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  • Words of Wisdom

    http://www.backcountry.com/explore/socratic-goggles

    This guy has learned something after a "come to Jesus" experience.
    Yay!...(Drool)



  • #2
    I just finished Trempers Staying alive in avalanche terrain book. The most obvious take away was how humble he was and how he frequently second guesses what he knows or what risks he is willing to take.

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    • #3
      If you knew for certain that something would kill you, would you stop doing it?

      I stopped riding road bikes in 2005 after a friend almost died of a MI from a chest impact with a POV.

      I gave up motorcycles in 1988, one near death experience wasn't enough, so I had a couple more and finally got the message.

      I gave up steep creek kayaking in 2004 after a couple too many close calls, I decided my new family was more important than adrenaline.

      Over the years I have walked a few places where I could have rode, skipped a few rapids that I could have paddled, and used a rope where it was really "needed".

      The real question isn't about what you know, but whether you make the right decisions when they count most.

      In all of my close calls with death, each of them could have been my end, but they weren't. I'd say that luck is a double edged sword, it only works when your lucky.

      I get more cautious as I get older, I think it's wisdom, I suppose it could be fear, but I still do plenty of stupid pet tricks, just now they are with helmets, above water, and closer to the ground.

      I certainly wouldn't risk my wife or children in any of my stupid adventures.

      And even Jesus doesn't care that you tele

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      • #4
        Yup, the author sums it up pretty darned well...

        ... the hill doesn't care how much you think you know.

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        • #5
          There was a thread on TTips, many, many moons ago, about Ski Safely and Leave Your Beacon at Home.

          It's one level of stupidity to think that you can accurately assess when a slope presents a manageable risk of avalanching. (As opposed to minimal risk. It's pretty easy to assess danger if you are risk averse; it's when you try to manage risk that you get into trouble.)

          However, it's a whole new level of stupidity to think that skiing with a beacon makes it safe.

          A beacon is not analogous to a seat belt or (automotive) air bags. They simply do not provide the same degree of risk avoidance. As to ski air bags, I don't know.

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          • #6
            I took my first avy class from a "pro" at the community college extension at Truckee HS around 1984, it was a semester long course combining field work and class work, lots of scenarios, working on group think, etc...

            One of the scenarios involved traveling with a group up a valley during heavy snowfall to ski a remote ridge, on the return trip back down the valley, it's getting late and dark, you can "hear" the slides going off on all sides, you have to decide what to do:

            Out of twenty students, only one choose the best answer:

            "Hunker down and wait for morning".

            Of course the best answer really was to have never gone at all based on the weather report and terrain ...

            The problem with all this talk is that simply by choosing to do what we do, we are taking a risk that could kill us, much of life is like this, but we only get one mistake and it's over. Improved gear and access are making it easier to make that mistake. Glorifying extreme skiing and having younger skiiers with less experience is probably bumping that risk, but really it seems like most of the folks making the mistakes are seasoned.

            How many folks die from hitting trees/poles ect... each year? Is that number less or more than the number killed in avys?

            The signboard over the interstate this morning said there had been 873 motor vehicle related fatalities so far in 2013.

            However, it's a whole new level of stupidity to think that skiing with a beacon makes it safe.
            My wife calls my beacon an electronic dog tag.
            Last edited by Nurse Ben; 20 December 2013, 07:18 AM.

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            • #7
              Dug a pit on Monday and It's going to be a long scary season unless we get more bonding. Cut a block and it released at 14-15" down and at ground where there was several inches of rotten sugar. Be safe and smart.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by teledance View Post
                Dug a pit on Monday and It's going to be a long scary season unless we get more bonding. Cut a block and it released at 14-15" down and at ground where there was several inches of rotten sugar. Be safe and smart.
                Hey..... you weren't in Colorado diggin' that pit, were you?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Nurse Ben View Post
                  The problem with all this talk is that simply by choosing to do what we do, we are taking a risk that could kill us, much of life is like this, but we only get one mistake and it's over.
                  Many extreme skiers understand, acknowledge and accept this risk. It makes for some good films.

                  Our culture is risk-adverse...indeed some people (like ambulance chasing lawyers) take the view that if you are injured then someone else has screwed up. In earlier days, it was not considered odd to take (what we consider) big risks for one's fame or fortune or just because one wanted excitement.

                  But our culture has changed. Risk-taking is discouraged and many safeguards reduce risk.

                  The tragedy comes when people who do not understand the risk start taking it.

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                  • #10
                    My method is to approach a suspect slope with the mindset of "it's unsafe" and "I'm not going to ski it", and then find positive reasons why it is safe. The opposite approach makes it too easy for confirmation bias to impact decision making. Because: "I don't know sh*t"!!!!

                    This approach frustrates my more goal-oriented friends, but I feel it makes more sense in terms of safety.
                    Last edited by BillyFromTheHills; 20 December 2013, 09:22 AM.
                    Yay!...(Drool)


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by teledance View Post
                      Dug a pit on Monday and It's going to be a long scary season unless we get more bonding. Cut a block and it released at 14-15" down and at ground where there was several inches of rotten sugar. Be safe and smart.
                      Thanks for that info, TD...
                      Yay!...(Drool)


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                      • #12
                        Try going into a tour with a hypothesis. Label slopes in your run list green, yellow, or red and have specific reasons for why you chose those respective labels. You can use the daily bulletin and any other information you have available to support your hypotheses. When you get out there, find ways to test your hypotheses using observations, tests, everything you see, hear, and feel. You don't always need to dig pits in this methodology, but--in Colorado for sure--pits do usually provide a lot of learning, especially with regard to evidence in support of the unsafe hypotheses.
                        • Identify lines in your run list that are relatively safer than the most tempting lines.
                        • Look at what is above and below you at every point along the lines on your run list.
                        • Give yourself a range of options.
                        • Recognize uncertainty and practice dialing back your risk as uncertainty increases.

                        Be disciplined in your application of this process and always take away some lessons learned. Every day.

                        IF YOU LABEL A SLOPE RED BEFORE YOUR TOUR, YOU DO NOT CHANGE IT AFTER YOU GET OUT THERE. You evaluate your hypotheses and can change towards red but not towards green. Remember, its a life long learning process, not a risk homeostasis device to enable instant gratification.

                        A really important skill is identifying the safest line to ski on a particular slope and then actually skiing that line without falling and without veering off line into less safe terrain. If you can't do that, you are not ready to enter avalanche terrain at all. But if you can do that, it doesn't give you carte blanche in avalanche terrain. It's a very difficult thing to ski avalanche terrain with your brain fully engaged. Yes, you have to physically be able to ski at a very high level. But you also have to be disciplined in your analytic approach to decision making. And even then you are still human and can **** it up in a split second.

                        If you have no stomach for the risk, stay out of avalanche terrain. Even that is not as simple as it sounds. You need to be able to recognize avalanche terrain if you want to avoid it.

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                        • #13
                          Cesare, excellent description!

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                          • #14
                            Given my rare exposure to avy terrain, it is my preference to learn from folks with Cesare's methodology. This is a large part of the consideration. In most groups, my avy eperience level relegates me to status of poodle.
                            DJLMWHWYG

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