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Author Topic: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps  (Read 18015 times)
freeski
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #100 on: 01/28/17, 07:41 PM »

This is a very good discussion on the crowding issue.  A couple of heuristics are operating very strongly here:  scarcity, and the idea that if others are doing it, it must be safe (don't recall the official term for the latter). 

Increased bc crowding in popular or easy to reach areas is here to stay.  So IMO it adds another important consideration - along with everything else (weather, snowpack, temperature, precip, winds, terrain selection, etc.) which should be included as part of standard safe/safer bc protocol:  on the uphill, consider folks may be dropping in above you;  on the downhill, consider folks may be below you.  Like all other aspects of the protocol, you do what you can to mitigate risk to yourself and others.  Understand you'll never reach 100% safety.

As well, crowd management protocol should be added to bc/avy instruction. 

That uptrack in the photo?  Personally, I'd never use it.  That's just me.
Those are good points. Should rock climbers expect that a hiker may be throwing rocks down a popular climbing route and just except that as one of the risks?

Or is the hiker throwing rocks down the climbing route negligent by endangering climbers?

Is it really a free for all out there in the mountains or is it time to ask the land managers to study this growing public safety concern and offer solutions?

People won't like it, however, if popular hazardous areas are over crowded, maybe a permit should be required.

Or maybe those folks who will fully put others at risk of harm should lose public land access?

What happened to that guy who killed a climber with a rock to the head thrown from above?

And on our public roads do we except that it's our risk to assume that people will be driving drunk or texting while driving ? So just let 'em text and drive drunk.

NO. We pass laws  that try to deal with public safety concerns.
« Last Edit: 01/28/17, 08:26 PM by freeski » Logged

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blackdog102395
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #101 on: 01/28/17, 10:40 PM »

Well said.  I've been cringing far too often lately, watching the bc explode with inexperienced folks, evident by such unsafe climbing routes/selection, and/or naive descents. 

I read a thread very recently from that same area that erupted into an argument about bc etiquette.  I think etiquette and safety just about work hand-in-hand in the bc, for sure.  I really appreciate the objectivity exercised by folks in this thread.  It's not anything to be taken lightly.  Safety, pow conservation are good-neighbor practices. 

I spent years on this web site before investing in a splitboard, and then luckily got in with some great TAY all-stars and lurkers who were great examples skill and knowledge. But that's my own conation, I suppose. Before the bc, it was years of getting my riding strong/dialed before going beyond the ropes, and many hours of reading threads and studying snow science, all put forth in action as I practice this love of finding good snow and majestic terrain.  I can only encourage people to do the same but sadly, you see otherwise out there. 

I disagree.  While etiquette and safety are tangentially related because they both impact shared users, for me they should be separate topics clearly delineated as such.  I think it's dangerous to confuse the two and would advocate strongly for their separation in discussions such as these.  Ascents and descents land squarely in the realm of safety.  It is much more important that we have meaningful discussion in these areas in an attempt to educate and gain something resembling consensus.  In contrast, etiquette is more about "playing nice" and considering other users experience outside of those related to safety.  I'll talk all day about whether the skin track in the OP is safe, but I have little tolerance for someone telling me where I can turn in an effort to conserve resources or preserve someone's perfectly sculpted turns.   Let's not confuse the two.  One topic is about keeping people alive.  The other is about the effects ones use has on the qualitative experience of others (e.g. snowshoeing in the skin track).  I understand that this is not an either/or situation.  We can discuss both, but I think talk of etiquette is a dangerous distraction in safety discussions.
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flowing alpy
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #102 on: 01/29/17, 05:03 AM »

bc etiquette enforcers are badly needed on the I-90 corridor.
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freeski
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #103 on: 01/29/17, 07:00 AM »

