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Have you ever been gripped? Well I have. - Page 2

post #31 of 52

I recalled a moment the other day while reading this thread.  Not fear, but a different emotion.  One more akin to despair, when you realize that you've blown it and have accepted the loss, so there is nothing to fear.  It was about twenty some odd years ago, so my memory of the geography could be a little off, but to set the scene, I'll try and describe the terrain as best I can.

 

It was on Mt. Washington BC (Vancouver Island), at the top of the hill, viewers right going up the lift, but on the back side, there is or at least there used to be a roped off cliff (there used to be a smaller cliff roped off on the other side too, but I'm talking about the bigger one).  About a good stones throw from the lift, there was a spot where a few folks would find a way down.  There was plenty of room to make a few jump turns or bicycle turns, and of course once scouted out, you could also skip the turns and treat it as a private downhill coursedevil.gif (but with no lift back up frown.gif).   Closer to the lift there was another very narrow passage with no room to turn, you had to thread the needle at stupid fast speed, and then veer (skier's) left near the bottom of the steep pitch to join up with the less intense line mentioned above.  Just before these two lines met up there was a third line that you could turn back down on (or maybe it was just after the two lines met up and before a second veering to the left), but this line had a clump of brush/short trees in the way.  Well, short was what was left sticking up out of the 20-30 feet of snow on the ground).  I went down these lines often enough to figure out that if I saved up just enough speed from the first steep pitch by making clean turns, but not too much speed so a little speed had to be ditched on the turns, it was possible to run up a bit of higher ground on the right side of the trail and use it as a ramp to clear the clump of brush.  The only problem was that once clear of the brush, you had to stick the landing and make a quick left, or you would be in trees too thick to pass through.  Hence why you had to kill some speed, but not too much.   You had to decide on the fly if you had done it right or if your were either carrying too much speed or not enough.  If so it was a left turn, but if you had just enough speed your were good to go straight down and use that rise on the right side as a ramp to jump the brush. It was a little tricky 'cause not only did you have to judge your speed, you could only go so far right without being off the run and in the trees, more right= more altitude to compensate for slow speed, but also closer to the edge, and you had to turn back to the left before taking off.

 

I recall one time misjudging my speed.  I thought I had enough speed when I decided to go for it, but when I got to the jump point I realized I didn't have quite enough momentum; I guess the snow was a littler softer on the run-up to my "ramp" in the afternoon than it had been in the morning.   It was too late to stop.  I did all I could to make my skis clear the brush, but they caught on something and I flipped, hitting the landing somewhat upside down.  I realized all was lost when my skis didn't clear the brush, and though I knew I would struggle to the bitter end, I really believed my goose was cooked.

 

My previous despair was matched by my joy when I discovered a short time later that the slow snow had slowed my rag-dolling down enough, and I miraculously missed the larger trees with the smaller brush acting as B-netting.  I escaped with only minor bruises and only having gone about 15 feet into the trees beyond the landing area, after falling through some 30 feet feet of the wet heavy deep snow.  I find it ironic that the same snow effect that ruined my jump saved my bacon.

post #32 of 52

I always thought "gripped" was more specific than just "afraid."  Where I've seen it used there was an aspect of being (temporarily, at least) unable to proceed.  Maybe with overtones of a cumulative effect, too.  The first place I remember seeing it was in a big-mountain TR, something along the lines of "scrambling along the exposed ridge, I got gripped and had to take a few minutes to get myself back together."  

post #33 of 52

I went into a treewell last spring, laying there was pretty freaky. But was able to climb the tree and pull myself out.

post #34 of 52

Scariest moment on skis...

 

Two seasons ago at Blackcomb, nearing the end of the day and we were skiing 7th Heaven but parked at Whistler Creekside, so we had to get back to the peak to peak to get back to the car. So, skiing from 7th to peak to peak, I was skiing down through the exposed rocks along chainsaw ridge, just a nice moderate pitch with some rocks sticking out of the snow that were a bit of fun to dodge. Anyhow, I must've been bearing a little too far to the right, cause I noticed that I was skiing up towards one the cornices on chainsaw ridge. So of course I stop before I fly over the edge, but as I'm stopping, I hear a loud CRACK and the whole cornice breaks off under me.

