So much wind, you can't hear yourself think, and that is the problem right there
The visual is what I'm conveying here:
Hiking around the back of a rockpile peak and out onto the ridge/cornice above a large chute facing north. Strong wind has been blowing out of the south for several hours, 3 hours post control. (should have hiked back out right here, substantial wind load evident, but no tracks, what a line!)
Standing on the cornice, engulfed in blowing snow, looking down the chute and can only see a few yards, flat light, swirling snow, powerful wind, can't hear myself think.
decide to drop the soft, small cornice, cut across the top of the chute in a slow traverse, head to a safe spot, and hope in doing so that I can see something while in the lee of the cornice and out of the wind. Half way across the chute, no retreat possible, still no vis, but eerily quiet in the lee with fierce wind and blowing snow just above me, and the snow here is 2' plus.
traversing too slowly (the wisdom about ski cutting a slab gleaned from this near miss) I can't see but 10' out, when I see a crack opening just inches in front of my tips, moving slowly out in front of me as I progress. I'd never really seen this before and was caught up in watching it happen as the crack widened and shot out in front of me, disappearing into a white abyss. Sudden realization!
Below me, I could see through the white-out a huge slab, across the entire chute, slowly opening a gap (forming the crown wall, just at my uphill ski) and gaining speed.
I was lucky at this point to have my downhill ski on the ice bed-layer just exposed (faceted layer
at the crown, at the top of the chute, with no snow above me to be sympathetically triggered and take me down. I just watched that enormous slab disappear into pure whiteness. It was really quiet when it slid, not a sound really.
Sooo, although this should have been an obvious situation, objectivity failed me in the wind, so I have to say: never say never
, as sh** does most certainly happen
Ski enough storms and it will happen to you. It's the numbers, that's all.