I disagree.  While etiquette and safety are tangentially related because they both impact shared users, for me they should be separate topics clearly delineated as such.  I think it's dangerous to confuse the two and would advocate strongly for their separation in discussions such as these.  Ascents and descents land squarely in the realm of safety.  It is much more important that we have meaningful discussion in these areas in an attempt to educate and gain something resembling consensus.  In contrast, etiquette is more about "playing nice" and considering other users experience outside of those related to safety.  I'll talk all day about whether the skin track in the OP is safe, but I have little tolerance for someone telling me where I can turn in an effort to conserve resources or preserve someone's perfectly sculpted turns.   Let's not confuse the two.  One topic is about keeping people alive.  The other is about the effects ones use has on the qualitative experience of others (e.g. snowshoeing in the skin track).  I understand that this is not an either/or situation.  We can discuss both, but I think talk of etiquette is a dangerous distraction in safety discussions.
excellent point. I once read a post somewhere where the guy was telling people not to ski over his turns simply because they were picture perfect.

That is a totally different issue then ski cutting an avalanche down on someone.
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alecapone
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #104 on: 01/29/17, 08:42 AM »

The thought process I try and abide by when setting a skin track is based upon the "Best Practices" protocol that we use at work to avoid killing people when engaged in complex construction work.

My personal Best Practices for skin track setting is as follows.
#1 Set the skin track in the safest place possible because I feel vulnerable with skins on, toes locked out and anchors on my feet. Even if this means going the long way around to my desired point of entry.
#2 Avoid  a close stacked Z track wherever possible or keep them to a minimum. Spacing is important on a skin track and in a stacked Z, impossible to achieve. The people above or below you are still in danger. On a stacked Z you can be 500 ft apart but the person above is still directly above you and both of you are in the slide path.
#3 Avoid or minimize sKintrack steepness. Steep skintracks are tiring and inherently more difficult  and can cause bunching especially with groups of mixed experience.
#4 Avoid or minimize kick turns... Ditto point #3. My wife can contort her body at yoga but she can't do a nice kick turn to save her life( yet)
#5 Try and not set a skin track where skiers can come from above.
#6 Conserve good slopes.... don't set a skin track up a good slope.

Those a mine, your's may be different.
I try to check every box above with my skin tracks.
When I look at the photo... I can't in all honesty tick any box.

As hop and z-bo have said... not trying to flame or troll.... just trying to cut down on your learning curve so you can continue to enjoy life and post lots of future trip reports.


Just trying to make sure this hits every page.

#7 don't expose yourself to the actions of others.

People just add another level of unpredictability. I try not to put myself in them situations in most cases in life. Work, driving BC skiing.



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scott
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #105 on: 01/29/17, 10:34 AM »

Just trying to make sure this hits every page.

#7 don't expose yourself to the actions of others.

People just add another level of unpredictability. I try not to put myself in them situations in most cases in life. Work, driving BC skiing.

Always a calculated risk...just like rock climbing/alpinism..


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hop
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #106 on: 01/29/17, 05:36 PM »

I would say that anyone dropping that line from the top still has the responsibility to ensure that they are not placing anyone below them at risk of harm.

I'm sure that you would not risk someone's life just because the party below is not acting according to best practice safety protocols.

why don't you ask the local land management to close that line to uphill travel. Sounds like the professionals at the baker ski patrol would back you up concerning the risks.

Hop, you have correctly identified an area and a problem that has public safey concerns.

I commend you for your efforts and don't worry  about the folks who do not even want to have the conversation, call you names or otherwise express their ignorance.

Their behavior reflects their charactor, not yours. But i know you this, for you are indeed a person of fine charactor and courage.

Thank you for the support. 

I personally haven't come around the horn and encountered a party skinning up that area in a long time, mainly because I don't go there that often anymore and if I do, I try to get in and out of there before it gets all stuffed up.  I do recall being super pissed the last time - many years ago - my party got to the top and realized there were a couple handfuls of people skinning all over that area.  I recall a much more vocal member of my party yelled down to the group that we were really bummed about people were skinning up the slope and got a bunch of blank stares in return.  My party had a discussion and skied on top of them, one at a time, and then left the area.  Nowadays if that happened I'd probably just be super pissed and ski somewhere else without skiing on top of the offending parties because I'm far more uncomfortable skiing on top of other people now, but who knows - it sounds like everyone here that admits to skinning up that slope is also ok with being dropped in on and therefore assumes the risk.   Roll Eyes 

While I agree that safety and etiquette are mostly separate subjects and should probably be discussed as such, this is one area where the safety/etiquette lines blur; not only are the uptrackers exhibiting unsafe BC travel practices, they're also selfishly occupying a limited resource and forcing other users to either go somewhere else or make potentially catastrophic decisions in order to "share" the resource.  To me the safety issue is by far the larger issue. 

