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Mistakes in Judgement that I have made

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 

started a wet slide and instead of turning away from it, thought I could ski across it and continue with plan A. NOT!  Those slow moving things are powerful.

post #2 of 31

I'm very happy that you didn't get hurt.

post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 

hopefully a lot of these are mistakes we got away with.   I'll finish the story if this picks up a little. thanks btw

post #4 of 31

Moved from CO to Wash DC a month after my 22nd birthday.

post #5 of 31

Where?  Details?

post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 

quid pro quo

post #7 of 31

Didn't ski between 2004 and 2007; more generally, ignored rickg's signature* until relatively recently.

 

 

 

*(ski what you got or you don't ski)

post #8 of 31

Decided that that recurrent whizzing noise couldn't possibly be someone shooting at me (while standing butt naked under the tank's main gun taking an Australian shower the day after the cease fire in the first gulf war).

 

EDIT: preposition overload

post #9 of 31

I've made my share of mistakes, the most recent were...

 

1.  Got half way to the trail head for a trip I had wanted to do for a long time and realized that my skins were still next to my door at home.  Consolation prize was a long ski skate near home that was nowhere near as fun or rewarding.

 

2.  Was a little disoriented in Delirium Dive at Sunshine (despite having skied it many many times) and almost skied off a large cliff.  Serious and stupid brain jam!  (The snow was really good in the DD, except at the top.)

 

 

 

Yeah Davluri, a moving mass of wet snow is powerful.  how deep was the slide?  Glad you weren't injured

 

post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 

I am going to finish that story. for now, the slide was about 8" crown, thirty feet wide, 400 feet long, flowed over a rockband with a small cliff. Like you, a little disoriented, didn't consider that if crossing the slide didn't work I was going over a cliff.

 

VS, I have a corolary to rickg's signature. lower expectations to meet conditions and you will be happy!

post #11 of 31
Thread Starter 

I have made one huge mistake that I was lucky to survive, so I'd be dumb or arrogant to think anyone else made a mistake that they should have avoided. I was thinking we could learn from each other's mistakes, and not be disrespectful to those among us who were less fortunate in their decision making.

post #12 of 31

Powder days, inbounds, very small midweek crowds, and I head off to the "back side" of the mountain by myself.  There's nobody around anywhere and I'm skiing steep, sometimes knarly terrain and trees near cliffs solo.  nonono2.gif

post #13 of 31

Poor decision making is usually a lack of experience,common sense and foresight. Surviving and learn from ones and others mistakes is what keeps you intact. However, there are situations where it is inevitable that it can go South no matter what precautions are taken. It's nice to think a little luck is thrown in.

post #14 of 31

After having not played basketball for 2 years, played 5 full court games back to back.  The last game ended for me when I got a rebound and pushed off my right foot to dribble/pass up court and felt someone kick the back of my calf- looked to see who it was and nobody was there, but did noticed that everyone was looking at me as they had heard my achilles snap.  

 

Have since blown my ACL twice skiing on the same leg- the first, in my mind, could have been related to the earlier achilles injury which I recovered ok from, but left me with a lot of hardened scar tissue and a weaker calf muscle.   

 

Lesson- Try to stay in as good a shape as possible and ease back into physically demanding activities!

post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 

I'll tell this tale of an example of how many mistakes a guy can make on just one run.

It's May and we've had 8" of snow that is being beaten by the sun and warmth for the second day. I head up and ski Palisades for my first run at 9:30am. I ski north facing where the snow has remained cold. great run. no prob. Go back to the main area that is still open in May and ski some lift served blues.

 

It's now noon. Some friends see me at the top of the lift and ask if I want to hike to the Sades with them. Now I'm, are you kidding? but of course I go, knowing it's three hours too late.

 

Another friend there at the lift has just skied Kitchen Wall and says the best plan is to ski the center of the wall where a large slide cut loose yesterday, scraping the entire new layer off and leaving nice corn underneath, at least it was nice corn at 10am.

 

We enjoy the hike up and chat about the film Top Gun that was on TV the night before, and how the pilots are just like skiers.

