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Colorado Backcountry trees? - Page 3

post #61 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

I'm not a BC skier but doesn't spring time mean less snow pack stability due to great spring temperature variations between night and day.. I know I was once stuck in Revelstoke for the day after a midnight slide in Rogers Pass on April !0. There was no fresh snowfall involved.

In CO,spring is typically the most stable with clear cold nights that freeze hard. Early AM will be the most stable, decreasing throughout the day as it warms.
Warm nights and isothermic snowpack are bad.
post #62 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post

I'm not a BC skier but doesn't spring time mean less snow pack stability due to great spring temperature variations between night and day.. I know I was once stuck in Revelstoke for the day after a midnight slide in Rogers Pass on April !0. There was no fresh snowfall involved.

Edit:Shred head answered better
post #63 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smear View Post
 

 

Yes, it's a good idea to tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Or at least leave a note in the car, tent, cabin or whatever your starting point is. It's also a good idea to bring a partner or two, preferably someone with experience, knowledge, training and the right attitudes. Avy training is of course good for you and basic avy gear is also smart if avalanches are a possibility, preferably also a ABS pack and a personal locator beacon and even pdiddy's survival kit. And if you are not very experienced of course the best thing to do is to hire a guide.

 

But even if you fail at all of the above, then still in my perspective the right thing to do is to just get out there anyway. But of course don't take any more risks than you feel like, especially with the added risk put on by failing all of the above. 

 

So if you end up going alone, without telling anyone where you are, without the gear mentioned above and without any more avy knowledge than knowing that a below 30 degree slope(*) isn't likely to slide. And all you feel like doing under those circumstances is doing laps on a short low angle slope not too far away from the road, skiing very cautiously not to risk getting hurt, then you still might have good time and a useful experience. Or you might end up being bored and find out that that was not an experience worth repeating. Who knows..

 

 

(*) And that is plenty steep for most people to have fun in most snow conditions.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post
 

Follow-up thought:

 

If there's one thing I've learned in years of writing and commenting on the Internet, it's that just because something works for me doesn't make it good advice to dole out to others. Sometimes you do inadvisable shit and get away with it, and sometimes going against the grain truly works for you personally, but that doesn't mean you should be indiscriminate in telling others to follow in your footsteps. 

 

The OP seems so unprepared, I figured he must be trolling. A guy from Virginia with no backcountry experience and no equipment soliciting advice on CO destinations on the Internet, instead of from his friend and friend's friends who actually live there, all in an early season that appears to be quite dangerous (haven't followed CO conditions, but a two-sec search reveals an avalanche advisory for today and tomorrow following storming, sounds similar to what we have here). 

 

While "just get out there" might be a strategy that's worked for you for decades on a different continent, it's AWFUL advice to give to this particular OP over the Internet. Hopefully he's just trolling because some advise here has only served to confirm his own bad ideas. 

Perhaps I thought  that you guys needed some perspectives from another continent :rolleyes. And I just felt like opposing a bit to the check list approach to backcountry safety.  I can try to clarify.

 
I come from a region (*) where skinning up mountains for scenery or turns is a very common activity. Most physically active people in the region does that to some extent, a bit like the role of cross country skiing is in other parts of the country. Young, old, middle aged, schoolchildren, oldtimers that still hang on to their tele gear from the nighties or people with shiny new equipment etc go out in the backcounty. Some do it a lot, others only in very nice weather and in the typical ski holidays of easter and the weekends in may. Expecting all of these to have 3-days avy course, advanced snow evaluation skills and gear like beacons and airbag packs, before they even get started with backcountry skiing as a hobby,  is expecting a bit to much in my opinion. The typical traditional way most of them relate to avalanche danger is to stay off the steeper mountains in typical midwinter conditions and save those for spring when the conditions are more predictable.
 
