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Jason_H.
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June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« on: 06/23/08, 01:29 PM »

I normally post big, glossy photos (pictures added so many can see how the snow was that day), but on this trip I won't for awhile, mainly cause I want people to read and possibly learn from one of the closest calls in my life. If bears mention that even when I think I know a lot about these mountains we live in, that I can find myself in predicaments that warrant some soul-searching. With so many close calls this year for many climbers and skiers and the interesting snowpack (different than I've had in my time in the cascades in late spring), ones certain to think about their actions more. And riding an avalanche down an unknown aspect into the fog certainly warrants pondering.

So, as I always do, I wrote a trip report about this adventure. I couldn't really think about anything else this morning while running on the drags of a few hours sleep.

Fortress Mountain, SW Face
June 22, 2008



“The one had leaves of dark green that beneath were as shining silver, and from each of his countless flowers a dew of silver light was ever falling, and the earth beneath was dappled with the shadows of his fluttering leaves.”
-JRR Tolkien


It is weird, how when life takes you up so high, you can by living it, come so close to dying. I have lived a high life and in the process had many close calls. Most I can stack up to being stupid or unlucky. On this day, during this adventure, I can say for sure this one smacks of stupidity.

Fortress Mountain lies deep in the DaKobed Range and is one of the 100 highest in Washington. Further north along the same ridge is Chiwawa Mountain. Buck Mountain and its impossible flanks and Glacier Peak whose slopes rise higher than all look at you with their faces of a million expressions, as does every mountain, near and far. On a sunny day, the view can be one of the most spectacular in the Cascades of Washington.

The drive was impractical. I had a last second decision to make. Go with my brother to Mount Daniel where I’d meet my old man. Or go to Fortress with Ryan, Sky and Corey. Somewhere deep down was this urge to see a place I hadn’t for sometime. When I was 13 or so, I’d gone to Buck Creek Pass during a 16-day hiking trip with my brothers and parents. In our circumnavigation of Glacier Peak, we’d seen many wondrous places. This one was among our favorite.

The planning was Ryan’s. He’d seen the SW Face of Buck on an earlier trip to the area and his itch to return was as infectious as my desire to see a place I had never seen snow-endowed. This year’s incredible amount of snow made a ski to this area feasible.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday

We spent the night five miles before the end of the road where the Town of Trinity rests. When the mine was abandoned the town became a casualty of the bust and boom of the industry. We caught sight of it not much time later when our 2am alarm broke the silence. It wasn’t until 3am that we were off. It wasn’t until then that I realized the length of the trip, 23 miles by our best estimates.

The first miles were on wonderful trail and the patches of snow remained patchy until 6 miles in. The snow was laid thick in places beyond there and when we came into snow barren avalanche fields we’d run the gamut through them, surely not taking the best routes, but neither were they bad ones. All in all, by the time we reached the upper snowfields, we’d made a fine run of it up to there. Choice views were at a premium as the fog and clouds swept upper cliffs and long fingers snaked down to consume us, often closing even the valley from sight.

Finally next to a massive tower of rock, the clouds parted and showed us the way. It was enough to spur me to continue, even when the earlier rain drops and dreary weather had made this a mission of futility rather than conquest. Not that any adventure is defined by either.

At a false summit in loose rocks we packed our skis up and waited for Corey, whose off the couch efforts were heroic. Meanwhile, twenty seconds of sun interspersed by those both longer and shorter tantalized us. The small windows into our place among them were infectious and seeing one fingered-summit above the clouds left me awash in wonder.

The climb to the summit was on easy rock and snow, some made much steeper by the fact that I climbed over the ridge to stay on the snow. I seemed assured that it went, but looking at photos, I may have been disillusioned. Dropping into such a face would’ve been ill-conceived, but when on a river course of such decisions, it is made more difficult to break free from the current when eddies and bends are swam by. Although this one wasn’t, others were.

We had made our way to the top via rock and snow and I wasn’t inclined to go back that way. I was sure a route went directly below us and would avoid traversing. While surely not as zealous as my earlier mention (that, I might add, was made more out of interest than actual doing), was still requiring further exploring. Our fog-encumbered summit views were far from definitive. We had been waiting for a sucker hole big enough to allow us to see enough to make a decision and to also enjoy the descent. In the end, we didn’t see enough to ski the route below us, which we imagined could be cliffed out and so agreed to ski a few hundred feet down and traverse over to our ascent route, which was not quite as steep. We had been able to skin up the entire way to the rocks, 300-ft below the summit. It was an exciting skin track!