 

So we get to the top of the wall ( 45* ) and those guys, three, want to hike off to skiers right and ski a couloir that usually involves some climbing in and hiking out. It's now (first mistake, time of day) 1pm and about 65 degrees out. I'm like, uhhhh, I don't think so....I'll meet you guys at the exit. Wingman leaves formation. second mistake. 

 

So they head right and I head left, solo. third mistake, solo. I see the slide path and remember the recommendation to ski that. But I also see my favorite line, untouched with 8" fresh and decide to ski that instead. what is this, fourth mistake? 

 

I drop in and make my first turn....nice and smooth, no problem. second turn, right, and the cut sets off a slide. OK. so I'm making my third turn which is back toward the fall line and the slide, which is slow, deep, very wet. I look at it just sloshing along slowly, make two small turns on the side of it while I think this over. I have the space and time to take it back with a right turn and a traverse to the previous days slide path and ski the corn there the rest of the way down, or I can cross the slide and get over to the second part of the dog leg couloir that my favorite line takes.

 

I'm skiing and thinking this over at the same time. I decide to cross the flowing wet slide into the couloir. 5th mistake. I ski into it and as soon as my boots are in the moving mass I start to move sideways and not forward at all. I do remember at this moment a fact. You do NOT want to be swept off your skis in a sideways orientation. You will NEVER get back up and will have no control. I also understand that I am not going to make any forward progress as my skis are not riding on the base layer at all.

 

I make the first correct decision, number one, and I hop my skis around into the fall line, square my shoulders straight down hill, and get in my most defensive and secure crouch. Now I'm moving in the slide, facing downhill. Ahead of me is a river of slush and it is moving over rocks like a water fall. The rocky band, that I bottoms the dogleg chute's turn left, turns into a small cliff, about 20 ' sheer drop, all rocks, but with snow at the bottom. I become absolutely determine to keep facing straight downhill. My mind goes completely blank and I hear what sounds like 5 pairs of skis being thrown down a long flight of stairs. clatter, bang, clatter for several seconds, then silence and a frozen mind, thoughtless.

 

I crank a left turn and suddenly I'm motionless, standing on my skis, the slide continuing to slosh and hiss by me on my right. Finally the snow stops moving next to me. I take stock. I have no snow on my helmet, no snow on my back or shoulders or arms. I didn't fall. I had skied the thing, in an adrenaline blanked mind moment. I was ecstatic. I jumped up and down. I took my helmet off and looked at it. I couldn't believe it!

 

I charged over to meet my buddies. "Holy f'in......sh.... " I was cussing and laughing. They looked up the wall and could see the new slidepath go right over the cliff at the bottom. "yeah, Dave, there it is, holy..." the wingman should never leave formation, man!"

post #16 of 31

Two weekends ago I made a really simple, mindless mistake that caused me to wipe out and go into an uncontrollable slide for about five hundred vertical feet.

 

The embarrassing details:  

 

I was skiing on far skier's right on Adrenalin at Alpental in Washington State.  It's very steep - I've heard and seen claims of 52 to 53 degrees.  The snow was less than ideal.  It's consistency was somewhere between styrofoam and stiff mashed potatoes.  Still, I've skied these conditions before without incident.  I went on the track all the way to the skiers right and accelerated down the slope.  I made one turn, and then made a bizarre mistake.  I planted an uphill pole and tried to turn while twisting my left arm around my back.  Even while it was happening I thought "why am I doing this?  This makes no sense at all...."

 

I instantly fell down.  And then bounced up into the air.  Both skis were off, and in an instant I was shooting down the slope.  I spread my arms wide, trying to get traction or find something to grab.  I kicked my boots into the snow to try to break my slide, but all that accomplished was to wrench my hips in their sockets every time I managed to get a grip.  I remember looking to my left and watching one of my skis slide slowly past me - at least it seemed slow relative to my rate of speed.  I slid and I slid and I slid all the way down Adrenalin and didn't stop until I was in the middle of Lower International, maybe 500 vertical feet.  Somehow I avoided hitting anything on the way down.  I even made a turn.

 

Miraculously, the extent of my injuries were a few bruises and a battered ego and a very slightly hyperextended thumb.  When the guy arrived carrying my skis (whoever that was, he earned some serious Karma that day!) he said "Dude, are you alive?"  I was fine - I skied the rest of the way down to the parking lot and went home.