My interpretation of the OP post is that he is asking for tips on routes and locations where there is ok skiing and riding, but that are reasonably safe for avalanches. This would be places with where all of the route is less than 30 degrees, but still has continuous downhill and not long approach. I've never been in Colorado but I imagine that those routes has exist there somewhere. This is also the type of routes one would typically do if one would want to go alone or if you want to go backcountry skiing together with children.
 
Staying of the steeper mountains and routes until spring is not the answer for everyone. Some of us also want to take our chances also on midwinter snowpack, and then some snow evaluation skills to avoid doing stupid stuff in the most stupid conditions  and self rescue training and equipment, is the key to increase the margins a little bit. This will never be completely safe and learning enough in the snow evaluations skills is a life long process not something learned in a 3 day course. My only ambition is to know enough to avoid doing downright stupid stuff. Even with gear, training and experience this will involve more risk than the low angle until spring approach mentioned above.
 
My advice to the OP is to start out on the low angle stuff and build experience from there. Get a guide book and start on the easier routes that are described as safe from avalanches, learn to use the inclinometer and map, and don't get lost. Add gear and avy training when you can.
 
 
 
(*) I understand that our coastal snowpack is very different from the inland snowpack in colorado. We have inland snowpack with stable cold weather and sometimes long lasting weak layers in other parts of the country.
post #64 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smear View Post
 

 

Perhaps I thought  that you guys needed some perspectives from another continent :rolleyes. And I just felt like opposing a bit to the check list approach to backcountry safety.  I can try to clarify.

 
I come from a region (*) where skinning up mountains for scenery or turns is a very common activity. Most physically active people in the region does that to some extent, a bit like the role of cross country skiing is in other parts of the country. Young, old, middle aged, schoolchildren, oldtimers that still hang on to their tele gear from the nighties or people with shiny new equipment etc go out in the backcounty. Some do it a lot, others only in very nice weather and in the typical ski holidays of easter and the weekends in may. Expecting all of these to have 3-days avy course, advanced snow evaluation skills and gear like beacons and airbag packs, before they even get started with backcountry skiing as a hobby,  is expecting a bit to much in my opinion. The typical traditional way most of them relate to avalanche danger is to stay off the steeper mountains in typical midwinter conditions and save those for spring when the conditions are more predictable.
 
My interpretation of the OP post is that he is asking for tips on routes and locations where there is ok skiing and riding, but that are reasonably safe for avalanches. This would be places with where all of the route is less than 30 degrees, but still has continuous downhill and not long approach. I've never been in Colorado but I imagine that those routes has exist there somewhere. This is also the type of routes one would typically do if one would want to go alone or if you want to go backcountry skiing together with children.
 
Staying of the steeper mountains and routes until spring is not the answer for everyone. Some of us also want to take our chances also on midwinter snowpack, and then some snow evaluation skills to avoid doing stupid stuff in the most stupid conditions  and self rescue training and equipment, is the key to increase the margins a little bit. This will never be completely safe and learning enough in the snow evaluations skills is a life long process not something learned in a 3 day course. My only ambition is to know enough to avoid doing downright stupid stuff. Even with gear, training and experience this will involve more risk than the low angle until spring approach mentioned above.
 
My advice to the OP is to start out on the low angle stuff and build experience from there. Get a guide book and start on the easier routes that are described as safe from avalanches, learn to use the inclinometer and map, and don't get lost. Add gear and avy training when you can.
 
 
 
(*) I understand that our coastal snowpack is very different from the inland snowpack in colorado. We have inland snowpack with stable cold weather and sometimes long lasting weak layers in other parts of the country.


Thank god,,,,, someone who thinks like a human being and doesn't live in the "safety crazed, armchair QB, over bearing USA".   Seriously people,,,,   To tell a human it isn't safe to explore nature is just down right bazar to me.   

post #65 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post
 


Thank god,,,,, someone who thinks like a human being and doesn't live in the "safety crazed, armchair QB, over bearing USA".   Seriously people,,,,   To tell a human it isn't safe to explore nature is just down right bazar to me.   

