. A distance of a few feet can mean the difference between life and death in this game.

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Old 01-09-2013, 10:56 AM   #14 (permalink)
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i can't read this thread without stating:

a 16 person group is about 10 people too big. its a little boggling to me that it isn't discussed more regarding this incident because it is the largest single factor as to why it happened - imho.

the terrain is a straight-up terrain trap and it was after a big fresh dump.

i'm not trying to be a dickhole or anything here, but noops and people planning on/thinking about getting in to bc riding need to hear this stuff and those already savvy need to objectively take lessons from this. it really can happen to anyone, but there are reasons that this happened and frankly - there was too much stoke.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:12 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Killz,
I completely agree with learning from other's mistakes and have no basis for argument...being a noob and such. However I have trained folks for years in fairly complex human interaction situations and showing them and having them practice a protocol/framework gets them comfortable in interacting with others in a group...which we did not do in the course. In a crew that goes out together, they by experience develop a pattern (good or bad); but in cases of ad hoc group at the gate, newbies, and perhaps when two crews intersect/interact in the bc...having an expected communication protocol would be good. To which, I would assume experienced bc'ers would do...but for us newbs to see it done and know that it is a standard thang...so we wouldn't be too hesitant to speak up. Oh nevermind....I just need to get out more, wear my noob flag and work through my anxieties.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:24 AM   #16 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=killclimbz;563661]I would mind a sign that said, "this many people have died here since ..." and with a quick description of what you should be prepared for. The reality is, almost every bc spot I go to has a sign warning you of dangers and people will blindly walk on. [QUOTE]

Yep, sounds good in theory, but it doesn't work.

This is a pic of the sign posted on the Kalalau Trail at the final approach to Hanakapiai Beach in Kauai.



Yet, every year there's more hash marks. People die there every year despite all the warnings. The locals will tell you that many of the warnings are just to ward off idiot tourists, but this is one that they all heed. That beach will kill your ass.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:37 AM   #17 (permalink)
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to be fair, that sign looks like something out of a Scooby Doo episode - the ones i've seen at gates are usually more ominous, more official looking. i appreciate your point tho... i wonder if its the hashmarks? the ones i've seen have the word DEATH pretty prominently.







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Old 01-09-2013, 11:55 AM   #18 (permalink)
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16 person group is huge. You definitely want to break it up into smaller groups. Which is what sounds like happened. The thing is they didn't stick to the plan to stay away from Tunnel Creek proper.

Anyway Shred, all of your observations are completely valid. No argument here.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:56 AM   #19 (permalink)
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And wrath, take your time dipping your big toe into the game. You have to start small and work your way into more complex terrain as you get comfortable negotiating the hazards. What I will do today, is completely different from when I started. The same rules apply, but I am more comfortable in recognizing what can or can not be done. Nothing wrong with keeping it dialed back, in fact it will probably save you, your family, and friends heartbreak.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:39 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
If you watch the inter active video in the section where the guys who took the safer route down found ski gear sticking out of avalanche debris. The POV guys goes into his pack to pull out his beacon. When you are using a beacon, it should be used with the harness, attached to your body under your ski gear. Packs can get ripped off in an avalanche. Outer wear can get ripped, so putting it in a jacket or pant pocket is not recommended either. It's bad form, and not one avalanche school will tell you to do this.

At this point it's nit picking. I just don't know why you wouldn't wear your beacon in the normal fashion. You don't even know it's there.

Thanks for letting me know, i saw that video but didn't realise thats what was wrong. Makes sense now that you have pointed it out.
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