 

I was glad I had a helmet on, simply because it held my goggles in place and prevented me from rubbing my face against the snow.  I'm also glad I habitually check to make sure my pockets are zipped up, and that my ski pole straps were on.  And again, I'm eternally grateful that someone corralled my skis.  

 

I don't know what I could have done to arrest my fall - maybe trying to use the handles of my poles?  I've been taught to self arrest by turning face down with your head up and digging an ice axe into the snow.  But I didn't have anything on me that could take the place of an ice axe.  

 

Anyway, here's a picture I pilfered from the internet showing where my fall started:

 

 Alpental_0025_web.jpg

post #17 of 31

not ski related, but often times I regret getting into arguments on the internet with yahoos on some issue I don't agree with (not necessarily in this forum).  I realize now there's no point in it or "winning" a point on the internetz.

post #18 of 31

Oh man, this thread is made for me!

 

Borrowed a friends race skis, believed him when he said his boot sole was the same as me, outside ski ejected, I started sliding, the inside ski caught came underneath me and sliced my hip in half, 25cm gash to the bone, very lucky that I didn't hit anything important. I'd post the pics but they are so gory I'd probably get banned.

 

Jumping off a cornice just after a storm, cornice collapsed as I took off, fell 15-20ft onto my head, lost my goggles.

 

Countless misadventures in the park, probably the best involved an over rotated rodeo 540 (more like a 7) where I snapped the tail of my ski and punched my pole into my ribs, breaking one off at my sternum.

 

A non skiing one, hiking in the Backcountry with some friends in spring, decided to cross over a partially frozen lake rather than go round it, could so easily have all died.

 

Mountaineering in the Himalayas, one of our group got pulmonary oedema, our guide stopped with him and advised us to stop too, naturally we left him behind and headed up to the summit (6000m +), climbing over avalanche crowns as we went. 

 

Probably more, but that's enough for now

 

 

post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 

The photo is awesome, how the trees show the true angle of the slope, sweet. I'd have to agree that the pitch is steep as hell. looks like a right turn is ill advised, ha.

 

What terrain dangers were below you when you fell?  rocks, trees, gulleys, etc? How scared were you while sliding? what thoughts went through your mind after: '...this makes no sense..."?

 

true about the pay it forward consequences of some of these heroic helpers. I once fell in one of the nastiest places at Squaw. my ski was above me in a tight gorge and no way could I climb up at all. then this guy came along, grabbed the ski while still skiing in that nasty choke point, and handed it to me mid turn while calling out to me in a rich Aussie accent to see if I was OK. Strong skier, generous soul.

 

after a rough fall, it is a good idea to quit or at least take a long break. it rattles your mind and your emotions making it very difficult to ski. I think this is because we use a lot of muscle memory to ski, and subtle sub-concious decisions, and after a shock like that those automatic messages seem to be off kilter or blocked entirely.

 

thanks for the great story. and the only internet assertion of pitch steepness I have read that is true. haha

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdstarr View Post

Two weekends ago I made a really simple, mindless mistake that caused me to wipe out and go into an uncontrollable slide for about five hundred vertical feet.

 

The embarrassing details:  

 

I was skiing on far skier's right on Adrenalin at Alpental in Washington State.  It's very steep - I've heard and seen claims of 52 to 53 degrees.  The snow was less than ideal.  It's consistency was somewhere between styrofoam and stiff mashed potatoes.  Still, I've skied these conditions before without incident.  I went on the track all the way to the skiers right and accelerated down the slope.  I made one turn, and then made a bizarre mistake.  I planted an uphill pole and tried to turn while twisting my left arm around my back.  Even while it was happening I thought "why am I doing this?  This makes no sense at all...."

 

I instantly fell down.  And then bounced up into the air.  Both skis were off, and in an instant I was shooting down the slope.  I spread my arms wide, trying to get traction or find something to grab.  I kicked my boots into the snow to try to break my slide, but all that accomplished was to wrench my hips in their sockets every time I managed to get a grip.  I remember looking to my left and watching one of my skis slide slowly past me - at least it seemed slow relative to my rate of speed.  I slid and I slid and I slid all the way down Adrenalin and didn't stop until I was in the middle of Lower International, maybe 500 vertical feet.  Somehow I avoided hitting anything on the way down.  I even made a turn.