From the summit, we followed the ridge down and then dropped from the ridge a few feet on rock. From there Sky had skied down and Ryan was waiting next to a convex slope. Below me I could see the fog and nothing else. Earlier I had seen the huge relief down to valleys, more the look of vast chasms as seen in a movie of some other place like Nepal, not Washington.

I had turned my brain off to all risk assessment. The terrain was steep, maybe 40 degrees, but not heart-clutching to say the least. The snow was new snow that had fallen a few weeks before, and was the same that I had seen remotely triggered from flat slopes (far from danger), on Mount Adams. It was assumed a week of sun had put all danger to rest, so without taking into account what was under my feet (so used to assessing danger on the way up and often shelving on the descent), I set course toward the center gut pounding turns right on top of the convex slope and proceeding to pound turns in the most abundant way I could. To a tee, I was having a blast. On a left turn, if I could’ve seen my smile, I would’ve seen it slip away into a mask of concentration, tinged I’m sure by flashes of fear and horror at what was happening. I felt then that I had made a critical error and not one I could walk away from. I could see Sky standing safely beneath a rock outcrop. I was no longer turning and yet I could see him being swiftly moved through my peripheral vision. Of course it wasn’t him moving. It was then I knew the man had come to collect. It’d had been 3 years since my last close call on Mount Baker and I’ve worked so, so hard to turn around when the danger is bad, to not go out when conditions are questionable, but often, after thinking about this on the drive home, I realized that in the spring I turn off my avalanche assessment because the danger is often limited. But this year has been an interesting one and late season snow laid on top of a wet spring base is an accident waiting to happen. My assumption that a week had been enough to bake the snow didn’t take into account that it really hasn’t been that warm, especially at 8500-ft. On top of it, the freeze/thaw cycle hasn’t been in full operation either. Temps at night weren’t always freezing and temps during the day weren’t always very high. A week then wasn’t enough to wrestle the upper layers of snow into a more compact spring-like base that we are familiar with this time of year.

In other words, now that I was in an avalanche, those allusions of control and predictability were now a matter of how and why than where I was then. In the midst as speed picked up and downward momentum set my fate to the snow’s path, I had time to consider so much more than in any other close call I’ve had before. As I fell into the fog, I was reminded of my first and only sky-diving experience. It was such a consuming fear and yet so very practical. The chute would pull and all would be safe, if it didn't then the end would be quick, painless. So was the case for me when, several hundred feet down, my greatest fear of all came to greet me...falling. In my head, as I was swept away by the rivers of snow, I thought of the cliffs that could be waiting below, some surely hundreds of feet tall. I’d seen many wet slides on hot days break off high slopes above cliffs and fall over a vertical mile to the valleys and forests far below, usually coursing where the rivers and waterfalls go. Right then I was freefalling and I couldn’t see how far, how big, what I was to land on, whether it would be jumbled boulders or ledged cliff-face or one of those giant waterfalls I’d seen lining the valleys. Would it be them? I’d hoped it wouldn’t, I really did. How could I be so lucky? I really couldn’t.

But I was.

In landing, now below the fog somewhat, I could fathom my predicament. There was a bench before another roll. Beyond that roll was theoretical, but  the valley below would entail thousands of feet and the math wasn’t good. If the others came upon this, they wouldn’t even need to bother to go down, although I know they would've. The snow was over 90 percent of the way there and and was beginning to coast over the roll, I kept my eyes open looking for any opportunity to escape. With all moving, there was none. Then, after an eternity, all was stopped, frozen in place. The fog was still drifting between blue and dominating gray. Right then, all was grey, but quickly clearing more than we’d seen all day. I let out a hoot of relief and there was no need to sequester thanks, I had it there too next to my wilting fear. Whence meeting it head on, I was quite thrilled to be walking away. Very thrilled to be alive when I had thought I was surely dead. Life has a curious mistress? She brings you up, spits you out, and sometimes you forget she could just as surely gobble you up. 





I had taken a ride for 800-ft according to Ryan’s altimeter with my beginning at the false summit of Fortress, 8,400-ft, ended approximately 800-ft lower at 7600-ft. The slab was 18-24 inches when it started, but picked up rocks and debris along the way.

