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| | |-+  Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
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Author Topic: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident  (Read 27648 times)
Jason4
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Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #25 on: 01/29/14, 01:13 PM »

^^^^I've been thinking the same thing:  mystified by the willingness to tackle these objectives with inappropriate gear.† Does the ability to post a trip report on the net affect decision-making for these people?† Inexperience?† High risk tolerance?† Can't be just plain stupidity.† I wonder....

I went rock climbing this weekend instead of out in the snow but I was out on the 18th and 19th and found that conditions were very good for fast travel if you had experience and were quick with transitions.  They also would have been great conditions to gain experience if the route and destination were modified to reflect that.  My climbing partner and I debated between rocks or snow and if it had been snow we probably would have left the splitboards at home and just gone light with mountaineering boots/'pons.

It would have been a great time to get out with route/objectives/tools modified to reflect the conditions.
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Free your heel, free your mind.
Fix your heel, fix your problem.
- Pred, 2013
aaron_wright
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Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #26 on: 01/29/14, 05:13 PM »

Just to add one more- not altering or changing objectives in the face of sub-optimal or down right dangerous conditions, be it trying to ski the big line right after a big storm or being on a slope with minimal purchase.

I understand the draw of the outdoors, the sense of self-accomplishment of attaining the objective, all while trying to fit in in to the weather window provided and doing it under the time constraints that life throws at us. At the same time, I am sort of mystified at the number of reports of people out tackling objectives under "survival skiing" and "slide for life" or generally unfavorable conditions. When does the reward outweigh the consequence the when the risk is unnecessarily high?†
Well said. I wonder about this all the time.
People out doing things in high consequence conditions because "we made a plan" or "this is my only free time".
I'm spoiled because I can pick and choose days, but I wonder why more people don't bail or back off to a less consequential objective more often.
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patrick
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Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #27 on: 01/29/14, 06:56 PM »

I wanted to respond to burns-all-year et al, who were probably generous in searching for explanations beyond stupidity.  I hope it's helpful to parse our particular instance of stupidity. You'll have to take my word that we're not in general inexperienced, drooling idiots or red bull-slamming adrenaline junkies - rather, we fell prey to a number of heuristic traps.  Here are some that I can think of.  Don't read this as a defense - remember: "stupid." 
- Easy travel lulled us into complacency.  The slippery layer was thin and easy to plunge through, and the sliding danger just wasn't visceral.  We failed to internalize way too many warning signs of this danger.  Plus the day was almost over, we were almost down, etc, etc.
- I had total confidence in my footing pretty much the whole trip; Sarah felt less comfortable.  This confidence was, again, visceral, and I let my own comfort guide my decisions for the group.  I'm sure this wasn't the first time I've fallen into that trap.
- Casting wild accusations at my wife now, I'm guessing that she suffered from a different heuristic trap associated with being the less-experienced partner.  Perhaps she trusted my decisions too much despite her own discomfort?  (This one is clearly mainly my fault.)  And of course the average guy in her place also would have been trying to prove his manliness by silently soldiering on. 

I'm sure there are about a dozen other heuristic traps I haven't even realized we fell into.  I hereby welcome wild speculation from the community, politely asking that you take my word for it about red bull consumption and drooling. 

I've been thinking about how much safe practices are habit-based.  When avalanche danger is a concern I have extensive safety practices that I do automatically - constantly evaluating terrain and snow, well-considered rules for skiing or bailing, etc...  I just haven't developed habits for this particular danger.  It's easy to think that you'll always make good decisions - it's not like this stuff is rocket science - but when you're tired, thirsty, and experiencing whatever moods the mountains inspire, you may fail to reason it all out from first principles or even realize the danger at all.  So maybe a lesson is that when you're outside your realm of experience, pause every now and then and take stock of the dangers and probabilites.

Finally, I wanted to express my appreciation for the generally positive and substantive conversation here.  People have shared a lot of years of experience, largely without smugness or condescension.  That sort of prevailing tone made it easy to broadcast my own mistake on a public forum, and I hope others (and ideally not me) will feel comfortable doing the same in the future. 
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danpeck
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Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #28 on: 01/29/14, 09:15 PM »

This is a great conversation:  Thank you for starting it and for sharing your experience.

I think all of us overestimate our skills.  Or at least, maintain an optimistic outlook that we will know how to keep ourselves safe. 

Your story will help all of us be more carful and humble and saferÖ so THANK YOU for that.

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burns-all-year
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Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #29 on: 01/30/14, 07:52 AM »

If you're able to kick steps easily, and the slick layer is thin, I can easily imagine how you would feel safe.  Didn't mean to imply that you were stupid.  And don't dis da Red Bull:  it's a good substitute for coffee in one half of a hippy speedball!
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FAWNING ACOLYTE
water
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Posts: 74


Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #30 on: 01/30/14, 12:47 PM »

Just to add one more- not altering or changing objectives in the face of sub-optimal or down right dangerous conditions, be it trying to ski the big line right after a big storm or being on a slope with minimal purchase.

I understand the draw of the outdoors, the sense of self-accomplishment of attaining the objective, all while trying to fit in in to the weather window provided and doing it under the time constraints that life throws at us. At the same time, I am sort of mystified at the number of reports of people out tackling objectives under "survival skiing" and "slide for life" or generally unfavorable conditions. When does the reward outweigh the consequence the when the risk is unnecessarily high?†

Well said. I wonder about this all the time.
People out doing things in high consequence conditions because "we made a plan" or "this is my only free time".
I'm spoiled because I can pick and choose days, but I wonder why more people don't bail or back off to a less consequential objective more often.