 

So now I'm falling, and I had no idea how far I was going to fall, whether I'd land on some pointy rocks, or whether I would trigger an avalanche and get buried at the bottom. My life flashed before my eyes and a thought went through my head like, well, maybe this is it.

 

Turns out I only fell 20 or so feet, landed in fresh pow, and after a few cartwheels wound up sitting on my ass and riding on the slough from the broken cornice. So in hindsight, it was actually a lot of fun, but holy shit did I get lucky. Definitely the scariest couple seconds of my life.

post #35 of 52
Thread Starter 


This is true as I know the word also. got into its cousins in fear, shear terror and scared sh%#less. Actually post #21 the third paragraph starts out with the gripped part, you can't go forward because fear has you in its grip, and you either can't or won't retreat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

I always thought "gripped" was more specific than just "afraid."  Where I've seen it used there was an aspect of being (temporarily, at least) unable to proceed.  Maybe with overtones of a cumulative effect, too.  The first place I remember seeing it was in a big-mountain TR, something along the lines of "scrambling along the exposed ridge, I got gripped and had to take a few minutes to get myself back together."  



 


Edited by davluri - 10/16/11 at 10:03pm
post #36 of 52

Well, I've been gripped in a pretty mundane situation.  I'm a chicken when it comes to exposure.  At Wolf Creek Pass I climbed the Knife Ridge stairs planning to hike aways out and ski down.  I'd scoped it from the bottom and had seen several places I could come down without too much trouble.  But just after the stairs, you go across the knife ridge itself -- a narrow, snow covered path about 50 feet long with drop offs on both sides.  As I walked across, it seemed to get narrower and narrower (it doesn't really).  Half way across I couldn't go any further.  After standing in the middle of the path for a couple  of minutes, I gave up, slowly turned around, and shuffled back.

 

The one bright spot was that there was untracked starting from the top of the stairs, since of course once you climb the stairs you are going to keep going... 

post #37 of 52

Compared to some of you, I'm a rank amateur at this, but here goes...

 

Monday, January 18, 2010,  MLK day.  Tahoe.  Sugar Bowl.  Mt. Disney.  I'm skiing alone.  My wife is watching the kids back in the Judah Lodge.  I'm out for one last hurrah in the powder being dumped by this huge storm.  The resort has been emptying throughout the day, but I'm being tough.

 

I start down one of the east side runs and the storm really comes in.  I'm skiing through the powder when I realize I can't see where I'm going.  My thoughts change from greedy to just get back.  I know there are some trees ahead on the right.  Or, there should be.  I can't see any evidence of trees.  The terrain bounces me up and down.  I can't see bumps or dips; I just feel them without warning.  I'm off balance.  I decide to slow down before I hit or go over something.  I decide to stop.  I think I've stopped, but I can't tell.  There's nothing to see but white, nothing to hear but wind, nothing to feel but softness.  I fall over.  Gravity tells me I hadn't actually stopped and I don't even know which way is up.

 

At this point, I'm gripped.  I start to think about Bennet Zelner.  I'm no longer worried about what my wife's going to say when I get back to the lodge late.

 

Eventually, I stop worrying about my self-respect and try to think of any way down.  I reject taking off the skis because the snow's too deep.  Instead, I end up doing some really lame form of snowshoeing-with-skis through the powder.  I tell myself that there can actually be such a thing as too much fresh snow.  I don't remember much of the way back to the lodge or the car.

 

The drive home over I-80 convinced me that Spikes Spiders are good things.  We didn't see it, but our friends doing the same drive reported watching an 18-wheeler slowly sliding backwards down the hill.

 

I'd like to think I've learned a few things from the experience:  Respect the weather.  It's dangerous to be a mediocre skier.  Ski the trees in storms.  Learn the geography.  Ski with others.  Own a beacon.

post #38 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

Here's the TR if you're interested:

http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php/161486-TR-Mt.-Moran-6-4-09-(TTips-x-post)

 

The "ran into someone we knew" part in the write-up refers to none other than Epic's own Bob Peters.  How 'bout them apples?  

 

Did you ski the couloir in the top center of the first photo in that TR? Very impressive, especially combined with the canoe + bushwhack to get in.
 

