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Author Topic: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')  (Read 40174 times)
MW88888888
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December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« on: 12/09/05, 03:28 AM »

Day 12
12-8-5
Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278)
Vertical skied: 3,178
17 degrees and 50" base at 3,100.

ydeQEr9zcruq3awxzIYl5bWQ8vrrogCU6FGFg9cg Y2jJs/snow%20lake%20to%20chair.JPG" alt="" border="0" />

I had to come back for more.  On Wednesday, 12-7-05, I had climbed up to 5,400' on Snoqualmie mtn, and then the 8 am bell rang and I had to go back to the car.  The snow was 4 days old, but the cold temps had kept it a fresh foot on top of a good base.  It was soooo good.  I had to go back, and this time I would be more prepared.  I left my house at 4:45 am, backpack packed.  I was ready for a summit bid.

Well, kind of.  At 5:15 am I left the lot and realized 300 vertical feet up the mtn that my nalgene full of coffee was still in my car.  Conditions were crystal clear, the route paved ahead and I was loath to turn around.  I pulled up next to a small, convenient waterfall near the trail and had filled my belly with mystery water flowing from the ground.  It was very good.  I hope I don't die, I mused, and I continued up the trail, belly sloshing from overfill.  For the rest of the trip I scoop handfuls of snow and let them melt in my mouth.  I have plenty of granola bars but without water they are very unappetizing.  I stomach two on the whole trip, but adrenaline and cheer fuel me for the duration.  That and powder snow.

As the morning darkness draws to a close and the stars begin to go out, the red and orange dawn brightens the snow-filled world.  Then suddenly: BOOM! from across the valley.  BOOM! again, and I scan the horizon.  I can see the cars on I-90 are all stopped and realize the planned Avy control work has begun.  I feel very exposed on the open slopes of the mountain, as if the next round will explode at my feet as they do work on Snoqualmie mountain.  But this is folly.  I can here work being done on ALpental as well and no shots would be fired my way.  I hoped.

I plodded on, the skin track I had been following disappearing in fresh wind drift from time to time and I reach my previous day's highpoint.  I feel kind of bad about plodding up the skin track, but my actions are covered under many codes of the Skier's Bill of Rights, including: I) I am solo, so the fastest, safest route is the only option. II) Does a snowshoe destroy the skin track for good?  If no, then continue, III) First man up the hill gets to decide which trail is for snowshoes and which for skiers IV) I must keep close to the trail everyone will be using (if anyone ever shows up, that is), because of I), so stick to the trail already set.  Conscience clean, I sweep into the final summit snowfields.  The two skiers who set the track went down the Slot Couloir (and reported slim conditions, but ski able) so the upper snowfields are virgin powder fields.  The wind has affected the snow a little more than Wednesday, but the upper foot is still untracked delight.

I summit at exactly 8 am in the spectacle of a clear sky blemished by only red and orange streaks and the show of the Chair Peak chain across from me reflecting the horizon's good cheer.  Only Sky and Telemon's tracks leave from the small summit peak and I follow them down into the trees.  Soon enough I'm into the untracked sections and am dancing in the open snowfields, throwing powder left and right.  The pack is not the 100" I'm used to and I take a core shot near a rock band - thank goodness I waxed up the "C" board for this trip.  I make good but cautious time down the upper fields and enjoy my favorite section in the slanting dawn light, laying a second set of turns next to the ones from Wednesday.

Further into Bailout Glades the tricky sections near the lower cliffs are still dicey exploits with 50" base, and I'm once again glad for the "C" board.  I try a new way and am rewarded with nice turns down the final forest glens.  I make it back to the car at 8:40 am and am on the road to work.  5,500 VF of powder skiing mid-week.  

In the past two days of Dawn Patrols I have seen no one until I get back to the parking lot, ironically busy as people prepare to ski Alpental.  No one is the wiser.  

Skiing a big peak solo?  Foolish?  For sure.  I really should stop doing that.  I really should.  But then again, I should stop driving my car.  Oh well, this, too, is a reality I am at peace with.
« Last Edit: 12/09/05, 10:09 AM by MW88888888 » Logged
Randy
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #1 on: 12/09/05, 05:47 AM »

Stylish -- glad you didn't get nailed by the Avy barrage.

FWIW -- It's possible to check with the Alpental Ski Patrol about whether they plan to shell Snoqualime Mtn.  Probably a generally good idea to meet and greet the Alpental Pro Patrollers anyway if you plan on doing much touring in the Alpental area -- even if you never plan on buying a ticket.
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jt
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #2 on: 12/09/05, 05:56 AM »

I've got snow envy. We missed the good stuff on Red Mt.'s west face by about an hour and a half or so. Should've been up before the crack of dawn or bailed early and got it while the getting was good.
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jt
Jim Oker
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #3 on: 12/09/05, 07:25 AM »

Hmm, if driving your car is this dangerous, I don't want to be your passenger. Lessee - along on avy path during control work w/no water. Poetic words notwithstanding, that seems sketchy.
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wolfs
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #4 on: 12/09/05, 08:44 AM »

The Phantom itself has never really concerned me in anything but the most extreme conditions. It's the product of what literally is a hundred-year slide that isn't likely to just happen on some random backcountry day, and it's since grown back enough little trees to provide at least some anchoring.
The upper slopes do make me a little more nervous though, especially when they get a little cliff constrained. While overlooking from Alpy I've been eyeing a line recently that basically goes up the Phantom path but then once around 4700 traverses in larger trees to meet the shoulder the summer route is on, which might provide less objective hazard for the ascent. Definitely longer though, has anyone ever tried it?
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Aaron_Riggs
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #5 on: 12/09/05, 09:01 AM »

