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  Topic Review (Newest First)
12-19-2011 03:21 PM
hikeswithdogs
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
I have gotten drastically different ECT results in pits less than 20ft apart on the same aspect. Does that make sense?

Of course snow is going to be a completely different animal on a Southwest facing slope compared to a Northeast facing slope. It'll be different snow at 6k ft versus 10k ft for sure. Observational data as you are skinning, hiking, is huge. Recent avalanche activity, shooting cracks, whumpfing, feeling layers with your ski poles, getting off the skin track onto small wind pillows, seeing if you can get a reaction, that type of stuff. When I start talking "spatial variability" I am usually talking about the slope, aspect, that I am considering. That immediate area. Ideally, you could dig a couple of pits, check out the snow, for the full range of the slope you are planning on hitting. The reality is, unless you are hiking up said slope, you can't. So you have to pay attention to all the other clues. Like the recent activity, snow fall, winds, temperature, in addition to you snow pit tests on a given slope. Terrain management when you are riding down is key too. If you are riding a wide open 35 degree slope and there is a lone tree in the middle, do you want to ride close to that tree? Probably not. Picking safe zones, riding ridges where stuff if it breaks will break below you, everything you do when you're riding, you want to keep safety in front of your mind.

Good to hear! Everything you just said jives with what I've been taught and was thinking. And no I would avoid that sad little lone tree because it sounds more like avy trigger point than a legit anchor or safe zone :-)
12-19-2011 03:07 PM
killclimbz I have gotten drastically different ECT results in pits less than 20ft apart on the same aspect. Does that make sense?

Of course snow is going to be a completely different animal on a Southwest facing slope compared to a Northeast facing slope. It'll be different snow at 6k ft versus 10k ft for sure. Observational data as you are skinning, hiking, is huge. Recent avalanche activity, shooting cracks, whumpfing, feeling layers with your ski poles, getting off the skin track onto small wind pillows, seeing if you can get a reaction, that type of stuff. When I start talking "spatial variability" I am usually talking about the slope, aspect, that I am considering. That immediate area. Ideally, you could dig a couple of pits, check out the snow, for the full range of the slope you are planning on hitting. The reality is, unless you are hiking up said slope, you can't. So you have to pay attention to all the other clues. Like the recent activity, snow fall, winds, temperature, in addition to you snow pit tests on a given slope. Terrain management when you are riding down is key too. If you are riding a wide open 35 degree slope and there is a lone tree in the middle, do you want to ride close to that tree? Probably not. Picking safe zones, riding ridges where stuff if it breaks will break below you, everything you do when you're riding, you want to keep safety in front of your mind.
12-19-2011 02:09 PM
hikeswithdogs
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post
To be honest, if I feel that sketched out, that I want to do numerous pits, I'm probably just going to go conservative instead. There will always be another day.
but don't you think you would get drastically different ECT results based on altitude and slope aspect?

I'm not necessary talking about a full snow pit\ECT test but even a ski pole test where you just spot check skinning up or coming down looking for extremely weak layers based on resistance to pressure.

I'm legitimately asking here because I'm still trying to wrap my head around all of it.
12-19-2011 01:01 PM
killclimbz A full snow pit profile takes a good amount of time, and is more geared for painting an overall picture. It is not something I would use for slope analysis. For trends and slopes/aspects you want might want to avoid or pay closer attention to, yes.

The quicker you can do pit work, the more likely you are to do it. To be honest, if I feel that sketched out, that I want to do numerous pits, I'm probably just going to go conservative instead. There will always be another day.
12-19-2011 12:18 PM
hikeswithdogs Honestly I feel more comfortable taking 2-3 real quick ECTs throughout the day(in the exact areas Iím in) rather than spend an hour+ doing snow pack analysis one place which might give me false data and lead me astray later in the day, of course Iíd always just assume the worst and not the other way around.

As someone whoís very new to this Iím trying to really focus on paying the most attention to the Utah avalanche centerís info\forecast in combination with slope angle and aspect\terrain\route choice instead of complex snow pack analysis which for the time being I can leave up to the professionals at the UAC.
12-19-2011 11:08 AM
killclimbz
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowvols View Post
The worst thing for me about a Rutchsblock though is if you have a nasty crust and trying to get your rope to go through it. You will use more energy sawing away with a rope with knots than you did skinning 2K vert.
That's pretty funny!

I have a G3 Rutchsblock cord that I use. I have never had too much of a problem with that. Though now a days since I don't do the RB test all that much, I usually get away with just using my snow saw.
12-19-2011 10:51 AM
snowvols The worst thing for me about a Rutchsblock though is if you have a nasty crust and trying to get your rope to go through it. You will use more energy sawing away with a rope with knots than you did skinning 2K vert.
12-19-2011 10:37 AM
killclimbz I like the rutchsblock too, but I can set up and do 2 or 3 ECT's in different spots versus one Rutchsblock in one spot. Since spatial variability is such a big thing, the ECT has really taken over for me in that regard.
12-19-2011 09:54 AM
hikeswithdogs ECT is now at least the continent wide standard, not sure why anyone would use anything else.
12-16-2011 03:42 PM
killclimbz The Tattered Cover might have Staying Alive. I wouldn't be surprised. If they don't. Check out the Wilderness Exchange and REI in Denver. The Bentgate in Golden is another shop that would probably have it. You can also find it on Amazon.

As far as SWAG goes, no where sells it that I know of. They give it out at Level II classes, and I am not sure about Level I's as it didn't exist when I took mine. Worth you time to download it from the Forest Service site.

Another good book is the Avalanche handbook 2nd edition. It's the actual "bible" for avalanche safety. It's also pretty boring at times. The closest analogy to the book is it's the avalanche equivalent of Freedom of the Hills for Climbers. It's a great reference book and is worth having on your shelf if backcountry riding becomes something you do on a regular basis.
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