My ski pole was swallowed by the avalanche and the only injury I appeared to have, were my fingers which had gripped it. Today, one finger still doesn’t have all feeling back, but a small price to pay for a second (or is that my eighth) lease on life. Hopefully I carry this one as a reminder for a long, long time to come.

The hike back was nice and rewarding. The forest and scenery along the way were truly special.




On tired feet, 17 hours after I began, we were at an end. Along the way I had a lot of time to think. The wind felt good, the water cold, the birds sounded loud, and the sun felt warm (more pleasant than usual?). Life is pretty damn good; you just have to watch your living of it. Although, as Sky said once, “If it ain’t worth dying for, then you need to find something else to do.” The mountains are certainly worth it to me, as it is to those I know. Of course, we don't want to die in them, but in order to experience nature, certain risks are assumed and can't be nullified. If you can't accept them, then you can hide under your bed, but for me, I seek more weathered places, less treaded vistas, and higher ground than most.

6/23/08 2:33pm I made several edits Smiley
« Last Edit: 06/27/08, 08:23 AM by Jason_H. » Logged

Stugie
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #1 on: 06/23/08, 02:00 PM »

I'm glad you are okay.  Wow.  Tolkien is a god of words.
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
Snow Bell
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #2 on: 06/23/08, 02:28 PM »

Thanks for the reminder Jason.  It is a careful dance that we do, those of us for whom the exposure is an essential part of the thrill.  It will again be nice to have you around.

"Scalding coffee from a freezing cup.
At the rim no telling
Which is which."
                                -Lou Hartman
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Life is going to slide by you one way or another
prestonf
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #3 on: 06/23/08, 02:34 PM »

"Security is mostly a superstition.  It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.  Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.  Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
-Helen Keller

Glad you were able to hike out.

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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #4 on: 06/23/08, 02:38 PM »

Two viewpoints:

"No mountain is worth as much as one's life." --Walter Bonatti

"If it ain’t worth dying for, then you need to find something else to do." --Sky Sjue

Which will you choose?

----

I'm glad you're okay, Jason.
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alpentalcorey
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #5 on: 06/23/08, 03:00 PM »

Well, I think that Sky's quote is taken out of context and does not represent an accurate nor complete portrayal of his "viewpoint".  Just wanted to get that out there.

All that said, it's impossible to not ask one's self some questions after trip like this, and I'm sort of in the process of doing that right now.

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Jason_H.
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #6 on: 06/23/08, 03:06 PM »

Two viewpoints:

"No mountain is worth as much as one's life." --Walter Bonatti

"If it ain’t worth dying for, then you need to find something else to do." --Sky Sjue

Which will you choose?

----

I'm glad you're okay, Jason.


It's hard to take his quote out of context lowell as I did somewhat. I agree with his philosophy and consider him one of the safest mountaineers out there. None of us think the mountains are worth dying for (sky, you, me). I think you were unfair in showing two viewpoints in that you assume you know Sky's.
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Marcus
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #7 on: 06/23/08, 03:14 PM »

It was pretty easy to take it the way Lowell did, out of context -- I did, for one.  I'm not surprised to hear that Sky's philosophy isn't that extreme... 

Anyway, glad you're okay and look forward to seeing the pictures when you feel it's time to share them.
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Jason_H.
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #8 on: 06/23/08, 03:20 PM »

You're right Marcus. I was making edits throughout and maybe my last one wasn't read? If so, sorry Lowell, but I just think Sky often gets a bad rap (and I could be wrong) because he does technically challenging climbs and descents that are beyond most our capabilities and/or assumption of risk. But I must say, that dude is smart in the mountains. He certainly wouldn't be getting his PHD in Nuclear Physics in a month if he weren't smart as hell. That same drive and intelligence is seen in the mountains.
« Last Edit: 06/23/08, 03:31 PM by Jason_H. » Logged

Marcus
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #9 on: 06/23/08, 03:25 PM »

Sky's ridiculous -- we actually spoke a bit about him this weekend at the Crystal search.  I think I said "I read his reports and say 'wow, that's uhh.. man, no thanks, but that's awesome'"  Everyone's limits are their own, for sure, and I don't think he would pull off the stuff he does so regularly if he wasn't pretty safe overall.

But yeah, hadn't read the most recent edits -- that softens the remark a bit.
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Jason_H.
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #10 on: 06/23/08, 03:33 PM »

Ha. Ha. It's all good. I'm just glad to be here.
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skykilo
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #11 on: 06/23/08, 03:33 PM »

Just a few comments.