If you're talking about the shoulder on the looker's left, way up above the Phantom, I've been up (and down) that route lots of times. I go up the Snow Lake trail maybe a 1/4 mile and then turn right and basically tour up through the trees all the way to where it opens up around 5k. The bottom part is always the toughest because it's so steep, but then you can just hug the tree line all the way up. It's a good objective if you're not going up to the true summit but want to run laps on the upper ridge (looker's left.)
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MW88888888
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #6 on: 12/09/05, 10:56 AM »

Jim - all very valid concerns.  Luckily all signals were green or I would have bailed. 1. no water - on wed I needed little b/c of cold. prior knowledge of conditions - green.  2. in avy paths - not really.  most of that was all in my head, but tantilizing, isn't it?  Skiing isn't gin rummy 3. I'm a pretty safe driver, but being in a car isn't like playing gin rummy either, is it? 4. avy danger looked pretty good when I timed it.  again the training run on wed helped a lot in making the decision to go despite my setbacks.    
« Last Edit: 12/09/05, 11:04 AM by MW88888888 » Logged
Tony_Bentley
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #7 on: 12/10/05, 03:37 PM »

You shouldn't feel any guilt. I think the guilt was felt  when the trail was being made and only the trailblazers around to enjoy the goods.
« Last Edit: 12/10/05, 03:39 PM by crackbolter » Logged
TeleRoss
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #8 on: 12/11/05, 07:24 AM »

Quote

Skiing a big peak solo?  Foolish?  For sure.  


When did Snoqualmie Mtn. become a "big peak"
Huh
haahahahahhahahahahahaha
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Paul Belitz
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #9 on: 12/11/05, 07:53 AM »

OMG you went for a two hour tour without water.

OMG you went up a densely treed mountain in low avalanche conditions, alone!

OMG you were across the valley from a ski area where patrol was dropping bombs.

OMG I'll never ski with YOU!

C'mon folks, sounds plenty reasonable to me.

Nice writeup, MW, I enjoyed it.
« Last Edit: 12/11/05, 08:10 AM by pbelitz » Logged
powscraper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #10 on: 12/11/05, 09:14 AM »

I thought this kind of crazy stuff only happened in Colorado.  This guy must be some kind of Rocky Mountain Badass coming to poach all our big lines, while the rest of us cower in our basements digging pits in our mashed potatoes, and the ski areas try to explode away all of last year's losses with their surplus ordinance.
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Jim Oker
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #11 on: 12/11/05, 09:38 AM »

I guess it may come off as wimpy geekdom to the true hard men out there to point out that people may reasonably draw the line differently on risks. Nevertheless, since there are also newbies reading the boards and likely taking inspiration from them, I'm willing to come off that way now and then.

Paul - you likely have learned that skiable trees are little protection from slides, and in fact provide an excellent "puree" function for bodies, unlike open slopes where you may have the good fortune of not suffering trama beyond the churn and suffocation before your hopefully unburied and non-imaginary partners can dig you out. I read of a guided heli group in "safe" Selkirks trees they'd skied for years that was turned to small body parts. Of course, the Phantom is pretty open and continuous, with nice cliff drops and other impact hazards in case of a slide. Risk level is just one question - consequence of being wrong is another. "What would happen if I were on a slide on this slope - how deep will the snow pile, what kind of terrain would I be swept through?" Asking these sorts of questions was one of the most memorable lessons I took away from Gary Brill's level 1 class several years back.

A few years back, I recall reading about some folks caught in a slide on Snoqualmie, in conditions that I think weren't rated much more hazardous than the past few days. I think the report was unclear on location - I'd imagined it being around the bend closer toward Lundin, but am not sure.

Paul - nice work on cycling the peak in 2 hours - I am clearly not worthy.
« Last Edit: 12/11/05, 09:43 AM by jim_oker » Logged
Meadow_Skipper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #12 on: 12/11/05, 02:14 PM »

Coffee in the backcountry is very European. Nice style. Nice TR.
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THE_MAN
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #13 on: 12/11/05, 03:46 PM »

Hey MW8888, I thought I was THE MAN around here.  Welcome to the big boys club, Stanley!
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Charles
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #14 on: 12/12/05, 05:02 AM »

It seemed like there was a pretty good discussion going on here, and I'm not sure what the point is of the later sarcastic posts. In his first post Jim raised some good questions. MW88888888 acknowledged this and outlined his thinking. All very useful even if one does not think that a 3000+ foot run qualifies as a big peak, and I don't think that anyone here should have to try to justify raising the questions Jim did. Unfortunately, as we have been recently reminded, people get injured and die playing on the snow in the Alpental valley.

Quote
...there are also newbies reading the boards and likely taking inspiration from them.