The last thing I, or anyone, wants is to get land managers involved.  I'd like to think that the BC population can be self-managing but maybe that's overly naive of me in this day and age.  Won't stop me from trying though. 

« Last Edit: 01/29/17, 05:40 PM by hop » Logged

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flowing alpy
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #107 on: 01/29/17, 07:42 PM »

the greatest 'seattle skin track' starts just past LoT4.
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lefty72
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #108 on: 01/29/17, 08:11 PM »

The best martinis have a thin layer of ice on top and 3 olives, preferably with a garlic clove or stuffed with cheese.
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blackdog102395
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #109 on: 01/29/17, 09:20 PM »

The best martinis have a thin layer of ice on top and 3 olives, preferably with a garlic clove or stuffed with cheese.

This is the absolute truth.  Possibly the only absolute truth stated in this thread.
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flowing alpy
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #110 on: 01/30/17, 09:04 AM »

The best martinis have a thin layer of ice on top and 3 olives, preferably with a garlic clove or stuffed with cheese.
You can prove this theory while bartending @17BBI.
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freeski
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #111 on: 01/30/17, 09:35 AM »

This is the absolute truth.  Possibly the only absolute truth stated in this thread.


If there was such a thing. Please realize that most of us are lying in a vat of goo suppling power to the machine world. ;-)
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Jason4
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #112 on: 01/30/17, 10:48 AM »

I first bought a snomo 11 years ago and had a lot of fun learning to ride it. I went to most of the snomo version of ski areas in WA to learn, and found it striking that the snomo community has a much lower perception of risk in the WA snowpack. They cover way more ground than skiers typically do, often hitting every aspect and elevation within a large area.  I came to realize that the skiing community (and NWAC - no surprise there given their mission) often grossly overestimates instability.  Granted, if you're wrong, you can die.  But, when the perception is way off the reality, it's really not all that valuable.  i would assert this is at play in this group analysis.  It was fine to put the track in that spot ON THAT DAY, as borne out by the results.  There is no evidence that the OP was "stupid" as Markharf and others assert (why people are congratulating that conclusion is beyond me) or that they "got away with something".  Should you put an uptrack in that spot when there is instability above?  Nope.  But the OP accurately assessed the risk ON THAT DAY and skied it without incident.  You guys/girls are adamant that it's never safe to lap that spot, but that's complete BS. Hop could of made his/her point by simply saying that more people could enjoy that slope if everybody used the "MT Baker Pro Patrol Approved/Hop Mentor Certified/Bagley Police Mandated" uptrack down the way.  I know this will come a shock to some of you, but your so-called "wisdom" may not be wanted, needed or appreciated by the OP.  I know I found it obnoxious. 

A lower perception of risk doesn't make it a more accurate perception of risk.  And the snowmobile community is probably not a good example of good habits in avalanche terrain, especially not the snowmo-ski community.  At least most of the real slednecks that I know are willing to spend the money on airbags and are asking for better avalanche education options for sledders. 

The last numbers that I saw indicated that the overall backcountry skier deaths are catching up to the overall sledder deaths now.  Previously more sledders died than skiers but in my experience skiers are doing a better job of getting educated and have more resources available easily for education.
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Jim Oker
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #113 on: 01/30/17, 11:23 AM »



If there was such a thing. Please realize that most of us are lying in a vat of goo suppling power to the machine world. ;-)
I wish that the beings who  are using us as batteries  would send in an illusion of one of those winters with well over 100" of snow depth on the  Snoqualmie telemetry and non-stop powder days in the big trees up thattaway.

