1. Wookie1974 says:

    No offense to KC, and not to b a troll – but No- they didnt make the right call – they made lots of bad ones. Its just SURPRISING that even after all that – no one is willing to be critical.
    By the authors own account – there was a fresh snowfall after a longer period of no new snow – that’s danger sign number one. They had EXPERIENCED Some slide activity in the days before, danger sign number two – made even MOre dangerous by virtue of the new snow, thirdly, all the other crews had EXPERIENCED similar activity in the area in the last few days. Fourth – they chose to ski a north and north-east facing aspect – on a day with a high level of avalanche danger (no mention of the scale here, but I’d put money on a 3 or a 4) – and they didn’t follow the old 24 Hour rule either – which in my book goes as signal five. Six- they chose to ski lines at 40 Degrees or over (you can see this is the video) classic slide spots, and they picked lines over exposure – Seven.

    Thats at least Seven warning signs ignored. All these were ignored because of two small tests – one, cutting the cornice – a pretty good test – and two, ski cutting the face – a notoriously poor test….since it is often the case that Many people ski over a slope without setting it off.

    I’m not saying this to rant. I’ve been there and done the same thing. Most of us have – but its better for everybody if we look at what happened and learn from it – and then change our behavior. Saying “It think we did all we could” in this case just doesnt bear up to scrutiny.

  2. As someone who’s not as experienced as most here I really want you all to constructively critique what the others do. Form my limited experience, I would think that the shear consequences of the avalanche (i.e. flying off a cliff) would have been enough to put you off. I know my stomach turns watching it!

    Wookie has rightly pointed out many red flags, which to me appear to be quite valid. From my other pursuits I know to isolate & minimize the risks when possible, I don’t see that was done at all. I think your were extremely lucky to have not been injured or even killed.

    I know it’s so easy to sit back in our armchairs and critique this, So please don’t see this as a personal attack, we all need to learn.

  3. in a case like this i think mindset is a huge factor. I’m not sure how kc processes risk, but i like to live by some of the numbers bruce tremper put forth in his book “Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain”. bruce argues that in order to not die in avalanche terrain we need to make the right decision 99.99% of the time. not 99% or 99.9%, but 99.99% of the time. Statistically speaking this will allow us to travel in avalanche terrain for the rest of our lives without dying, anything less and the numbers will eventually catch up and kill us. I personally would never ride a line with that much exposure unless i was 99.99% certain it was not going to slide. it’s sometimes difficult to determine when we’re 99.99% certain, but as an intuition this is a very conservative number that leads to very conservative decision making. using that number as a set point, you would walk away from big lines more often than not. this of course is very difficult when you’re a pro skier who makes their livelihood from skiing big lines. if i was kc i would do two things. One would be to self-reflect on the risks I am taking and re-focus on understanding them more deeply. two would be to implement a more thorough system where before the day starts I identify absolute no GO terrain that i will not ski that day no matter what. that pre-planning stage is often helpful in allowing us to over ride some of the mental shortcuts that can get us in trouble. Thanks for posting this btw it’s not easy to make yourself vulnerable when you make a mistake, but the learning is so valuable for the community. I would love to hear an update from KC and whether his thinking has changed at all since this article was written.

  4. So stability assessment-not right. Good that you were ski cutting away from the exposure. I wouldn’t think of starting a line over exposure like that without making a deadman or other anchor and belaying down over that roll to check the stability. HOw many lives do you have? I’d think if you had spent the day punching that aspect and slope angle then you start to consider a line with high exposure under roll over like that.

    “Looking back, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I feel we did everything we could have.” -not by a longshot amigo, glad you got in the channel and came out alive. Be the rebel who actually spends 30 minutes slope checking your starting zone, tell your filmer or whoever to f’n wait.

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