Building on the success of their “Know Before You Go” avalanche safety campaign, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) and Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) announced today a new backcountry awareness initiative dubbed “Go Before You Go.”
According to a press release, an average of 27 people died annually in U.S. avalanches over the last 10 seasons. While its unclear if any of those fatalities resulted from or were caused by mid-slope bathroom breaks, avalanche-safety experts agree that such fall-line loitering can prove hazardous.
“Your reasoning becomes cloudy if your bowels or bladder are full,” the CAIC’s Ryan Lassar explains. “Plus, your turns never look that great if you’re trying to hold it—especially if you’re telemarking or wearing bibs.”
Go Before You Go (GBYG) aims to improve backcountry users’ decision-making processes surrounding bodily functions in the mountains—before, during and after dropping in. The campaign is marked by two, simple-to-follow steps—(1) go, and (2) go—and is a collaboration between UAC, CAIC and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, with support from female-backcountry-urination-device brand Lady J and portable-poo-transport-system maker Yak Tube.
Save Our Canyons, the nonprofit dedicated to protecting the beauty and wild of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, praises the GBYG initiative. “We’ve got enough issues to deal with in protecting Salt Lake City’s watershed,” says Karlton Fincher of Save Our Canyons. “Yellow snow—or worse—mid slope shouldn’t have to be one of them.”
“We feel that launching this new effort and expanding upon Know Before You Go’s success is our duty,” added Greg Cordon, a UAC forecaster. “It’s really just the next step in keeping people from getting caught in avalanches with their pants down.”