 

Let me make a comparison to Eldo climbing.  Exploring nature is great, but both 1) getting killed doing so, and leaving friends and family to deal with the hurt for a couple generations, and 2) getting really messed up while doing so, and again leaving friends and family to deal with that for a couple generations, isn't.

 

Why does the Bastille see so many groundfalls?  Because access is super-easy, and many of the climbs there are not hard, but a little polished.  Heck, even the downclimb sees a good number of groundfalls.  And you get a lot of people there who truly don't have much experience outside of the gym.  Rather like some popular frontcountry and sidecountry user groups.  Those people running it out to just below the first crux on Bastille Crack are doing something that's empirically clearly not safe, no matter how beautiful the day and how stoked their friends are.

 

One of the things currently being worked on for ed purposes is ways to get the message to those sidecountry and frontcountry user groups that what they are doing is serious, can very easily become "not safe," and get them to therefore change their behavior to reflect this.  Heck, even for flyfishing there's a need to get the message to people that without a few precautions they can easily die while wading, which every year a few bumblies manage to do in ways that were needless and stupid.  Yes, it's very easy for it to not be safe.

post #66 of 79

Smear, first I want to say you live in one beautiful place. One of my "kids" has been doing seasonal work in the Lom & Skjak area the past few years. Just a spectacular region. Super nice.

 

With respect to the topic at hand, I think there may be significant differences here vs where you are.  Everything from the nature of the CO snowpack & terrain  to what might be described as "cultural" issues wrt backcountry travel. There is certainly nothing wrong with just hooking up with a great mentor. But in the USA, I think the easiest and best way to have a clue about safe OB/BC access is to do an Avy 1 course. Before that, there is perhaps the first step of any number of free avy "awareness" classes (including using online videos). 

 

I am also a fan of reading Snowstruck. While not a technical book - the stories told are incredibly educational.

 

As I indicated before, IMO the most critical lessons have to do with understanding enough about what is going on to make good "go/no-go" decisions. No matter how steep or shallow the pitch - that can be the pivotal moment.

 

I've known, to one degree or another,  several people caught in serious avalanches. Most were technically knowledgeable (certainly more than most of us) -- but for a variety of reasons "went for it" assuming they could make judgements and adjustments in the field. Their families and friends still are living the consequences. Those who are still alive would likely say they have had their lives changed substantially. And so on...

 

I don't think anyone here is trying to stop the OP from enjoying any of the outdoors. Simply noting that winter/spring OB travel in Colorado comes with certain issues. Knowing what you are getting into and being able to make informed decisions is a good thing.

post #67 of 79

I'd like to provide a different point of view, hope the OP comes out and has the time of his life for a few months, I encourage you to get out at the resorts and into the back country.  There is a ton of options and places to go in summit county.

 

As someone who as been skiing the back country in Colorado since I as a teenager, I'd like to tell you the fear that everyone has spread around is pretty silly.  People who take a higher holier than thou stance towards newbees is pretty annoying.  Never taken a course, never read a book, done an endless amount of stupid things and have learned by trial and error.  I spend lots of time out on my own miles from a trail head, lift, and easy slack country access.  Most people can't hack more than a mile out and a thousand or so feet up.  

 

Snow science is pretty over rated and people sit around all day debating conditions, digging pits, deciding if it's safe or not, and trying to outdo one another with their knowledge.  Just go ride it.  The chances of something happening to you are pretty low, especially if you use common sense.  Common sense being the factor.  Colorado isn't one big avalanche death trap waiting to happen.  When you get out here, talk to people, get to know the lay of the land, and you'll find those great place to go back country skiing.  It will open you up to a world and feeling you've never had before.

post #68 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunnieman View Post

..
 
...
Snow science is pretty over rated...  Colorado isn't one big avalanche death trap waiting to happen. ...