 

Miraculously, the extent of my injuries were a few bruises and a battered ego and a very slightly hyperextended thumb.  When the guy arrived carrying my skis (whoever that was, he earned some serious Karma that day!) he said "Dude, are you alive?"  I was fine - I skied the rest of the way down to the parking lot and went home.

 

I was glad I had a helmet on, simply because it held my goggles in place and prevented me from rubbing my face against the snow.  I'm also glad I habitually check to make sure my pockets are zipped up, and that my ski pole straps were on.  And again, I'm eternally grateful that someone corralled my skis.  

 

I don't know what I could have done to arrest my fall - maybe trying to use the handles of my poles?  I've been taught to self arrest by turning face down with your head up and digging an ice axe into the snow.  But I didn't have anything on me that could take the place of an ice axe.  

 

Anyway, here's a picture I pilfered from the internet showing where my fall started:

 

 Alpental_0025_web.jpg



 

post #20 of 31

Thinking that I can do something that I just saw a guy 30 years younger than me do, just because we've been skiing the same number of years. popcorn.gif

 

Body surfing on Miami Beach the day after a hurricane.

 

Forgetting that "because I said so" can be the best reason of all.

post #21 of 31

I let myself get talked into taking over chief of timing for my kids ski club a few years ago.  The consequences include: 3 to 4 day long weekends doing nothing but set-up, timing, and tear down; missing the powder days that always fall on race days; often being blamed for race delays even when "timing" had nothing to do with the delay; moments of panic when something like the computer crashes during a race (even though it always worked before); and feeling exhausted after a race,  

post #22 of 31

 

Quote:
What terrain dangers were below you when you fell?  rocks, trees, gulleys, etc? How scared were you while sliding? what thoughts went through your mind after: '...this makes no sense..."?

I think that the path I must have followed has intermittent short (5 feet) cliffs - basically the back side of boulders.  I don't think I went over one of those, but I was bumped around a lot.  There is a patch of trees I avoided.  Very bad things - large trees and big drops - are located skiers right.  I'm glad that gravity pulled me straight down.

 

I wasn't scared while I was sliding out of control down the mountain.  I felt extremely angry that I couldn't stop.  I wondered where on earth my skis were going.  It was only after the slide that I became terrified at what could have happened.

post #23 of 31

My first time in Silverado, before there were photos at the top.  I was there when they dropped the ropes after 5 feet of fresh.  I had no idea where i was going so I followed some guys, went right to avoid their tracks and found myself traversing above cliffs on a 40 degree slope. It held. 

 

Crossed a bay of Lake Superior on the ice for about a mile to climb a cliff that came out of the water.  Belayed on the ice.. We worked on the first pitch, came back the next day to find that the ice was completely gone--blown out into the lake.

 

Climbing Munginella/Saligenella near Yosemite Falls.  My friend leads the first pitch, and then some jerk on another rope climbs up past him,  The jerk brings two beginners up slowly while I wait, and then they start the second pitch, blocking us.  I climb up to my partner and decide to lead up and out to the right across some thin face to where I can see two parallel cracks that should be good protection . When I get to the cracks they're only a half inch deep--no where to put any pro. I bridge gingerly up the cracks about fifteen feet until they end. Above me there's a good flake that I can grab and pull up to a good ledge with easy climbing above.  I pull on the flake. It's loose.  At this point I'm about 100 feet off the ground with about 130 feet of rope out with no pro.  I pull gently on the flake trying to keep as much weight as I can on my feet which are bridging the last vestiges of the vanishing cracks, and, because I'm leaning in, my feet slip out and I'm dangling from the loose flake with one hand.The flake holds.  So I leaned out properly, gave a good yank on the flake and was up.  Later that night, hours later, I ran into a friend of mine--Warren Harding, of El Capitan fame--who, not knowing the story took one look at me and said that it looked like I had seen a ghost. I guess I had--my own.    

post #24 of 31

Couple weeks ago I was skiing some back country with friends and we came upon a cornice. The light was completely flat and we couldn't judge the height at all. I decide it's only about 3-4 feet and go for it. As soon as I push off the angle change allows me to see below and the drop is much larger than I was expecting more like 10-15 then the 3-4. Not only that but there was a huge ice bulge underneath me that I promptly hit and bounced off tomahawking down the slope a couple times. My friend up top starts freaking out cuz he can't see below and the all he heard was a bunching of swearing and then silence. Luckily I was unhurt, gathered my stuff and skied the rest of the day.