This is a fact that is sometimes easy to forget. This forum is available for viewing to everyone on the internet, and not all of our visitors have extensive backcountry experience (or even much at all). Isn't it in the best interest of the backcountry skiing community as a whole to discuss issues like the ones Jim raised?
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MW88888888
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #15 on: 12/12/05, 05:44 AM »

Yes, Charles, I agree, these questions are very helpful for people to ask.  I applaud Jim for raising the questions that were in my head as well, because it may not seem like it from my TR, but the decision to go on was a challenging one.  I won't go into the details on how I came to accept the challenge and go for it, but I did weigh the risks.  I was comfortable with my decision.  Still am.  I have a two-year-old daughter that needs my support.  And dieing in an avalanche is very low on my to-do list.  That, and dieing in a tree well, or broken femur, or - geeesh, don't get me started.
« Last Edit: 12/12/05, 05:45 AM by MW88888888 » Logged
watsonskipsmith
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #16 on: 12/12/05, 06:12 AM »

good discussion! thanks to all for reviewing the issues i was wondering about after reading this report!

these were the features that jumped out at me after reading MW8888's solo adventure:

snow 4 days old
cold temps
fresh foot on good base

"simply had to go back"

forgot water (coffee)

avalance control in the valley

some evidence of wind activity near summit slopes

"i really should stop doing that"

but it is clear after reviewing the reponses that what is "green" for some is "red" for others and it is hard to assign risk/value if you are not there.

but even if we put all the avalance debate aside, if you ski alone without water, a minor mishap like a tree well or broken binding can ruin more than your day!  
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Tony_Bentley
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #17 on: 12/12/05, 06:17 AM »

Charles,

It might not be in the interest of the board members to discuss the issues. Those who posted on this topic are experienced enough to make decisions that are independent of the collective thoughts of safety in the backcounrty. Independant thinking is I believe what keeps us from being part of the statistic. Nothing can help the fact that accidents will happen regardless of either experience or wisdom.

Perhaps the message that beginners need to see is not learned here as much as all of the obitutaries that have been a result of inexperienced skiers and snowboarders venturing out of the resort boundries without the proper experience and wisdom.
« Last Edit: 12/12/05, 07:14 PM by crackbolter » Logged
powscraper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #18 on: 12/12/05, 07:17 AM »

For the record I just wanted to say something funny, and have no other reason to respond to this thread, except that MW8's rich prose aroused my imagination.  

But I do think that peoples' conception of the avalanche potential at Snoq. Pass was exaggerated during the last system.  I know it's been a year or two since we've seen any snow, but just because it snows, does not mean avy potential is high.  The amount of snow that fell could have produced dangerous conditions, but it didn't.  In contrast to Mt. Hood, where there actually was evidence of instability.
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Jim Oker
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #19 on: 12/12/05, 11:49 AM »

username - I certainly took your post in that light. I will admit to feeling at least a teeny bit defensive in response to Paul's post but got over it in a few seconds decided to take it as an opportunity to simply put out a few more thoughts. I like to question the "hah - you're just being overly conservative!" bravado-inspired decision-making in the group dynamic on trips I take, and so carried that spirit to this board as well. I like groups where no one feels berated or somehow lesser for expressing concerns, even though I'm often the one saying "this is OK to do, guys, let's go for it!!"

I got out last weekend and skied some steep slopes up in the Snoqualmie area (fun!! I think Sky described the quality of the snow in the steep trees well in a post this past week), so was certainly not huddled in my closet or anything. As Watson notes, skiing w/o water and being alone are perhaps the more iffy issues (though it sounds like the control work with undetermined location added an interesting edge to the day). I talked with some Colorado search and rescue guys from Gunnison once, and asked them what were the biggest contributors to winter SAR activities, and they said hypothermia, which they felt was most often exacerbated/accelerated by dehydration. Even if they were dealing with broken femur or whatever (e.g. last weekend I watched two partners end up upside down in some of the lion trap style tree wells we have going in these early season conditions), things most often started unwinding from these factors, then the judgment goes due to the hypothermia, and then the real fun starts. My personal choice has been to carry lots of water, and for the rare events where I bc ski alone, I choose fairly conservative lines to reduce the chance that a small slip leads to the bad sort of unwinding of events the SAR guys talked to me about. What was green for MW would not have been green for me - the Phantom, particularly in current conditions, is not my personal idea of a route with plenty of safety buffer. I'm not judging him - his skill level as well as risk tolerance may be way beyond mine, I'm just sharing my own line.
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MW88888888
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #20 on: 12/12/05, 03:12 PM »

Thanks for clarifying, Jim.  I think we see eye-to-eye, then.  

Just for the record, I did not climb or ski the Phantom.  I looked at it, but it wasn't for me.  Indeed, I much preferred the trees as the snow quality was best when protected from the winds.
« Last Edit: 12/12/05, 03:30 PM by MW88888888 » Logged
Jim Oker
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #21 on: 12/12/05, 04:28 PM »

Ahh - somehow I assumed, perhaps from the phrase "the tricky sections near the lower cliffs," that you were on the phantom, but don't know the routes and names on Snoqualmie that well. Still sounds outside my personal solo zone.
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rockytraum
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #22 on: 12/16/05, 04:27 AM »

Wow-debate-its about time.  I've seen some seriously risky behavior posted on TAY that gets nothing but admiration.  Its about time safety issues were discussed.  

Bummed however to see sarcasm and ridicule appear in the shire.  Maybe Snoqualmie ain't so big, but it sure could kill you.  