Actually, numerous people move to UT precisely because of the CO snowpack. CO is a great state with great skiing. But, often the snowpack there can be quite tricky. For people down in Vegas who are wrong about the odds, maybe they lose their car or, if they are running a book, get moved from that role to being a bell-hop. Not even a leg-breaking involved, these days. In CO, or elsewhere in uncontrolled snow, a leg-breaking can be a bit of a gift, relative to what could have been. Having been lucky does not equate to having practiced behavior that would yield good results for those who follow you.
post #69 of 79

Spooky. I was solo today so passed on the epic powder in the trees. Not more than 300 yards from where a skier was lost in a tree well last week, I skied past this today. 150 foot tree tried to jump onto the run. It came down about an hour earlier while no one was watching. 

 

post #70 of 79

Yes we should all stay at home, because of cars, flu, dogs, waves and hippos (wouldn't want to leave friends and family to deal with the hurt).......  We should move out of the state because of the high traffic deaths......   And for gods sake people don't go out into nature, like our stupid ancestors did!!! Because nature is much worse now than it was 1000 years ago (or social media has just made it worse, or is it better because of global warming??? ah just pick one scenario to make a point)..........    Bottom line is,,,,  If there is any danger at all we should stay inside or move immediately!   :)

post #71 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post
 

Yes we should all stay at home, because of cars, flu, dogs, waves and hippos (wouldn't want to leave friends and family to deal with the hurt).......  We should move out of the state because of the high traffic deaths......   And for gods sake people don't go out into nature, like our stupid ancestors did!!! Because nature is much worse now than it was 1000 years ago (or social media has just made it worse, or is it better because of global warming??? ah just pick one scenario to make a point)..........    Bottom line is,,,,  If there is any danger at all we should stay inside or move immediately!   :)


Do you also work six days a week in the mines and spend the seventh at church the whole day? Previous generations did a lot of things they needed to do to survive, doesn't mean we shouldn't learn and evolve. Part of evolution is doing things better and more safely than generations before us.

 

You keep bringing up auto accidents without even an allusion to how much has been done and continues to be done to improve highway safety - cars are completely different than they were back in your father's day and if there's a hint of a dangerous problem, the automaker spends much expense in issuing a recall. Yet you want people to jump out into the dangerous backcountry, like they did "1,000 years ago", without considering and preparing for the risks with modern knowledge and tech?

 

Pretty soon cars will be driving themselves as a means of preventing accidents; some estimates suggest that change could eliminate something like 90 percent of serious accidents. Maybe when that happens you'll stop using selective analogies and realize there's something valuable about pursuing things in the safest manner possible. 


Edited by JoeUT - 12/29/15 at 11:34am
post #72 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineac View Post
 

yes I was an internet dick and I definitely apologize for that and good cheer to everyone.

 

I was irked because you don't know him anymore than i know you.  Wondering about in the woods and mountains in winter not knowing what you are doing is a recipe for disaster.  This thread is not what makes the go/ no go decision and you are right that lack of knowledge can be deadly to the OP and others. I have known folks with little back country experience who are naturally at home in the wilderness and prepare well who I have been very happy to partner with and I have known folks with lots of experience and training who I feel are unsafe in how they handle themselves.  Just internet advice and yours was good too and I should not have been a dick.


No worries. Life's too short not to speak bluntly and directly on the Internet. Overall a good discussion here. 

post #73 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeUT View Post
 


Do you also work six days a week in the mines and spend the seventh at church the whole day? Previous generations did a lot of things they needed to to survive, doesn't mean we shouldn't learn and evolve. 


Learn to evolve into what?  :) Sorry but I think our current stage in evolution has let to people staring at cell phones everywhere they go, (including one guy who was so entrenched in his phone he walked off of a cliff in San Diego on Christmas day and died).       Anyways, yes off topic, but my impression of our evolution is we are going backwards and should the power go out most will die.  lol,  seriously.    

post #74 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post
 


Learn to evolve into what?  :) Sorry but I think our current stage in evolution has let to people staring at cell phones everywhere they go, (including one guy who was so entrenched in his phone he walked off of a cliff in San Diego on Christmas day and died).       Anyways, yes off topic, but my impression of our evolution is we are going backwards and should the power go out most will die.  lol,  seriously.    