One of the main ideas behind that quote, for me, is that death is always there with us.  It's an integral part of life.  Sometimes it's easy to look for that happy place, be it a "reasonable" trip or a "safe" powder stash, then forget about what's always waiting.  The quote, as much of an absurd atrocity as it may seem to some, is about living life with consciousness and conviciton.  When it's in my face I don't forget about it.

I like both quotes.  They're two sides of the same coin.  Somebody needs to put some salt in the cake batter, or it won't taste right.

And Jason, you already know that I have a lot of love for you and I'm glad you're all right.  Maybe next time try to be more like that scared pansy of a rando skier who was waiting below you: timidly cut the slope through the convexity and run for cover.
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Jason_H.
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #12 on: 06/23/08, 03:42 PM »

Trust me, I thought about that on the way down Sky. I wasn't very smart. Not at all. I just came busting down the slope like indiana jones. I can't believe I did it looking back. But a million rights doesn't make one wrong any less costly.
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David_Coleman
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #13 on: 06/23/08, 03:49 PM »

See Jason - Like I told you  last weekend when were talking about this stuff, it's just not your time!  SOMEONE somewhere is waiting for you to do something special.    Cool

So, did you and others get to ski anything? 

Glad you're o.k.
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Stugie
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #14 on: 06/23/08, 03:58 PM »

I think you were unfair in showing two viewpoints in that you assume you know Sky's.

An unfair assessment given you presented the context and stated the original quote.

I took it the same way - however, quotes aside, your harrowing experience is I think, a reminder to all of how we reason after an event as such.  In light of this past weekend, it makes me realize the spectrum in which our common passion lies.  Andy wisely said (and the quote is probably not accurate), "that one side is the bluebird, waist deep cold smoke, with faceshots all day - and the other end of the spectrum..."  - need not be stated, we all know what is implied.  The harrowing end at one side is the same for all of us, but the other end of the spectrum is never-ending.  When people hear about what it is I like to do in my freetime and I tell them, it is often met by a "Wow!  That's crazy extreme!" to which I reply  Huh as I consider myself to lie only in the middle.  In my mind, I see you and Sky as having TR's that reflect what I feel I would love to be able to accomplish, but it is too far on one end for me to attain that level right now.  You guys bring inspiration to our community and amazing pictures and experience.  I respect your level of passion for the mountains and what we all share as livelyhood.  As you stated,
...in order to experience nature, certain risks are assumed and can't be nullified. If you can't accept them, they you can hide under your bed, but for me, I seek more weathered places, less treaded vistas, and higher ground than most.
You guys are inspiration.  You push limits.  You suceed where many of us wish we could, or only dream about doing.  Whether or not you guys see yourselves this way or not is irrelevant.  You are there.  So I now return to a couple of quotes - and also want to say that this was written in pure respect for you and Sky - no disrespect is intended whatsoever.

"Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible." - George Burns
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"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
Jason_H.
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #15 on: 06/23/08, 04:40 PM »

Thanks everyone and nice words Stugie, and sorry lowell if I came off a little strong. Would've softened that had I read it through before posting. Half the posts I ever write are erased and half the ones I make I shouldn't have been made. Ha. What do you do? We're all friends here on TAY and many of us know eachother. We can afford to have better discussions that way. That's why I posted this story here. I wouldn't be inclined to anywhere else.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #16 on: 06/23/08, 05:39 PM »

Thanks, Jason and Sky, for clarifying the quote somewhat.

I don't have any problem with what you said Jason. Or, at least, I'm not angered or offended by it. On the other hand, I feel that juxtaposing those two quotes was fair based on the context in which you used the second quote. I knew my reply was going to be controversial, but I felt it was necessary to get some discussion and clarification.

As I'm sure you know, I am squarely in the Bonatti camp on this subject. Sky's explanation was helpful, but not convincing for me. I've done a fair amount of challenging mountaineering, including some that was dangerous, but I've always considered danger a negative aspect, not a positive aspect. When it seems that danger for its own sake is being justified, I'm going to start asking questions.

From what you've said, it appears that Sky's quote is intended to have a subtle meaning. In this case I would suggest that it was you who used it out of context.