Nice though to finally see more than just envy of someone with big cojones.  Good work.
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TeleRoss
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #23 on: 12/16/05, 07:22 AM »

Big cajones, give me a fucking break dude....It's Snoqualmie Mountain.  It's right next to the road.  Its 6000' tall.  Sure it can kill you but so can just about anything if you're a big enough moron.  
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powscraper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #24 on: 12/16/05, 08:36 AM »

big cajones are an objective hazard.
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cw
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #25 on: 12/16/05, 10:21 AM »

Teleross, from all accounts you are a much better skier than I and certainly I have enjoyed many a post reading your comments but I confess a bit of a "ouch" factor in reading some words in your post. These words Perchance obscure some of your seemingly pertinent thoughts and ideas.

Methinks we all take our own track, and it's even better when we get to share them. Your hill is my Mtn. I of course know little and say it poorly.
« Last Edit: 12/16/05, 10:22 AM by cw » Logged
TeleRoss
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #26 on: 12/16/05, 11:46 AM »

I think I'm just irritable cause I carried my skis for 30 some odd miles and didn't make a single turn.....hahahahaha.
BUT
We need to keep a perspective on things here.  Regardless of your skiing abilities Snoqualmie Mtn is not a big peak nor does it take big cajones to follow someone's skin track to the top of it, especially in beautiful weather and with very low avie risk.
BWTFDIK?
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powscraper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #27 on: 12/16/05, 12:08 PM »

No way, I hear the hardcore skiers go to Snoqualmie.  

Also, hyakbc says that Snoqualmie is no place for beginners (pg 3 or 4?).

http://talk.splitboard.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=1770&start=0
« Last Edit: 12/18/05, 11:19 AM by username » Logged
Lowell_Skoog
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #28 on: 12/16/05, 12:44 PM »

Bill Degenhardt broke his hip in an avalanche on Mt Snoqualmie in 1954. He was one of the most experienced mountaineers of his day. The following page has a photo of the rescue:

http://www.mountaineers.org/nwmj/05/051_Bauer3.html

My brother Gordy and a friend did a dawn patrol on Mt Snoqualmie a few years ago. Conditions were icy and Gordy's friend fell during the descent and was injured. Gordy went for help and even though his friend was almost within shouting distance of the parking lot, it took many hours before a rescue team was able to bring him out. It was a beautiful day and his accident happened in the morning. Had it occurred later in the day he would have been benighted and faced hypothermia conditions.

It's easy to forget how unforgiving even modest mountains like Snoqualmie can be in winter. But I will admit that I have skied it solo a few times myself. I think it's good to discuss potential risk.
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Charles
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #29 on: 12/16/05, 05:11 PM »

To me, the issue of interest here is not whether or not Snoqualmie Mountain is a "big" mountain, but how each bc skier applies their individual level of cautiousness to their decision making in the mountains. MW88888888 outlined the factors that went into making his decision, and this decision meshed with his level of cautiousness. To me it is useful to learn how other people think about these issues - I believe that this makes me a more independent thinker, not less. Although I will never be comfortable doing the cutting-edge types of trips sometimes reported here, when a TR from such a trip gives details about decision making I find it to be more useful (as well as more interesting to read) than when not.

Whether or not Snoqualmie Mountain is "big", there doesn't seem to be much doubt that the area is "dangerous", as in deaths and injuries related to snow. If this is due largely to the easy access afforded to large numbers of people, does that make it any less useful to discuss the issues which have come up in this thread? When I was getting in to bc skiing I would have benefited from being able to read this kind of discussion. I think it is important to keep in mind that although a large amount of posting to this forum is by people with considerable bc experience, it is likely that a large amount of the viewing of the posts is by people with less experience.
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THE_MAN
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #30 on: 12/17/05, 03:30 PM »

[quote author=MW88888888
Skiing a big peak solo?  Foolish?  For sure.  I really should stop doing that.  I really should.  But then again, I should stop driving my car.  Oh well, this, too, is a reality I am at peace with.


Yo MW-

I dont care how many "big peaks" you ski solo.  I come to TAY to get the beta on ski tours and snow conditions, not for your desperate and sarcastic little "look at me" pleas for attention.  Up to your last paragraph you were doing ok, a bit long winded and blow-hearted, but we've come to expect that from your posts.  
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Gib
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #31 on: 12/18/05, 06:20 AM »

Wanted to add an aside that the explosions noted on the 8th were actually the DOT targeting their 105rr from the top of the Summit West ski hill toward Denny Mt. and Granite Mt. There wasn't any hazard control work done that day by the Alpental patrol. Alp only tries to control hazard on Mt Snoqualmie when conditions indicate the possibility of large, long return-period slides, or else favorable conditions for dealing to a persistent weak layer. Hardly ever done more than once or twice a year, but always a great idea to check with the Alpental Pro's if there is any question. Going the other way, they also appreciate any eyewitness observations of snowpack weakness or instability from around the valley. I know a number of them watch this forum as well.
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powscraper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #32 on: 12/18/05, 07:24 AM »

Whoa, what does the DOT shoot at?  Am I liable to take artillery fire next time I go looking for powder?
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jimmyclimbs
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #33 on: 12/18/05, 08:05 AM »

I?ve only posted once in the past, a few years ago.

I?m the guy out there that Charles and others have mentioned in this thread. John Q. Public, that?s me.

I read this site for information useful to getting outback. I've always thought this site was a form of intelegent community working together to maximize everyones adventures with things like snow condititions, avy danger, sucesfull and failed trips, what?s in what?s out, and all that jazz.

