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Another avalanche...another guy down.... - Page 2

post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Matta View Post

Craig is the man! seriously this is the toughest news to hear tonight. The guys was super helpful if you ever saw him out in BC and was willing to help vets an JONGS alike.

 

No more 1000s little turns down every face he would skin up.

 

 

Josh, thank you for the personal words about this man.  Sorry for the loss of someone you know and respect

May he enjoy 1000's more on the other side. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

 

Thanks. 

 

Listen, these guys are the best in the business. This is THE FIRST death of a solo forecaster, ever. Second guessing by people who don't know shit is annoying.

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post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

 

Thanks. 

 

Listen, these guys are the best in the business. This is THE FIRST death of a solo forecaster, ever. Second guessing by people who don't know shit is annoying.

Nobody (and I am assuming that you are referring to me) is second guessing Mr. Patterson.  I am second guessing UDOT, and apparently they are second guessing themselves. The forecasters themselves may be the best in the business but the protocols under which they work may or may not have been written with their best interests at heart. Yes, this may have been the first avalanche death of a forecaster, but it is still one death too many, and even though this particular death probably would not have been prevented by having a partner, everything should be done to see that it is the last.  Saying that a death could not have been prevented does not make the next death less likely.  In my field--surgery--when a patient dies, a lot of analysis as to why takes place--you can call it second guessing if yo like--and often the person who is hardest on the surgeon's actions and judgments is the surgeon himself.  Of course, when it comes to avalanche deaths, the victim is usually the responsible party and cannot speak for themselves.  Mr. Patterson, like the patrollers at Squaw and Alpine, and others, died so that we could have fun,  so we have an obligation to speak up for them. Speaking up is a better remembrance than posting RIP on the internet.

post #33 of 42

Sorry I'm cranky. This hits very very close to home. Obviously UDOT et al should review protocol, I never said that. But that's who should do it, not us. You wouldn't like it if  people whose sole medical qualifications consisted of watching "ER" and "Grey's Anatomy" were passing judgment on your surgery protocols, either. 

post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Sorry I'm cranky. This hits very very close to home. Obviously UDOT et al should review protocol, I never said that. But that's who should do it, not us. You wouldn't like it if  people whose sole medical qualifications consisted of watching "ER" and "Grey's Anatomy" were passing judgment on your surgery protocols, either. 

I certainly wouldn't like it. But the fact is that the current impetus for improved safety in medical care and especially in surgery did not come from working physicians and surgeons.  It came from non surgeons and non md's because those of us in the profession assumed that the way were trained and the way we had always done it was the best possible way. I also have sat in morbidity and mortality conferences where my colleagues, who are my friends, would bend over backwards to give me the benefit of the doubt, when I myself knew that I was wrong. And of course physicians are judged by nonprofessionals every day in the courts.I certainly agree that the incident in particular and the protocols in general should be reviewed by professionals, preferably by people who aren't too close, but also by well-educated-on-the-subject nonprofessionals.

 

People work in risky conditions for a lot of reasons--need the work and no other option (coal miners), love the work (ski patrol and avy forecasters), macho culture where asking for better safety is perceived as weakness (all of the above, and football, and countless other examples.)

 

Some interesting perspectives in this forum--although more speculative than I would agree with.

http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=87734&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=45

 

I don't claim to be an expert or anything close to it on the subject of avalanches.  I guess what I'm trying to discuss is how professionals and the general public deal with incidents like this, in any field.  Something between reflex condemnation of the powers that be or the victim (perhaps I am guilty of the former) and  declaring it to be an act of god. Now I'll shut up.

post #35 of 42
Thread Starter 

Having worked in a hazardous profession (chemical plants and refineries) all my life I have had a boatload of safety training as well as participated in many accident reviews.

The methodology I have been taught is similar to that used by the Federal Aviation Admin.

 

There are very few accidents.

Safety incidents have only three causes.

1. Pilot Error.

2. Mechanical Failure.

3. Acts of God.

99+ percent of all accidents investigated are classified as pilot error.

Mechanical failure does happen but rarely.
Acts of God are even rarer.

 

In the case of this accident I wouldn't be so impudent as to even guess at a classification.

The key point that safety researchers make is that there are almost no "accidents" and human error is usually the cause.

Boy, do my kids ever hate it when I take this hard ass attitude towards "accidents" but it is reality based and is the bedrock for good safety culture within an organization.

post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

 

People work in risky conditions for a lot of reasons--need the work and no other option (coal miners), love the work (ski patrol and avy forecasters), macho culture where asking for better safety is perceived as weakness (all of the above, and football, and countless other examples.)