One thing about that - you don't see the trip reports for the days people didn't go out, right? The amount of times I've backed off an objective or turned around shy, or entirely scrapped a climb in the face of weather or avy concerns is huge. I still have gotten out tons, but I barely post half my trips, let alone mentioning when things didn't go as planned or got scrapped due to conditions within an hour - few hours of starting, let alone the times I said, nope, I'll be in town this weekend, even though our schedules were lined up.

If its a high avy weekend and 3 TRs go up... involving 10 people total, it can certainly skew a perspective that 'people are getting out'. Likewise a tough weather/conditions day out on a mnt all it takes is seeing one group or person to shake your head and say 'what are those yahoos think they're doing??' but there are no telling how many other potential yahoos aren't there because they still had enough judgment to make a call before ever getting there.

just a thought. I certainly wonder when I see certain climbing or skiing TRsóbut really other than conditions info it always comes down to me who is the biggest advocate for my own decision making, nobody else, so.. while I lament and get frustrated when trips are cut short, primary objectives unreached, weather trashes my fixed 'weekend' time to get out, I am pretty consoled by the fact that I'm alive, happy, and the mountains aren't going anywhere.


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savegondor
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Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #31 on: 01/30/14, 01:53 PM »


One thing about that - you don't see the trip reports for the days people didn't go out, right? The amount of times I've backed off an objective or turned around shy, or entirely scrapped a climb in the face of weather or avy concerns is huge. I still have gotten out tons, but I barely post half my trips, let alone mentioning when things didn't go as planned or got scrapped due to conditions within an hour - few hours of starting, let alone the times I said, nope, I'll be in town this weekend, even though our schedules were lined up.

If its a high avy weekend and 3 TRs go up... involving 10 people total, it can certainly skew a perspective that 'people are getting out'. Likewise a tough weather/conditions day out on a mnt all it takes is seeing one group or person to shake your head and say 'what are those yahoos think they're doing??' but there are no telling how many other potential yahoos aren't there because they still had enough judgment to make a call before ever getting there.

just a thought. I certainly wonder when I see certain climbing or skiing TRsóbut really other than conditions info it always comes down to me who is the biggest advocate for my own decision making, nobody else, so.. while I lament and get frustrated when trips are cut short, primary objectives unreached, weather trashes my fixed 'weekend' time to get out, I am pretty consoled by the fact that I'm alive, happy, and the mountains aren't going anywhere.




I'm not so quick on the whole heuristic traps sort of thing.  While those certainly could have been valid mistakes so also could have been taking those extra precautions or...not.  I have chosen to slide down an ice gully before without increased protections because I judged twisting a knee in the dark in slide alder to be the greater risk as I was in a hurry to get to my car because I was getting cold and I was hungry and was not thinking strait.  In which case my decision 4 hours earlier to skip snack time on the bench was the real error in judgement, an error which cascaded to a series of ill thought out decisions. 

So, not carrying a sugar stim in your front pockets could have been the most important mistake...what WERE you thinking about at the time before the accident?
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aaron_wright
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Posts: 573


Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #32 on: 01/30/14, 02:22 PM »


One thing about that - you don't see the trip reports for the days people didn't go out, right? The amount of times I've backed off an objective or turned around shy, or entirely scrapped a climb in the face of weather or avy concerns is huge. I still have gotten out tons, but I barely post half my trips, let alone mentioning when things didn't go as planned or got scrapped due to conditions within an hour - few hours of starting, let alone the times I said, nope, I'll be in town this weekend, even though our schedules were lined up.

If its a high avy weekend and 3 TRs go up... involving 10 people total, it can certainly skew a perspective that 'people are getting out'. Likewise a tough weather/conditions day out on a mnt all it takes is seeing one group or person to shake your head and say 'what are those yahoos think they're doing??' but there are no telling how many other potential yahoos aren't there because they still had enough judgment to make a call before ever getting there.

just a thought. I certainly wonder when I see certain climbing or skiing TRsóbut really other than conditions info it always comes down to me who is the biggest advocate for my own decision making, nobody else, so.. while I lament and get frustrated when trips are cut short, primary objectives unreached, weather trashes my fixed 'weekend' time to get out, I am pretty consoled by the fact that I'm alive, happy, and the mountains aren't going anywhere.



Well I wasn't really talking about here so much as people I actually know.
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Neuro
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Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #33 on: 01/31/14, 03:41 PM »

Hey Patrick,

It's Adrian from the friendly crew of Canadians. Glad† to hear the damage to your shoulder wasn't too serious and hope you're making a quick recovery.
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zeroforhire
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Posts: 164


Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #34 on: 02/01/14, 08:41 AM »

^ Awesome of you to help out. 

Glad to hear the OP and his wife are relatively ok.  Thanks for much for sharing your experiences.  No sense being judgmental, we should all be grateful that things turned out as well as they did.
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rlsg
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Posts: 516


Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #35 on: 02/01/14, 06:39 PM »

Being good at self-belaying is soooo important!!!
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T. Eastman
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Posts: 439


Re: Jan 25-26, 2014, Baker via heliotrope and accident
« Reply #36 on: 02/07/14, 10:04 PM »

Quote
as always TEastman, who's your captain?

"This Is Your Captain Singing"† NYTIMES 2/7/14
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