I get out a bit and use all the info I can, whenever I can.

Jumping all over MW8888888888 dosent really contribut to the greater good. Infact, short of individual egos, nothing is really gained.

What is and is not a ?big mountian? is rediculous, the dude was pumped about having a good time and shared a few mistakes in letting everyone know about his day.

Big ol' "ski bullies" punking out the little guy.

Perhaps the tenser amonong  the community should spend less time criticing others and get out for some snow time themselves.



"If it were any easier, I'd be doing that too."
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RonL
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #34 on: 12/18/05, 10:48 AM »

I can't believe I came back from two days of skiing to find that this post is still being discussed.
I happen to know that MW8888888 posts on this site to share conditions with others and his experiences with myself and his other friends across the states. Any other motives you might attribute to them are more reflective of your own state of mind than his.
Thanks for all the good discussion on this. And thanks to Charles for being the voice of reason and keeping this site a comfortable place to belong.
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philfort
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #35 on: 12/18/05, 11:15 AM »

Quote
 I come to TAY to get the beta on ski tours and snow conditions


You come to TAY to get beta on ski tours and snow conditions, and then criticize people who provide just that?  Angry

Why don't you post something useful.  Such as, beta and snow conditions.
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powscraper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #36 on: 12/18/05, 11:22 AM »

Yeah but why are they trying to kill me?!!  Huh
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philfort
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #37 on: 12/18/05, 11:41 AM »

Quote
Yeah but why are they trying to kill me?!!  Huh


It has been determined that you are "wasting powder" on that splitboard contraption, especially when it is used in ski mode for descents in bottomless fluff.  That is the reason you have been targeted for elimination.
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powscraper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #38 on: 12/18/05, 11:53 AM »

Quote


especially when it is used in ski mode for descents


You mean they are not susceptible to my camouflage?
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Charles
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #39 on: 12/18/05, 12:22 PM »

THE_MAN: Aren't we all here to "get the beta on ski tours and snow conditions"? A well written trip report will always contain these elements, but beyond that it's a matter of personal style. I enjoy the many unique styles of the different contributors to this forum, and like I said above, I find it useful when a trip reporter let's the reader into their mind regarding decisions they made in the mountains.

Surfers who are searching for "look at me pleas for attention" would do better to go elsewhere because that's not what this forum is about, and I don't recall that idea ever crossing my mind when reading any of MW88888888's 190 posts here. A poster with a total of 3 posts, none of which contain any beta, is not likely to make much progress in convincing the general readership that another person's 190 posts are nothing but pleas for attention. It generally works best in this forum for a newcomer to establish a positive reputation for themselves by posting the type of information that we all come here looking for. In addition, it doesn't take a lot of skill to anonymously flame someone else on an internet forum. It is much harder work to disagree with someone else's point of view but still keep the discussion respectful, but that's what people here have come to expect.
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Hyakbc
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #40 on: 12/18/05, 02:26 PM »

Word.
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watsonskipsmith
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #41 on: 12/19/05, 08:01 AM »

thanks to (almost) all for an interesting discussion.

i have two (mabee) interesting factoids to add:

did you know that the human body metabolizes 2 quarts of water every 24 hours at rest when outdoors in the winter?

avalance danger for 12/8 was moderate down low but considerable up high per the NWWAC (in case you thought it was low that day)
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Jim Oker
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #42 on: 12/19/05, 09:06 AM »

I guess that some people's "moderate to considerable" is other people's "low" or even "very low"
Huh
Thanks for diplomatically pointing out the orwellian word games that went on in at least two of the posts here, mr. smith.

I'll re-state a point worth re-stating. I respect that we all draw the lines differently. What I don't respect is people who make fun of those who draw the lines differently from themselves. This is a bad dynamic, especially if you carry it out into the field, which is no place to be shutting down group input with macho crap (which in this case included spouting incorrect "facts" about hazard level). Go back and re-read the group dynamics portions of your avy and general mountaineering books, guys.
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powscraper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #43 on: 12/19/05, 09:19 AM »

Honestly though, did anyone witness any slides?  Was there any slide layer to speak of?  Slab? (I mean, we stuck to mostly trees and lower-angle terrain...)
« Last Edit: 12/19/05, 09:21 AM by username » Logged
Jim Oker
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #44 on: 12/19/05, 10:00 AM »

I saw a pocket slab that broke loose from a SW aspect(presumably a natural release - no evidence of human travel near it) on a ridge top (at about 5600 near but not at Snoqualmie Peak) a couple days after this trip date. So snow had been blowing and settling into spots where there was a sliding surface, at least in places.

In any case, the NWAC had posted something above "low" or the new "very low" hazard level for the day, and I frankly trust their analysis more than the macho revisionism I've seen on this thread. Just because you didn't trigger an avalanche when you skied didn't mean that you weren't in moderate or considerable hazard conditions, eh?