Quote
Although, as Sky said once, “If it ain’t worth dying for, then you need to find something else to do.” The mountains are certainly worth it to me, as it is to those I know. Of course, we don't want to die in them, but in order to experience nature, certain risks are assumed and can't be nullified.

You said, "The mountains are certainly worth it to me, as it is to those I know." In this context, you are saying that the mountains are worth dying for. That's the plain meaning of your words. You follow this by saying that you don't want to die in them, but that doesn't change the meaning you've already conveyed.

My approach to this topic is to acknowledge that mountaineering entails risk. Mountains are not worth dying for, but the experiences they offer are worth a certain amount of risk. That begs the question: How much risk are they worth? You imply a black and white choice: between hiding under your bed or going to extremes. There are other choices.
« Last Edit: 06/23/08, 06:51 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
ryanl
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #17 on: 06/23/08, 08:51 PM »

I wasn't going to say anything but feel the need to after having read all the posts.

First, i want to clarify something. I'm sure Jason would be the first to admit that he made some errors in getting caught in the slide. Unfortunately, though, it seems that his choice of words in describing his thoughts has painted his partner(s) in (perhaps) an unfavorable light. I don't think we were reckless in our descent. Sky and I both skied to the spot that slide and had a brief conversation. I  asked his opinion on stability because the snow felt alarmingly familiar to what I got caught in last weekend. He agreed, and decided to ski cut the slop BELOW the roll. When nothing significant went, he skied quickly to a safe spot below and behind some rocks. I stayed where I was when Jason started to ski because I too was in a safety spot, and was intending to leap frog our descent. For the reasons that Jason gave, he decided to drop in full go right over top the roll. AS soon as he got even with me, his speed and force triggered the slide. I watched him fight it, and then get swept out of sight into the fog and over the cliff band below.

Having said that I want to say a few things on behalf of Sky, who is the LAST person on earth who needs someone speaking on his behalf. He and I have talked at length about the ideas behind the quote that Jason attributed to him.   To say if it 'aint worth dying for then you shouldn't be doing it isn't a call to look outwards for danger. As I understand it, and believe, it's a call to look inwards at what you're doing with your life. Feeling strongly enough about something that you're willing to die for it only means that were you to die at the instant you were doing whatever "it" happens to be, you'd die content and without regrets. Sky may or may not agree with this. But it's what I believe, I ski and climb with Sky, and I can say without hesitation that I'd trust Sky with my life. He's an OK guy, too.

And one last note- for the last time Jason, my name is "Ryan" not "Eric" Wink
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alpentalcorey
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #18 on: 06/23/08, 10:06 PM »

also, if you end up doing any more editing, change the part in bold that reads "Friday and Saturday" to "Saturday and Sunday"
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #19 on: 06/23/08, 11:20 PM »

To say if it 'aint worth dying for then you shouldn't be doing it isn't a call to look outwards for danger. As I understand it, and believe, it's a call to look inwards at what you're doing with your life. Feeling strongly enough about something that you're willing to die for it only means that were you to die at the instant you were doing whatever "it" happens to be, you'd die content and without regrets. Sky may or may not agree with this.

Thanks for giving such a thoughtful reply, Ryan. I understand that this is your interpretation and belief, not necessarily anyone else's. Your explanation puts a nice shading on the idea, but to my mind it really doesn't change the meaning. If you really believe this and you continue skiing, then you have decided that skiing is worth dying for. Not merely that there is an acceptable risk/reward balance, but that you'd have no regrets if you paid the ultimate price.

This is fundamentally different from the way I feel about skiing and other sports. I have always felt that if I died skiing or mountaineering, I f****d up , and none of my surviving family and friends should pretend otherwise. "He died doing what he loved" doesn't resonate with me. I love doing lots of things and I wouldn't be content to die doing most of them.

I totally agree with devoting yourself strongly to what you enjoy. "Follow your bliss," as Joseph Campbell liked to say. But couching it in terms of being worth dying for is a big step toward fatalism.

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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #20 on: 06/24/08, 12:16 AM »

Thank you for sharing, Jason. I think that particular weak layer has surprised many of us, particularly with its resistance to consolidation, thankfully without any apparent great harm. I'm very glad to hear that you're ok, and hope to extract a little wisdom from your tale.

As for the risk/reward discussion that's brewing, I'll just chip in that backcountry skiing/ski mountaineering has challenged me to think in new and deeper ways about death and life. The thoughts have seemed enlightening.
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alpentalcorey
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #21 on: 06/24/08, 06:45 AM »

I love doing lots of things and I wouldn't be content to die doing most of them.

