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Don't duck Ropes @ GTR

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
To all,

I've said this over and over again, don't duck ropes at GTR.

Yesterday, a guest at Grand Targhee Resort decided to not heed the well signed Bounadry, ducked under a Boundary Rope, walked out onto a cornice, which resulted in the cornice breaking and falling (with the guest) onto the slope below, which caused an avalanche. The Avalanche ran for over 1500' vertical.

GTSP and Teton County SAR responded and the guest was found by one of the GTSP K9s. The guest was deceased.

Again and again, I've stated to give the Tetons the RESPECT THEY DESERVE.

HB
post #2 of 25


Ropes and closures are there for a reason; and the reason is NOT to harsh your mellow. Obey them! The life you save could be your own. (But more importantly might be someone else's)

post #3 of 25

I really can't imagine ducking a boundary rope.   I would love to know the person's rationale for doing that.

post #4 of 25


From the Bridger Teton Avy Center

"  Yesterday afternoon a lift skier removed his skis and crossed into a closed area. He fell through a cornice and over a cliff. He triggered an avalanche and was completely buried. He was found by a rescue dog but had died from trauma. Our sincere condolences go out to his family and friends."

 

"removed his skis and walked" Might this be another case of someone thinking that the closure only means if you have skis on? Closure means closure.

 

I'd like to add my condolences.

 

Make good choices out there.

post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Skiing Public at GTR seem to think that the rope boundaries are "keeping them from accessing something good" as opposed to "keeping them from something dangerous".

HB
post #6 of 25

When I hiked Highlands Bowl during the recent Gathering there was a (non Epic-member) guest who ducked the ropes at the top presumably in order to relieve himself (i.e., he didn't go with skis).  There was a patroller up there (who had just helped drag a rescue sled up there; patrol had an injury of some sort in the bowl that they needed to attend to).

 

They had a brief "conversation" (i.e,. "get your a-- back over here!").

post #7 of 25

A little confusing. Was the rope to mark a boundary or a closed area within the ski area? Was the area marked closed or just boundary. Reason I ask is that boundaries and ropes and closures are not always consistent. Alpine Meadows has an open boundary--marked by signs but not ropes. Squaw Valley--same owners-- have a closed boundary, marked by signs and not ropes. Where they have ropes inbounds there are signs directing people to enter only through gates (when the gates are open). And Sugarbowl has an exit gate in a boundary rope line at the top of Lincoln but boundary signs only (open boundary) along the Mt Judah ridge. In the Rockies backcountry gates are more common than here. Was the victim knowingly poaching a closed area, or did he cross the rope line marked boundary in the absence of a sign saying closed? I'm asking because I don't know GT. 

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarkinBanks View Post

Skiing Public at GTR seem to think that the rope boundaries are "keeping them from accessing something good" as opposed to "keeping them from something dangerous".

HB

 

perfectly sums up the way many people here in the French Alps seem to think.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post
 

A little confusing. Was the rope to mark a boundary or a closed area within the ski area? Was the area marked closed or just boundary. Reason I ask is that boundaries and ropes and closures are not always consistent. Alpine Meadows has an open boundary--marked by signs but not ropes. Squaw Valley--same owners-- have a closed boundary, marked by signs and not ropes. Where they have ropes inbounds there are signs directing people to enter only through gates (when the gates are open). And Sugarbowl has an exit gate in a boundary rope line at the top of Lincoln but boundary signs only (open boundary) along the Mt Judah ridge. In the Rockies backcountry gates are more common than here. Was the victim knowingly poaching a closed area, or did he cross the rope line marked boundary in the absence of a sign saying closed? I'm asking because I don't know GT. 

 ducked under a Boundary Rope, walked out onto a cornice, which resulted in the cornice breaking and falling (with the guest) onto the slope

 

 

Here's another story, back about 2001 at Whistler/Blackcomb it was foggy, I came to a rope and realized I needed to stay in this side of it, there was no way I was going under it. 