In any case, as I noted far above, avy risk wasn't the main concern that would have led me to make different choices from MW8*. And my main point is not about the avy risk, but about the important of open discussion as opposed to peer pressure.
« Last Edit: 12/19/05, 10:14 AM by jim_oker » Logged
TeleRoss
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #45 on: 12/19/05, 10:06 AM »

NWAC avalanche forecasts are a good resource definitely.  However as anyone knows who travels regularly in the mountains, avalanche conditions are very localized phenomena, and from being up on Mt Snoqualmie a day or two before I would say that the avalanche danger was very low on the westerly aspect up which the skin track ascends, while on northerly facing slopes there had been some wind deposited snow that had formed some small pocket slabs, although not enough to be much of a concern.
« Last Edit: 12/19/05, 10:08 AM by TeleRoss » Logged
powscraper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #46 on: 12/19/05, 10:15 AM »

Quote
revisionism


Are you suggesting that I or others skied something that we thought had a high risk of avalanche?  I can't speak for others but I assure you that this is not the case!
« Last Edit: 12/19/05, 10:29 AM by username » Logged
Jim Oker
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #47 on: 12/19/05, 12:01 PM »

No, I have no idea what you skied around that time, username, nor how carefully you assessed what you did ski, nor how solid your assessment skills are.

I'm only pointing out that the NWAC stated hazard levels for the day were neither "low" nor the apparently new "very low" which others claimed of the day. Since pbelitz's and teleross' posts which stated the hazard levels in these terms were not specific in stating that they meant specific slopes that they had skied/tested, the implication to me was that they meant this was the overall hazard level of the day, which of course it wasn't, and when combined with the dismissive tone of their posts it smacked of revising history (aka revisionism) to make a point. And since Snoqualmie occupies a unique location next to the low pass where the west air travels east and the east air travels west and the two flip back and forth a lot around storm events, I'm sure cross-loading is not uncommon so hazard level up there likely varies quite a bit over a fairly small area. So I think the NWAC stated hazard level is still a meaningful reference point regardless of the undoubtedly unimpeachable assessments teleross made on his own travel path. However, as I've noted multiple times now in this thread, I don't think that avy risk (even NWAC said only moderate for most of this route, after all) was the primary issue that would have made me call "red" instead of "green" on this outing (lack of water and travelling this particular terrain alone were bigger issues for me in adding up to an overall "red"). I've also taken pains to point out that this is simply where I'd make my own call - people with better skiing skills, camel-like water retention, higher risk tolerance, and more refined avy assessment skills might very reasonably call it "green." And if we ever choose to ski together (any of you), I hope you'll listen to my assessments and opinions as carefully and respectfully as I'll listen to yours. Of course at this point the especially cool guys have possibly figured me for a geek they don't want to ski with, which is OK too.

More importantly, does anyone actually think "the_man" is a real poster instead of just a silly persona created by someone (fairly likely another poster on this thread, I'm guessing) who has a penchant for trolling?
« Last Edit: 12/19/05, 12:23 PM by jim_oker » Logged
powscraper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #48 on: 12/19/05, 12:18 PM »

Anyway I think we can all agree that lots of snow means you assume high avalanche danger until you know otherwise, from firsthand experience or from a trusted source.  But there are specific signs and symptoms of avy potential, and it's more valuable to recognize these than to go around with a nonspecific sentiment of apprehension.  If you think everything is dangerous, then you don't actually know what is dangerous.  It is like the Tao of avalanche.

ps. I bought an avalung just in case it ever snows again.
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Jim Oker
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #49 on: 12/19/05, 12:29 PM »

I agree with that. Otherwise I wouldn't have much fun making untracked turns!

It's interesting to watch folks go through changes after taking an avy class - at first everything is scary, but then people often seem to cross into a zone where they are perhaps too confident of their assessment ability. Then if they're lucky, they have a near miss and rebalance a bit back toward caution, but with at least guarded optimism that lets them have lotsa calculated fun. I've both read this from the "experts" and seen it in others as well as myself.
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Salal
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #50 on: 12/19/05, 12:53 PM »

Good conversation....Having gone up snoqualmie several times on my own also...I can see why people do it. Accidents and avalanches can happen anywhere as we all know. Its a good thing we have the internet to help make choices a bit easier....but there will always be an "incident" factor out there no matter the conditions. Experience can help in controlling the factor but not remove it.
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Paul Belitz
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #51 on: 12/19/05, 01:16 PM »

Wow, Jim, you sure seem to be getting awfully fired up here. TAY is far more civil than most boards, but snide comments are still just that. There's no need to be so defensive.

My opinion is that if MW8888 has the skills to assess the snowpack and terrain to his satisfaction, I don't have any reason to think that his dawn patrol was unduly risky.

As for the water issue, I skied for seven hours yesterday and drank less than a quart of tea. I would not turn back from a three hour tour because I forgot my thermos of coffee.
« Last Edit: 12/19/05, 01:16 PM by pbelitz » Logged
TeleRoss
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #52 on: 12/19/05, 01:18 PM »

A three hour tour....A three hour tour.....
we all know how that one ended.....hahahahha
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Jim Oker
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #53 on: 12/19/05, 01:44 PM »

Paul - I think we agree. If he has the skills and made good judgments along the way, then no problem for him. Of course.

If you travel well w/o much water, I'm envious, as that doesn't work out as well for me. I tend to dehydrate easily (I sweat a lot, could be the extra fat layer I carry around), and am mindful of what the CO SAR guys told me about how often dehydration figured into hypothermia which factored into more acute injuries or other accidents. Plus I just feel crappy w/o hydration. I skied 4.5 hours yesterday and drank two quarts. That's me. YMMV. I ski with some folks who seem to need little water during the day. Lucky them.