 

post #39 of 52

The only time I was ever afraid while skiing as an adult is very tame by comparison with some of these posts (never been so gripped that I couldn't move). It was on the back side of Snowshoe Mountain (West Virginia), on the part called Western Territory. It was the first time I had ever been there, and it had rained the night before and was very foggy. Somewhere in the middle of the run there was a steep pitch of sheer impenetrable boilerplate that disappeared into the fog. I had no idea how long it was, what obstacles might lay beyond, or even whether the run went straight or turned. Now comes the scary part: I was just getting back into skiing after 15 years off, and I was on cheap rentals. I could not set an edge, but managed to do skidded turns until the run flattened out again. In retrospect I think it was the fog that made it scary, combined with not having been on that run before.

post #40 of 52

Yeah, my definition of "gripped", is that "what am I doing here?" moment of "I am in way over my head", and then you regain your composure, overcoming the fear!

Panic is a different animal all together. IMHO, when you panic, you are done, and nothing positive ever happens in those moments.

post #41 of 52

I was visiting an old friend in NM and we went to ski Taos and Pajarito  while I was there.  I hadn't skied anything beyond MidWest hills for several years during that time.  After a warm up run at Taos I scanned the trial map for the most difficult looking run on it and suggested we go try that.  He tried to warn me that he had never tried that one because it was "pretty steep".  I'd skied with this guy out West a couple times before back in college, He was what I would consider an advanced intermediate back then now somewhere middle advanced.  I promised him I'd find an easy line for him when we got there.  Well, it turned out staring down the top of an 8-10 foot cornice drop into some of the steepest potatered up crud bumps I'd ever seen I was really hunting for an easy line for myself!  I hid my concerns and told him to keep his hands forward as he lands to be in position to make a turn on that steep pitch.  He dropped following my lead and managed to arrest after spinning around on his tails.  I was OK after the first part but took it a few turns at a time to keep my friend from getting hurt.  But ya, my humility was handed back to me that day.  Amazing how much better we become in our minds after not seeing really difficult terrain for a few years.  We both felt a lot of satisfaction that day though for taking the plunge and surviving.

post #42 of 52
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

snip.......

But ya, my humility was handed back to me that day.  Amazing how much better we become in our minds after not seeing really difficult terrain for a few years.  We both felt a lot of satisfaction that day though for taking the plunge and surviving.

yeah, most of us just keep getting better sitting there on the couch; it's amazing how that happens.

we need a list of names of terms for false courage for this study: like: kodak courage and armchair hero, but better.

 


 

 

post #43 of 52
Thread Starter 


this is a common theme of being overwhelmed by fear, in my experience. step one: utter obsession with the fear. step two: loss of self respect (and not even caring it's gone)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xela View Post


....snip

At this point, I'm gripped.  I start to think about Bennet Zelner.  I'm no longer worried about what my wife's going to say when I get back to the lodge late.

 

Eventually, I stop worrying about my self-respect and try to think of any way down.  .....snip



 

post #44 of 52

Though I am often accused of skiing like an idiot, I can't honestly say that I have ever scared myself silly while skiing.  I have a pretty good sense of what I can or can not ski and will look for an easier route if I believe I might not make it, especially while in "no fall zones".  But I did once find myself in a gnarly predicament without an easy way out.  It was at Steamboat and I was skiing one of the Chutes.  I was approaching a section where if I went straight there was a drop off and there were tracks going to either side.  I was going to stop at the junction so I could peak each way to decide which way would be the best.  But I stopped too close to the edge of the drop off and as I came to a stop at the edge, the snow gave way underneath and I started to fall over the drop off. Fortunately there was a tree right there, just past the drop and my right shoulder hit the tree and I was able to able to arrest my fall by pushing my legs and skis into the side of the cliff and wedging myself between the tree and the cliff which was only about 8-10 feet off the ground.

 

As I was securely wedged where I was, I was able to think for a few minutes as to what my best options were to get safely down, while my cousin was laughing his head off at my predicament.  As the drop wasn't huge, I knew I wasn't going to kill or seriously hurt myself, but I was still wedged between a rock and a hard place and needed to get down, hopefully without getting hurt.  Eventually I decided that I could grab a branch over my head to support my weight, then I could let my legs and skis swing down under me, and then drop straight down to the snow skis first.  So I took a deep breath, grabbed the branch above me, released my legs from the cliff to swing them under me and CRACK!!!!  Of course the branch broke, and I fell like a rock onto my bum and back into about 3 feet of soft snow which broke my fall nicely.  But I did have a pole come loose that went flying and never did find it, even after about 30 minutes of looking.