Sorry, didn't expect such a quick response, lol. Fleshed my argument out a little more above. I'm thinking evolving on a micro level (i.e. doing specific activities in smarter, safer ways), but I can agree that the future doesn't necessarily look bright on the macro level.  

post #75 of 79

Joe, nothing selective about my analogies, we are getting soft and things are trending our species (or at least our country) towards people who just can't do anything themselves anymore, (including driving apparently).   My position is, safety sure, but brains learn from the body as well as the mind.    Heck, people can't even think for themselves anymore, ask a question and they get on the phone and look it up.   This is the future,,,,,, sadly....   I liked what REI did for black friday,  they closed and told everyone to go outside.  Perfect 

post #76 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post
 

Yes we should all stay at home, because of cars, flu, dogs, waves and hippos (wouldn't want to leave friends and family to deal with the hurt).......  We should move out of the state because of the high traffic deaths......   And for gods sake people don't go out into nature, like our stupid ancestors did!!! Because nature is much worse now than it was 1000 years ago (or social media has just made it worse, or is it better because of global warming??? ah just pick one scenario to make a point)..........    Bottom line is,,,,  If there is any danger at all we should stay inside or move immediately!   :)


I'm pretty sure no one is saying what you are saying they are saying...

 

What is so wrong about someone gaining basic knowledge in advance of putting themselves or others in a potential risk situation? That's all anyone is suggesting. There are many compelling examples of the consequences of bad decision making in avalanche and NARSID land. It is just foolish not to take advantage of a large body of hard won knowledge. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post
 

Joe, nothing selective about my analogies, we are getting soft and things are trending our species (or at least our country) towards people who just can't do anything themselves anymore, (including driving apparently).   My position is, safety sure, but brains learn from the body as well as the mind.    Heck, people can't even think for themselves anymore, ask a question and they get on the phone and look it up.   This is the future,,,,,, sadly....   I liked what REI did for black friday,  they closed and told everyone to go outside.  Perfect 

 

So you are saying that folks should just fling themselves out there willy-nilly with no consideration of the consequences to themselves, others around them, prospective rescuers, or even cars  they might dump a slide on (see last week at Teton Pass). The kind of foolishness you are pitching leads to exactly the result you seem to claim you hate - restrictions and regulations. And rightly so.

 

If people can't manage to be halfway thoughtful & responsible themselves, those who end up paying for that lack of thinking that will "help". A little knowledge and a little thought can go a long way. As can a lack of those things.

post #77 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift View Post
 


I'm pretty sure no one is saying what you are saying they are saying...

 

What is so wrong about someone gaining basic knowledge in advance of putting themselves or others in a potential risk situation? That's all anyone is suggesting. There are many compelling examples of the consequences of bad decision making in avalanche and NARSID land. It is just foolish not to take advantage of a large body of hard won knowledge. 

 

 

 

So you are saying that folks should just fling themselves out there willy-nilly with no consideration of the consequences to themselves, others around them, prospective rescuers, or even cars  they might dump a slide on (see last week at Teton Pass). The kind of foolishness you are pitching leads to exactly the result you seem to claim you hate - restrictions and regulations. And rightly so.

 

If people can't manage to be halfway thoughtful & responsible themselves, those who end up paying for that lack of thinking that will "help". A little knowledge and a little thought can go a long way. As can a lack of those things.


And that isn't what I am saying.   Never said people shouldn't learn.     I am saying the scare tactics here are ridiculous,  and if you would bothered to read everything you would see that the OP asked for a safe line to ski trees in the BC, for which several people replied the exact same place.  The problem I have is people objecting to it and comments like "you will die"......   Or next time you can just read the whole thread, now that sounds foolish.ehh.... 

post #78 of 79

Trust me.  I read it from the start.

post #79 of 79


Well read it again, or your comprehension skills need work......   The last couple of posts took a spin off on society....    

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