As for what you read as defensiveness, I actually intended as more of an admittedly strident pitch for guys like you be a bit more respectful of folks who make different decisions from the ones you'd make (by way of contrast, I appreciated username's good questions and observations which didn't get into slamming anyone). I honestly don't feel I have anything to defend here. I'm quite comfortable with being open about my own decision process and risk bar. I look for partners who are similarly comfortable and open, even if they draw the line a bit differently. I saw that this thread was becoming an interesting opportunity to raise the question of peer pressure and subtle bullying versus open and respectful discussion of risks - important dynamics when in the field, yes?

And I'm mindful of the fact that some people (like many young guys right out of college) tend to be more aggressive on the choices (and some think they have it all figured out), but the truly cool ones are also respectful of where others draw the line. I never said MW8* was a fool, just that I'd draw the line differently for myself.
« Last Edit: 12/19/05, 04:44 PM by jim_oker » Logged
Meadow_Skipper
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #54 on: 12/19/05, 01:49 PM »

I'll stick to my original thoughts: a litre of coffee and a good report is excellent style and I applaud this person. The rest of this discussion is a bit too "arm-chair quarterback."
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Tony_Bentley
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #55 on: 12/22/05, 06:16 PM »

It is coming "round midnight" and Coltrane is playing on shoutcast. Go figure.

Money see monkey do sometimes. Look at the trend of skiing in the last storm. A few friends make a skin-track after getting kicked out of Alpental and move their self propelled skiing to the face on the other side of the lot.

Conditions were excellent but began to degrade after 4 days of snow falling. Sky and Ross hit the slot and broke trail for the last thousand or so feet to get it. They never called.:-(

Everyone had a good run and hucked and hollered and will remember it well. Tracks were laid in up and down so anyone who didn't even know the terrain could've gotten in and out as long as they knew how to point their gear downhill without going out of control. MW had a good run but missed the best (since we got kicked out of Alpy).

Why do I see people getting all up in arms? Are you afraid of another fatality? Sorry, it will happen regardless of your opinions. Who cares where we draw the line? Let our actions speak clearly, rather than your opinion. Pain and suffering is inevitable


Now it is raining, I might not ski the corn at Paradise because it will be raining until next week and no one wants the rainy corn with me.

I finally read this nonsense after a friend said it was still going on tonight.

Last Saturday I watched someone with excellent form biff in the 'toosh. I wish I had my video camera for that. A little devil poked me in the side and said, "See, now you aren' t the only skier in these hills that falls on a perfectly good slope." HAHAHAHAHA

Did everyone get to see the action yet? Sorry I never posted it....

http://www.tonybentley.com/dec2.wmv

...memories while it is raining.....

Merry Christmas and I hope it snows enough to fill in some Cascades.
« Last Edit: 12/22/05, 06:18 PM by crackbolter » Logged
JimmyO
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #56 on: 12/23/05, 05:38 AM »

tony,  that is a fantasy video - awesome stuff!  I knew there'd be a horse somewhere under this pile of manure!

Hey, relax, only kidding. great thread!  mw888888888, sweet post that started it off, keep em coming.  love that peek inside the turn-hungry-head's internal monologue.  enjoyed most of the avy danger discussion too.  solo travel requires some real thought and measured risk assessment.

everyone who tried to be funny, you were. anyone who got all tense, just try boxers instead of briefs and don't forget to breathe...in.....out...that's it!  nice!  

gotta love anyone who posts anything inviting criticism of their actions.  Keep those adventures coming, you irreverant yet thoughtful young rascals!

JimmyO
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moeglisse
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #57 on: 12/27/05, 04:58 AM »

Wow!
I think some people need naps.


MW....Great Photo.....Glad you were there to get the shot! Cool
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going ricther
Benk
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #58 on: 12/27/05, 06:46 AM »

Nice post Tony!  And great video work as well.  I knew those were pretty epic conditions requiring sequential dawn partrols, and the video sure brings it back!

As for all the differing viewpoints it's good to see and discuss.

B
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Bill_G
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #59 on: 12/28/05, 12:30 PM »

Now I know why I've stopped posting trips - a nice report, some humorous adds followed by a flurry of uninvited criticisms.  (unless the purpose of a post is to provide a target)

While Jim may have some good reasons for making a different decision if he were there - he wasn't there and the decision wasn't his to make.

Jim, when you report your future trips, I'm sure we'll be happy to hear the basis for decisions you made.  We might not even tell you that you were wrong!
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #60 on: 12/28/05, 05:55 PM »

Quote
I applaud Jim for raising the questions that were in my head as well, because it may not seem like it from my TR, but the decision to go on was a challenging one.


I think the people taking pot shots from various sides of this discussion should note that MW88888888, the original poster, has consistently expressed his appreciation of Jim Oker's safety questions. Seems like a non-issue to me.
« Last Edit: 12/28/05, 06:07 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
Jim Oker
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #61 on: 12/29/05, 04:49 AM »