But yeah, different people will make different decisions as to how they balance risk avoidance versus other goals.  One hopes that we all are at least factoring in the likely risks as part of the analysis. My impression is that the good discussion that has been  part of this thread has gone through at least a few circles at this point and that the recent useful observations aren't for the most part brand new to the thread...
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freeski
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #114 on: 01/30/17, 02:38 PM »

A lower perception of risk doesn't make it a more accurate perception of risk.  And the snowmobile community is probably not a good example of good habits in avalanche terrain, especially not the snowmo-ski community.  At least most of the real slednecks that I know are willing to spend the money on airbags and are asking for better avalanche education options for sledders. 

The last numbers that I saw indicated that the overall backcountry skier deaths are catching up to the overall sledder deaths now.  Previously more sledders died than skiers but in my experience skiers are doing a better job of getting educated and have more resources available easily for education.

I'd guess that there are more skiiers venturing into avy and avy terrain start zones then snowmobiles.

We also go out on storms days where avys can and do happen in the tree line glades and terrain traps. Some folks even head to more serious avy terrain during high hazard.

Snowmobiles have a hard time in deep powder and no base.

You have to be a very skilled snowmobiler to get up into high places off the road. The numbers can't be that high.

On the other hand, you do not have to be a skilled skier to go anywhere in the bc and that number is increasing. Thanks to new ski tech.

I think we need to be clear in no uncertain terms. Don't put  risk on me, we don't like.

hop, you identified a public safety concern and i will send this thread to your local fs. Could you print the address.
 
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Jason4
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #115 on: 01/30/17, 04:06 PM »


I'd guess that there are more skiiers venturing into avy and avy terrain start zones then snowmobiles.

We also go out on storms days where avys can and do happen in the tree line glades and terrain traps. Some folks even head to more serious avy terrain during high hazard.

Snowmobiles have a hard time in deep powder and no base.

You have to be a very skilled snowmobiler to get up into high places off the road. The numbers can't be that high.

On the other hand, you do not have to be a skilled skier to go anywhere in the bc and that number is increasing. Thanks to new ski tech.

I think we need to be clear in no uncertain terms. Don't put  risk on me, we don't like.

hop, you identified a public safety concern and i will send this thread to your local fs. Could you print the address.
 

I bet the average snowmobiler on a typical day gets into more start zones/day than the average skier.

New mountain sleds are very capable and the snowbikes can get even more places that the sleds can't go.  The biggest sleds these days have 173" tracks and float pretty well on the deepest snow we see around here.

Storms don't slow the sled crowd down, it just changes where they go.  Most sledders will stay off the Easton glacier in flat light but that just means spending the day in the trees or heading to Glacier Creek or Canyon Creek.  Maybe half of my days on a sled are storm days and I consider myself a fair weather sledder.

I'm not sure what the numbers look like for either user group, you could pull sled registration numbers but that doesn't tell the entire story.  I do know that parking areas are full at any of the sled zones around here on any given weekend just like the upper lot at Heather Meadows is packed full of people who can't seem to park any better than they can set skin tracks before 9am on the weekends.

That said, your line of thinking is all the more reason that sledders are a bad example to follow, especially if they are getting killed at a higher rate.  I know the overall number of deaths per year is higher in the sled community than the ski community and you might be right that there are less sledders exposed to danger than skiers.
« Last Edit: 01/30/17, 04:11 PM by Jason4 » Logged

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Jason4
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #116 on: 01/30/17, 04:23 PM »

Just to fact check myself I played a bit with the link below:
http://avalanche.state.co.us/accidents/statistics-and-reporting/

At first the numbers look like the skiers are getting into avalanches more but that's with data going back to the 1950s.  If you deselect all years and then start adding them back in from 1995 to 2016 it doesn't look so good for sledders.  Then start taking the number back out from 1995 to 2016 and it looks like the number shift dramatically towards more skiers than sledder per year 2009 or 2010, the same time that our economy turned down and people couldn't buy new sleds and probably didn't get out as much as they used to.  I'm implying causation but really can't say much more than to suggest a correlation.  Either way, too many people are dying in avalanches every year.
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freeski
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #117 on: 01/30/17, 05:21 PM »

My point was ( and i don't think i was clear) that seems like more snowmo deaths per number of user days for the skilled riders able to access avy terrain than skier deaths per number of user days (bc  and side country skiers).