 

 

post #25 of 31
Thread Starter 

these are good. thanks.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdstarr View Post

 

I think that the path I must have followed has intermittent short (5 feet) cliffs - basically the back side of boulders.  I don't think I went over one of those, but I was bumped around a lot.  There is a patch of trees I avoided.  Very bad things - large trees and big drops - are located skiers right.  I'm glad that gravity pulled me straight down.

 

I wasn't scared while I was sliding out of control down the mountain.  I felt extremely angry that I couldn't stop.  I wondered where on earth my skis were going.  It was only after the slide that I became terrified at what could have happened.

The stuff that goes through your mind in a sliding fall. I was once: damn, I'm not wearing a helmet.....ahhhh, it doesn't matter, I'll break my neck anyway. yes, I really had that monologue.

 

Shane once got to the bottom of a long dumb fall alive and the first thing he did was ask his buddies if he sounded stupid, grunting and cussing and all.
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

My first time in Silverado, before there were photos at the top.  I was there when they dropped the ropes after 5 feet of fresh.  I had no idea where i was going so I followed some guys, went right to avoid their tracks and found myself traversing above cliffs on a 40 degree slope. It held. 

 

Crossed a bay of Lake Superior on the ice for about a mile to climb a cliff that came out of the water.  Belayed on the ice.. We worked on the first pitch, came back the next day to find that the ice was completely gone--blown out into the lake.

 

Climbing Munginella/Saligenella near Yosemite Falls.  My friend leads the first pitch, and then some jerk on another rope climbs up past him,  The jerk brings two beginners up slowly while I wait, and then they start the second pitch, blocking us.  I climb up to my partner and decide to lead up and out to the right across some thin face to where I can see two parallel cracks that should be good protection . When I get to the cracks they're only a half inch deep--no where to put any pro. I bridge gingerly up the cracks about fifteen feet until they end. Above me there's a good flake that I can grab and pull up to a good ledge with easy climbing above.  I pull on the flake. It's loose.  At this point I'm about 100 feet off the ground with about 130 feet of rope out with no pro.  I pull gently on the flake trying to keep as much weight as I can on my feet which are bridging the last vestiges of the vanishing cracks, and, because I'm leaning in, my feet slip out and I'm dangling from the loose flake with one hand.The flake holds.  So I leaned out properly, gave a good yank on the flake and was up.  Later that night, hours later, I ran into a friend of mine--Warren Harding, of El Capitan fame--who, not knowing the story took one look at me and said that it looked like I had seen a ghost. I guess I had--my own.    

I once passed someone who had cut me off skiing and it felt weird. I realized that I couldn't ski at all with anger as the motivation. It was an absolute clear epiphany.
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post

Couple weeks ago I was skiing some back country with friends and we came upon a cornice. The light was completely flat and we couldn't judge the height at all. I decide it's only about 3-4 feet and go for it. As soon as I push off the angle change allows me to see below and the drop is much larger than I was expecting more like 10-15 then the 3-4. Not only that but there was a huge ice bulge underneath me that I promptly hit and bounced off tomahawking down the slope a couple times. My friend up top starts freaking out cuz he can't see below and the all he heard was a bunching of swearing and then silence. Luckily I was unhurt, gathered my stuff and skied the rest of the day.