post #10 of 25

As I said in the parallel thread on pugski, the idea that the danger starts right beyond the rope is not one that occurs to most people.  Don't ski out there?  Obvious.  Don't walk right out there?  Maybe not so obvious.  To be honest, before reading about the similar incident that happened before, it might not have occurred to me either.

post #11 of 25

Didn't someone fall off the cliff on the backside in a similar situation just last year?

post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
 

As I said in the parallel thread on pugski, the idea that the danger starts right beyond the rope is not one that occurs to most people.  Don't ski out there?  Obvious.  Don't walk right out there?  Maybe not so obvious.  To be honest, before reading about the similar incident that happened before, it might not have occurred to me either.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by focker View Post
 

Didn't someone fall off the cliff on the backside in a similar situation just last year?

If so, may be its good we all get re-mined every year. To bad sometimes it takes something like this to re-mind us 

post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
OldGoat, this may help...

GTR sets their "Boundary Area" signs & ropes anywhere from 5-10' INSIDE their permit and signs those ropes with "Closed Area" signs. Therefore, there is a "closed area" around the entire resort that GTR can and does manage. This is done to enforce Wyoming law (I don't remember the statute) where skiing in a "Closed Area" can result in up to 6 months in jail and a $300 fine.

So, the specific area where the incident occurred has permanent 6x6 posts anchored in concrete set back from the top of the ridge approximately 10'. It also has a double rope line (2 ropes - one at knee high, one at chest high) and signage every 30' or so ("Closed Area", "Danger Cornice", along with others).

Unfortunately, the indivi
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Sorry,

Try this again...

OldGoat, this may help...

GTR sets their "Boundary Area" signs & ropes anywhere from 5-10' INSIDE their permit and signs those ropes with "Closed Area" signs. Therefore, there is a "closed area" around the entire resort that GTR can and does manage. This is done to enforce Wyoming law (I don't remember the statute) where skiing in a "Closed Area" can result in up to 6 months in jail and a $300 fine. GTR does have an Open Boundary policy and does have an open gate. This individual was not a backcountry skier. He was looking at the Tetons.

So, the specific area where the incident occurred has permanent 6x6 posts anchored in concrete set back from the top of the ridge approximately 10'. It also has a double rope line (2 ropes - one at knee high, one at chest high) and signage every 30' or so ("Closed Area", "Danger Cornice", along with others).

Unfortunately, the individual took off his skis, went through the rope (past the signage), walked in the "Closed Area" towards the edge of the cornice (which is now at least 30' beyond the ridge line), which put enough stress on the cornice to break it. The cornice dropped onto the approximately 45 degree slope below, which resulted in an avalanche, which carried the individual approximately 1500' vertical.

Also, please realize that GTR's boundary backs up the Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area and the area below the cornice is public land. I bring this up because the actual "cornice" is not in GTR's Forest Service permit area and the area underneath the cornice can not be "access controlled" (made safe) such that Avalanche Hazard Mitigation could be performed on the cornice.

Hope this helps those reading understand.

HB
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Focker, same ridge line, different cornice.

About 1000 yards away.

HB
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarkinBanks View Post

Sorry,

Try this again...

OldGoat, this may help...

GTR sets their "Boundary Area" signs & ropes anywhere from 5-10' INSIDE their permit and signs those ropes with "Closed Area" signs. Therefore, there is a "closed area" around the entire resort that GTR can and does manage. This is done to enforce Wyoming law (I don't remember the statute) where skiing in a "Closed Area" can result in up to 6 months in jail and a $300 fine. GTR does have an Open Boundary policy and does have an open gate. This individual was not a backcountry skier. He was looking at the Tetons.

So, the specific area where the incident occurred has permanent 6x6 posts anchored in concrete set back from the top of the ridge approximately 10'. It also has a double rope line (2 ropes - one at knee high, one at chest high) and signage every 30' or so ("Closed Area", "Danger Cornice", along with others).

