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Thread: Avalanche Danger

  1. #1
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Exclamation Avalanche Danger

    Authorities that are responsible for both Hatcher Pass and Turnagain Pass are reporting severe avalanche danger this weekend. The Daily News has this story explaining the overall conditions. You can always get up-to-date reports on Turnagain Pass and the Kenai Mountains from this National Forest Service avalanche forecast site.

    Be careful this weekend, fellas. I made a run up on Highland Road in Eagle River tonight after work. It was fine up there, but that's because I skied a line that is usually windswept - the snow was only about a foot deep and was bonded to the ground. Deeper snow has a lot of weak layers in it right now, and it's just not worth the risk if you aren't trained in avalanche safety.

    Travel with a partner, carry a beacon, shovel, and a probe, and avoid danger zones such as roll-overs and gullies. Scary stuff this weekend - be wise.

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    Right after posting this I read this report about an avalanche rescue in Turnagain Pass going on right now.

  3. #3
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Now reporting 3 dead after 45 minutes buried. That pass has claimed a lot of lives in recent years. And it isn't picky; it will take skiers, snowmobiles, cars, and even dogs. If they rated that area like whitewater, it would be a 5 and only the experts would try it.
    Winter is Coming...

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Looks like they've updated the count to two victims. Still horribly sad for the families of those involved.

  5. #5
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Must read

    Speaking of "class 5 experts", consider the apparent riding skill level of the victims in this case.

    http://www.adn.com/news/alaska/ap_al...ry/318101.html
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  6. #6
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Man, the quote that stands out from that article is this one:

    "He was really the prototypical invincible person who could do anything and do it well," said von Alvensleben's older brother, Johannes, who was reached at the family home. "He might get hurt. But nothing bad would really happen to him. Not avalanches. Avalanches are something that happen to other people, not us."

  7. #7
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Yep, that's what really got to me in that article. Couple that statement with, "they were not stupid riders" and "these were not weekend warriors" and similar holier-than-thou comments made by family and friends. It seems quite clear that ego and delusions of invincibility are exactly what got these guys.

    Yes, they had avalanche gear, but they didn't have the mindset of survival. Sometimes fear is your best friend. I've been in situations where the hair on the back of my neck stood up and that little voice says, "you shouldn't be here". I listen to it and I've changed course many times because of it, whether it be snowmachining in a certain area, boating a certain body of water, hiking a backwoods trail, or even walking down a particular sidewalk in the city. Listen to the voice.
    Winter is Coming...

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  8. #8
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    Yes, they had avalanche gear, but they didn't have the mindset of survival.
    I know what you're talking about. I used to have a pretty ingrained sense of invincibility in the mountains. I really thought that nothing serious would happen to me, much like what was said of these guys. Thankfully, that has changed. The first time was when I was climbing up towards a black bear in mid October as the light was fading, the temperature dropping, and my feet were slipping with every step on rotting vegetation that was slick as grease. It was the first fall of serious courtship with the woman who would become my wife, and I realized that I was no longer responsible only to myself. I turned back and let that bear live for another day. For about 15 minutes I second-guessed myself, but since that day I think I have made a habit of making wiser decisions. I don't ski as often as I would like to these days, as I often have a hard time connecting with a partner who is smart in the backcountry. I'll only go alone when I know the conditions are completely safe, and when going with someone I still remain cautious.

    Such a sad situation, but 100% avoidable.

  9. #9
    Member Bushpilot's Avatar
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    Default One recovered

    Looks like there buddies went in and recovered one of the bodies.
    http://www.adn.com/front/story/321413.html
    I refuse to tiptoe through life, only to arrive safely at death.


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