 

 

Cornices are great aren't they? I have a good one. Skiing with four buddies and my son on a stormy day. There was a strong south wind, like 40 - 50. We ski this bowl and then we traverse over and ski this face. Top of the face is a large cornice, 400 feet across, maybe a 20 ft drop, or so I thought. The wind had extended the cornice, which we had been standing on all morning. now it's razor thin and hanging over about 8 feet. but we don't know this. so five of us are standing at the very edge of this cornice in a storm, totally flat light, just shooting the breeze, resting, when bang, craaaaack! the section under me breaks off. no one else. just me. and I drop out of the group like I was on an elevator. I had my poles on and had been about to drop in when it broke off, so I landed with the large chunk of chalk cornice and turned hard left, which took me off of the slab and I stood there and watched it rumble down 400 vertical feet, through the choke and onto the apron, bringing about a hundred tons of snow with it. hmmmm. standing around on a knife edge cornice. brilliant.

 

thanks for your stories, they jog the mind and about 20 more of my own mistakes come back in a flash.
 

 

post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

Climbing Munginella/Saligenella near Yosemite Falls.  My friend leads the first pitch, and then some jerk on another rope climbs up past him,  The jerk brings two beginners up slowly while I wait, and then they start the second pitch, blocking us.  I climb up to my partner and decide to lead up and out to the right across some thin face to where I can see two parallel cracks that should be good protection . When I get to the cracks they're only a half inch deep--no where to put any pro. I bridge gingerly up the cracks about fifteen feet until they end. Above me there's a good flake that I can grab and pull up to a good ledge with easy climbing above.  I pull on the flake. It's loose.  At this point I'm about 100 feet off the ground with about 130 feet of rope out with no pro.  I pull gently on the flake trying to keep as much weight as I can on my feet which are bridging the last vestiges of the vanishing cracks, and, because I'm leaning in, my feet slip out and I'm dangling from the loose flake with one hand.The flake holds.  So I leaned out properly, gave a good yank on the flake and was up.  Later that night, hours later, I ran into a friend of mine--Warren Harding, of El Capitan fame--who, not knowing the story took one look at me and said that it looked like I had seen a ghost. I guess I had--my own.    


I just remembered a rock climbing one from earlier this year. Not quite as extreme as yours but scared the crap out of me. I will preface this with the fact that I am not a super strong climber. Anyways I was climbing with a friend at the Garden of the Gods which is notorious for long run outs between bolts and in the process of leading a sport route we noticed an old piton pretty far out right of our route. I decided to climb out to it as the run out between the actual bolts was something like 60-70 feet and regardless of the stability of the piton it was a mind crutch. Any ways it was situated in this nice crack and I get up near it and start to get fatigued. I decide that the best move to do here is through a hand jam. I go to try and clip into the piton but the position I had put my feet in combination with the hand jam doesn't let me change my angle. I go to try and change my hand position but can't get the hand jam out. As I said I was already fatigued and at this point I am shaking and about to fall. I manage to hang on long enough to eventually get my hand out at which point I promptly take the largest lead fall of my life. I still get chills thinking about how close I was to simply hanging about 100 feet of the ground from my stuck hand.         

 

post #27 of 31

I turned down a job in Vancouver once. 

post #28 of 31

Here's a minor example of bad judgment:  I was at Snowbird on President's Day and took Great Scott off the Cirque (by myself, my buddy was tired).  Took about 7 turns down and realized I was "rocked" out, and ended up needing to jump off a rock. (see photo taken from bottom)  

 

It all worked out; no injuries/no major fall, but just reinforced the "scout it out/ski with a buddy" formula for avoiding situations...

 

photo.JPG

post #29 of 31
Thread Starter 

Were you at the top of that draw? You did right to solve the problem with your skis ON. So many people take them off and start clamoring around in their boots over rocks. Very sketch. Take the dings to the base and always keep your skis on. good work.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post

Here's a minor example of bad judgment:  I was at Snowbird on President's Day and took Great Scott off the Cirque (by myself, my buddy was tired).  Took about 7 turns down and realized I was "rocked" out, and ended up needing to jump off a rock. (see photo taken from bottom)  

 

It all worked out; no injuries/no major fall, but just reinforced the "scout it out/ski with a buddy" formula for avoiding situations...

 

photo.JPG



 

post #30 of 31

Yeah, that's what I was thinking - it was safer to take a drop on my skis than take them off and slide off the rocks. 

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