Unfortunately, the individual took off his skis, went through the rope (past the signage), walked in the "Closed Area" towards the edge of the cornice (which is now at least 30' beyond the ridge line), which put enough stress on the cornice to break it. The cornice dropped onto the approximately 45 degree slope below, which resulted in an avalanche, which carried the individual approximately 1500' vertical.

Also, please realize that GTR's boundary backs up the Jedediah Smith Wilderness Area and the area below the cornice is public land. I bring this up because the actual "cornice" is not in GTR's Forest Service permit area and the area underneath the cornice can not be "access controlled" (made safe) such that Avalanche Hazard Mitigation could be performed on the cornice.

Hope this helps those reading understand.

HB

Thanks--that explains it very clearly.

 

There does seem to be a wide variety of ways in which resort boundaries with public land are managed--even within the same resort in the case of Sugar Bowl. Sounds like GTR's set up is about as strong as it gets. The next step would be electrified barbed wire and guard towers with snipers.

 

A lot of folks don't realize that a cornice breaks not vertically up from the upper end of the slope below but along a line that is an extension of the slope below--in other words a cornice above a 45 degree slope would break at a 45 degree angle, or much farther back from the edge than most people realize.

post #17 of 25

Was at JHR a few weeks ago. Seeing the inbounds blind rollovers into massive cliffs thoroughly convinced me to not even remotely think about out of bounds without one hell of a guide in the future.

 

That said...unbelievable mountain!!Thumbs Up Thumbs Up

post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 

One of the signs near (not the actual location, but very near) where the individual duck the rope and walked past.

 

HB

 

 

 

 

Boundary sign

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarkinBanks View Post
 

One of the signs near (not the actual location, but very near) where the individual duck the rope and walked past.

 

HB

 

 

 

 

Boundary sign

But do they REALLY mean it?

(BTW I read that the victim was a Jackson resident.)

post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
Pic of incident

post #21 of 25

Darwin Award !

post #22 of 25

The sign seems pretty self-explanatory. They must put them there  for a reason..

post #23 of 25

Was at grand targhee on tuesday. This is the photo the guy was trying to get a pic of: the tetons. I am right at the ropeline with a stake in frame and holding my camera as high as I can to frame a pic over the snow.

There are plenty of ski tracks and other folks taking pictures right at this point. (No rope crossers though)

The way the cornice and rope is about 1/3rd of your picture is of the cornice and snow even if you're holding the camera as high as you can over your head. So I can see the draw to get a better picture and if you were just standing here you wouldny think you would fall through in the 10yds of snow in my pic

As much as you're screaming darwin awards, note that the observation platform that hb posted which is an alternate point about 100yds up away was also roped off but had lots and lots of footprints on it and is clearly an anchored strudture.
So there is an inconsistency where one obviously safe area gets roped off the same as a really dangerous one and gives a false sense of security to someone who gets one pic on the deck then decides to duck the ropes again at the cornice.

Btw the angle from the deck is askew and not as good of a photo point as from the cornice area
Edited by raytseng - 2/27/16 at 1:44pm
post #24 of 25

No shortage of Darwin Awards....

post #25 of 25
Quote (H2OnSnow):
 Obey them! The life you save could be your own. (But more importantly might be someone else's)

 

Indeed.

 

Recall the avalanche in Highland Bowl last spring, set off by a couple skiers who ducked a rope that was there for a reason:

 

 

I watched this slide from above, skier's right (left in the photo) at the top of G6. Even though I trusted the dry snow of the G Zones, it was beyond spooky to watch The Bowl slide out from so close below me. The run that slid ("Be One") was closed, and no one was caught in the slide, including the ones who ducked in and set it off. But the slide ran way down into the middle of The Bowl, into the open runout section where all the runs, open and closed, converge. It was fortunate that no one was caught. More pictures and discussion from last March, in the thread, "Why you must not cut rope lines...."

 

Best regards,

Bob Barnes

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