 

It was a good learning experience to be more careful when coming to a stop near any kind of drop off.  The snow might just break away.

 

Ski on!

 

Rick G

post #45 of 52
Thread Starter 

I think of panic as the first step usually.

for example, you are side stepping and sideslipping through a rock band. You suddenly realize you're committed because it would be impossible to hike back up and out. But the drop off is blocking all view ahead.  At this point it seems to just drop away vertically below you. There are no longer any tracks in front of you. cliff or trail? you don't know, and every second you are closer to becoming totally "gripped". You can't move, but your edge in the snow seems to be loosening, you can feel yourself slipping a little, the snow giving way under your skis, you're not sure the feeling is real or imagined. Your heart beat is fast and weak; you're starting to feel a little nauseous, and you know it: you're righteously screwed, done. "What on earth am I doing here??" exactly.

 

Ski Patrol at Squaw are very experienced with rope rescue. We see it pretty often. Takes only about the time of a couple laps usually to pluck someone off the pitch above a cliff, that person's predicament known simply as "cliffed". Compared to trying to claw yourself a hold with just your hands in deep powder, grabbing a rope is a very secure feeling.

 

(funny rick, I was typing this as you were writing your story, ha)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by snokat View Post

Yeah, my definition of "gripped", is that "what am I doing here?" moment of "I am in way over my head", and then you regain your composure, overcoming the fear!

Panic is a different animal all together. IMHO, when you panic, you are done, and nothing positive ever happens in those moments.


 

 

post #46 of 52

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff2010 View Post

Did you ski the couloir in the top center of the first photo in that TR? Very impressive, especially combined with the canoe + bushwhack to get in. 


Yep - it's the classic line on Moran, and probably one of the classic lines in the Tetons.  

 

post #47 of 52

I don't know if this truly qualifies as "gripped," as I didn't feel I was in over my head, just unsure of the conditions and pretty annoyed at myself.

 

I was on Prima Cornice at Vail, pretty late in the season for that particular run. The coverage was getting spotty and snow was very heavy mashed potatoes. I came to a small 4-5 foot drop that isn't usually there, and by the time I slowed above it, it was mandatory, without a very solid approach and a terrible landing. Chopped up mashed potatoes below and trees not far beyond. I stood there for about 5 minutes cussing at myself for not skirting around earlier, considering the conditions, and weighing the effort of hiking back up vs. the risk of continuing. I ended up skiing through it fine, but I was pretty upset for the moment there.

 

Conditions can be more of a scare factor for me than actual terrain. 


Edited by LiveJazz - 10/17/11 at 4:18pm
post #48 of 52

About twenty years back, my wife and I go to Summit County with another couple that we hadn't skied out west with before. My buddy and I had just been to Snowbird for an early season POWnding, so this was to be a tour for him and his wife's first trip out west.

 

Well, what a time to find out she has panic attacks when it comes to heights. We had just taken the Storm King Poma up, and slid over to check out Spaulding Bowl. His wife won't go within 50 feet of the edge to look over, got downright angry with us. Irrational fear?

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #49 of 52
Thread Starter 

Many of the most gripped people are in the act of following someone else when the fear hits them. If the skiing is about someone I'm leading, I sure try to figure out what they want to do first, before I select a run. If someone is following, they'd do well to explain exactly how they ski and what they like first.   many a budding ski romance has fizzled in such a scenario, many a marriage threatened, many a friendship torpedoed. frightened people don't mince words.

post #50 of 52

Hey Dav,

You started this thread.  How about telling us your gripping story, or did I miss it?

post #51 of 52
Thread Starter 

Hey Ghost, post #21 has a tale or two. I'll think it over and post THE moment if I can bring it to mind, and if I haven't already shared it.  eek.gifeek.gifeek.gifeek.gifeek.gif  we're looking for a five aaaaaaack! moment.

post #52 of 52

Thanks Davlur, I guess I missed post 21.

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