Lowell, this part struck me a bit as I read it and I wanted to respectfully ask if by use of the word "most" you are at all saying that there are things you love doing, however few, that you would be content to die doing?  If stating something in terms of dying is a big step toward fatalism, is "most but not all" not at least a little step toward the other side of the argument?  If it's just word choice/semantics then I would withdraw the question, just want to further the discussion.

But you know what?  When I ask myself the same question, the ONLY thing I love that I would be content to die doing would be protecting my family, friends, or other innocent people from mortal danger.  I think this trip has crystalized some ideas that have been floating around in my head.  I think it is time for me to find ways to lower the risks that I take, and it's time for me to start having a family and sharing my love for skiing & mountains with children.  I believe this will ultimately bring the greatest satisfaction.  For the most part I do not believe that the risks I have taken were excessive and I must admit that the rewards have been phenomenal.  I just think I need to find ways to shave a little off the edges.

Basically, I'm 34 and it's time to think a little less about being "rad" and a little more about being "dad".

Maybe it's also time for me to do some trips with easier approaches.   Wink





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Woz
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #22 on: 06/24/08, 07:54 AM »

I am staying clear of the philosophical direction this thread has taken.  I am just confirming that these conditions appear to be widespread and not-yet-stabilized.  Mike and I got back last night from a great 3-day tour in Van Trump Park (MRNP) and witnessed several slabs triggered by sun warming, minor rockfall, and cornice failure.  Shooting cracks and 3-5 foot slabs were the norm, and convex "rollies" seemed to be the worst offenders.  The larger slabs were about 1/4 mile across and ran for severl hundred vertical, entraining lots o' debris on the way.  I'll try to post some photos once Mike sends them to me.  The coming warm weekend should further stabilize, just don't be in the way! 

Great tour up there, by the way.  Snow within a mile of the TH and some exciting crack-jumping and mulch skiing (what do you call skiing the trees with a 8-foot snowpack and the snow surface barely visible with all the branches, lichen and duff??).
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #23 on: 06/24/08, 07:56 AM »

Lowell, this part struck me a bit as I read it and I wanted to respectfully ask if by use of the word "most" you are at all saying that there are things you love doing, however few, that you would be content to die doing?  If stating something in terms of dying is a big step toward fatalism, is "most but not all" not at least a little step toward the other side of the argument?  If it's just word choice/semantics then I would withdraw the question, just want to further the discussion.

But you know what?  When I ask myself the same question, the ONLY thing I love that I would be content to die doing would be protecting my family, friends, or other innocent people from mortal danger.  I think this trip has crystalized some ideas that have been floating around in my head.  I think it is time for me to find ways to lower the risks that I take, and it's time for me to start having a family and sharing my love for skiing & mountains with children.  I believe this will ultimately bring the greatest satisfaction.  For the most part I do not believe that the risks I have taken were excessive and I must admit that the rewards have been phenomenal.  I just think I need to find ways to shave a little off the edges.

Basically, I'm 34 and it's time to think a little less about being "rad" and a little more about being "dad".

Maybe it's also time for me to do some trips with easier approaches.   Wink

Thanks for your post, Corey. As a matter of fact, when I was composing my post I included the same exception you mentioned--protecting somebody else. That's the only thing I would be content to die for. I removed it from the post because it felt a little too preachy. But that's it.
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Joedabaker
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Re: June 22, 2008 Fortress Mountain, SW Face
« Reply #24 on: 06/24/08, 08:00 AM »

(what do you call skiing the trees with a 8-foot snowpack and the snow surface barely visible with all the branches, lichen and duff??).
Good uphill traction.

Basically, I'm 34 and it's time to think a little less about being "rad" and a little more about being "dad".

Maybe it's also time for me to do some trips with easier approaches.   Wink
I have been fortunate to survive all the mistakes I have made in the mountains, I may not have been as "Rad" as others, but survival/health instincts said let go of the need to be fastest, first and greedy with the pow. Somehow I am at greater peace and have much more fun.
It is great that there are those who risk it all, I know that if I have the opportunity to live another 40 years the authors of those reports will generally not be the same, but there will always be those who take extended chances.
« Last Edit: 06/24/08, 08:15 AM by Joedabaker » Logged
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