 

 

And a couple more--neither management nor labor realizes it's dangerous (asbestos for a long time), or management knows but keeps it a secret (asbestos for a while).

(I thought you were going to shut up. Yeah, but I couldn't help myself. Now I really will. Maybe.)

post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakine View Post

Having worked in a hazardous profession (chemical plants and refineries) all my life I have had a boatload of safety training as well as participated in many accident reviews.

The methodology I have been taught is similar to that used by the Federal Aviation Admin.

 

There are very few accidents.

Safety incidents have only three causes.

1. Pilot Error.

2. Mechanical Failure.

3. Acts of God.

99+ percent of all accidents investigated are classified as pilot error.

Mechanical failure does happen but rarely.
Acts of God are even rarer.

 

In the case of this accident I wouldn't be so impudent as to even guess at a classification.

The key point that safety researchers make is that there are almost no "accidents" and human error is usually the cause.

Boy, do my kids ever hate it when I take this hard ass attitude towards "accidents" but it is reality based and is the bedrock for good safety culture within an organization.

 

Exactly. He shouldn't have stepped onto the place he stepped, obviously. A mistake in judgment, not protocol. Travel in avalanche terrain will never be foolproof. Most mistakes aren't punished, but they happen a lot. 

 

 

I think I've finally distilled what I have been trying to say: people who are surprised to hear that these forecasters work solo probably aren't qualified to be armchair qb-ing.


Edited by segbrown - 4/17/13 at 2:54pm
post #38 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

I think I've finally distilled what I have been trying to say: people who are surprised to hear that these forecasters work solo probably aren't qualified to be armchair qb-ing.

 

I'm not following.  Why would not knowing they work solo preclude any armchair qb-ing, at least as opposed to armchair qb-ing from people that did know they work(ed) solo?

post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

 

I'm not following.  Why would not knowing they work solo preclude any armchair qb-ing, at least as opposed to armchair qb-ing from people that did know they work(ed) solo?

Because even I knew that, and I know that I don't know shit. ;-)

 

THe partner issue is a red herring ... the takeaway should be the snow. The UAC report said it could have been any of them, which pretty much means a partner would have not changed the decision to take that step. And a partner wouldn't have dug him out. 

 

Is it just that people are freaking out that they don't always travel in pairs? is this incident just something that revealed a fact that disturbs others? even though it's never been an issue before?  I'm genuinely curious. 

post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lee View Post

I'm not following.  Why would not knowing they work solo preclude any armchair qb-ing, at least as opposed to armchair qb-ing from people that did know they work(ed) solo?
Because even I knew that, and I know that I don't know shit. ;-)

THe partner issue is a red herring ... the takeaway should be the snow. The UAC report said it could have been any of them, which pretty much means a partner would have not changed the decision to take that step. And a partner wouldn't have dug him out. 

Is it just that people are freaking out that they don't always travel in pairs? is this incident just something that revealed a fact that disturbs others? even though it's never been an issue before?  I'm genuinely curious. 

Well, I don't know about others, but I'm not freaking out, I just assumed they worked in pairs, and I even know someone who worked with Bruce Tremper as an AF. I guess I just never asked. I come from a long-time firefighter & patrol background and you pretty much always go out with someone on things like that. Of course, assume=ASS+U+ME. But bottom line, it's surprising if you didn't know it, at least for me.
post #41 of 42

I could be way off on this, but I think that back when we lived in SLC (1996 to 2002), particularly in the earlier of those years, the UAC forecasters very often went up alone.  I think that was partly because there simply weren't that many staff members back in the 90's and it was fairly unusual if two of them could go up together on the same day.  I can remember reading morning reports that certainly implied that they were often on their own.  They were typically starting up in the dark and getting back down in time to post their report early enough so that backcountry skiers could get the conditions in time for a "normal" start. 

 

I always assumed this meant that they had up-routes that were essentially pretty routine and reliably safe "enough" that they could get up and back down.  If the conditions were sketchy enough to threaten even those routes, then they didn't go up and they said so (and why) in their report.  If we read that in the report, we didn't even think about going ourselves. 

 

There's no question that having a partner is safer if something goes wrong.  I think, however, that a case can be made that if you're alone you're likely to be even more conservative in your choices if you know for certain that there's nobody coming to help if things go bad.  I know I'm more conservative when I go alone, which is fairly often.

 

It's really sad, but to me this sounds like one of those "wrong place at the wrong instant" situations.  

 

Many thanks to him for the service he provided and sympathies to his family and friends. 

post #42 of 42

Five years ago my daughter lived in the same house as one of the UDot forecasters.  My understanding was that he usually went up alone.

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