Thanks, Lowell. I realized (after all my posts above) that:

a) Samminator was right, I needed a nap. Decaf helped.  Smiley

but

b) I'm re-learning something I found out when moving from Boston to the PNW - that I grew up working things out by sharing thoughts and debating and the culture was that this is just a way to help each other think by pushing each other a bit, but out here I've found many folks take that approach as criticism or otherwise as a negative. Lowell, username, MW8*, and a few others submitted great posts on this thread that got me thinking, which was all positive for me. This all seemed in keeping with MW8*'s theme of weighing risk in his original post (a theme I'm sure we all ponder from time to time). But alas, I'm reminded that my native style of "debate to think" doesn't work well universally (undoubtedly exacerbated by the challenge of getting tone across accurately in writing). That's cool, I can adapt. Bill_G, don't worry, if you do decide to share a piece of your outings with the community, I'll be very PNW in response. If a TR suggests a bigger discussion that seems worth having and I just can't help myself, I'll post my thoughts in the "anything but TR's" area where folks who don't like this sort of discussion can easily opt out. Bill_G - I'd love to see what you have to share, and you are certainly welcome to comment on or question any of my TRs, and I think you'll find that most TRs here are just given the text equivalent of a "high five."
« Last Edit: 12/29/05, 04:51 AM by jim_oker » Logged
Charles
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #62 on: 12/29/05, 06:42 AM »

It certainly does seem that on the internet it is easy for one person's discussion to be another person's criticism. I guess it takes a certain skill to contribute to an internet "discussion" in a way that minimizes the chances that it will be seen instead as "criticism". The culture of the specific forum must also come into play, and in this regard, given the "discussion" oriented nature of this forum, it would help if readers would generally give the "discussion" point of view the benefit of the doubt. There have been very few instances of blatant criticism intended solely to provoke, and these have been pretty obvious. There have been many instances of people raising a question about something in a post that have led to useful discussions.

A couple of other points. One, this forum has been set up with a minimum of rules. One of the rules, however, is that every thread in a monthly TR board must start with an actual trip report. The reasoning behind this rule is that some people will want to quickly find trip report information without wading through lots of other junk. Nobody is required read the sometimes lengthy "discussions" which sometimes follow an actual trip report in a thread (such as this one) unless they choose to do so.

Two, it is possible to post a "trip report" that simply includes snow information and nothing else. Such a trip report could still be useful to others and would not be likely to invite either substantial "discussion" or "criticism". People who visit this forum to read about snow information posted by others but who do not share their own snow information are encouraged to participate in this information sharing by posting in a style with which they are comfortable. If that style is snow information and nothing else, that's OK. If everyone here were to "take" but not "give", there would be no "here".
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MW88888888
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #63 on: 12/29/05, 12:17 PM »

Is there a prize for the most responses and views to a post?  If so, lucky me.  Couple points I'd like to make, as it seems the issues raised here touched a nerve.

1) Ron_l had it right, this post was a direct copy of an e-mail I sent to friends around the country.  Friends with whom I ski every year, around the globe and in all conditions; they know me, they know my style and my skill levels, so there was no need to expound on the details of why I did the things I did.  It was simply a day out with me, and as I hoped to express in the writing, a day with drama and intrigue.  I do not write about every day I ski (although I have a personal diary that fits the bill), only the ones that are "interesting" 

2) Why did I post the email for the world to see?  I don't know, other than to share with others what I love - the mountains - in the hopes others will do the same for me.  I do like this forum, for now, as I have become accustomed to the characters that post here as well as the myriad of peanut gallery who fling food and are obnoxious.  I'm an adult and can take a shot or two, but like it or not, if I do not like the playground, I will not return.  I think that is an important point that some should take away from this - to underscore Charles' point - there is no obligation to post here.  In fact, maybe that's why I thought it safe to post in the first place, BC skiers aren't supposed to be that obnoxious ski-area type skier, right?  They are supposed to respect each other's space and ways, and to encourage and assist their brethren when necessary.  Maybe that's asking too much, or maybe I'm too sentimental.  Who knows.  But some of the responses to this post certainly depressed me and made me question why I would want to let anyone in on my love affair with the mountains.  Their angst and frustration is just too easy to walk away from.

3) Finally, I have grown to know and respect Jim_Oker from his past contributions to this site and maybe that's why I didn't take his initial response as an attack.  His questioning the safety issue was very valid, and I knew when I posted without the background the info contained within sounded pretty sketchy.  I was glad he raised the issue b/c as they used to say on "That's Incredible" (now I date myself) - don't try this stuff at home, kids.  Maybe some details will help those still questioning the safety issues: I knew ahead of time about the planned Avy work on I-90 (hell, it was even posted on the road signs the day before); I ski very well and often; I run up mountains to train (literally) so I know my body's water intake needs (as well as the fact that open water was everywhere on Snoq that day if you looked); and although years of learning only make me understand my naiveté on snow pack analysis, I know a good day when I see one.  Bottom line, this trip was not a lark, and I'm no tourist.

So, more fodder for the masses.  

[indeed - I don't mean to sound whining, just wanted to set the record straight.]
« Last Edit: 12/30/05, 01:01 AM by MW88888888 » Logged
TeleRoss
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #64 on: 12/29/05, 12:38 PM »

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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #65 on: 12/30/05, 03:09 AM »

MW8 and Jim: Thanks for your thoughtful posts. You've shown that you're willing to risk some exposure, not to gravity but to your peers. I respect that.

TeleRoss: If it's a race to the bottom, you're winning.  Wink
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Charles
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Re: December 8, 2005, Snoqualmie Mountain (6,278')
« Reply #66 on: 12/31/05, 09:32 AM »

MW88888888, there is no prize other than simply the warm fuzzy feeling which I'm sure is radiating through you as you realize that, yes, you started what has turned out to likely be the most active thread ever on TAY. Congratulations? I personally hope that you will continue posting as you have been doing, adding to your established record of providing good snow information and beyond.
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