And of course, snowmo's stress the snowpack more, so more likely to trigger an avy.
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jtack
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #118 on: 01/30/17, 06:11 PM »

Thanks for the great video and picture, don't let all the "discussion" keep you from poasting more of those great photos or video edits.
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Stefan
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #119 on: 01/31/17, 09:43 AM »

Maybe these people knew what they were doing.

Maybe they evaluated the risk being below the top of a potential skier and decided that was the risk they would be willing to take to do these laps.

It is their risk.
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Good2Go
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #120 on: 01/31/17, 11:51 AM »

Maybe these people knew what they were doing.

Maybe they evaluated the risk being below the top of a potential skier and decided that was the risk they would be willing to take to do these laps.

It is their risk.

That's crazy talk Stefan!  It's axiomatic that they couldn't know what they're doing, because what they were doing conflicted with Hop's safety rules.  PERIOD!  (Sean Spicer style.) 

For my part, I'm glad this string is still going.  Helps the codgers get all the spray out of their system.  Carry on fellas!
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Scotsman
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #121 on: 01/31/17, 01:06 PM »

Helps the codgers get all the spray out of their system. 
URBAN DICTIONARY
Codger
The origin of codger seems to lie in the complex links between cadger and codger (not as a contraction of 'coffin-dodger', as one of my more inventive correspondents has suggested). In some parts of England the two words were used interchangeably, whereas in other regions they were separate words, one meaning 'beggar' and the other 'eccentric/grotesque fellow'. The latter meaning is the one used in an early example of 'old codger', David Garrick's farce Bon Ton, 1775:

"My Lord's servants call you an old out-of-fashion'd Codger."

Men who had fallen on hard times and had resorted to any means possible to keep body and soul together were often those who were too old to find work. A cadger was likely to be a grizzled character wanting to borrow or steal from you; a codger was a peculiar and unfashionable chap, and both were likely to be old. 'Old codger' is most likely to be the linguistic merging of all those images.
David Garrick's farce Bon Ton, 1775:

"My Lord's servants call you an old out-of-fashion'd Codger."
#old fart #old bloke #doddering twat #cadger

I think I prefer "doddering twat" personally.
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dberdinka
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #122 on: 01/31/17, 03:49 PM »

Either way, too many people are dying in avalanches every year.

737 American's die ever year falling out of bed.   So I'm happy to take my chances in the backcountry.   

 I'm of the Greg Cronn school of thought that on a stable day a skin track up Table is a great way to farm pow.  These guys were out 36 hours after a nice dump with moderate winds.  Conditions were stable! They were good to go!  Seems like a lot of new folks in the backcountry have a very "paint by numbers" approach to risk assessment where this or that behavior or ski line is always problematic with regards to actual conditions.  Hopefully they develop a more nuanced approach with time.

An interesting corollary!   A friend of a friend dropped into the north face of Table using Hops designated approach several days after this TR.   An individual ascending the offending skin track BLEW UP on them for dropping in above his party.  This strikes me as equally ridiculous.  If they weren't comfortable with that probability then this particular skin track was the last place they should be.     

In the end you need to make an appropriate decision FOR YOURSELF and stop stressing over your inability to control the decisions others will make.     Basically get up 45 minutes earlier and get the hell out of Bagely Lakes Basin.

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freeski
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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #123 on: 01/31/17, 06:13 PM »

737 American's die ever year falling out of bed.   So I'm happy to take my chances in the backcountry.   

 I'm of the Greg Cronn school of thought that on a stable day a skin track up Table is a great way to farm pow.  These guys were out 36 hours after a nice dump with moderate winds.  Conditions were stable! They were good to go!  Seems like a lot of new folks in the backcountry have a very "paint by numbers" approach to risk assessment where this or that behavior or ski line is always problematic with regards to actual conditions.  Hopefully they develop a more nuanced approach with time.

An interesting corollary!   A friend of a friend dropped into the north face of Table using Hops designated approach several days after this TR.   An individual ascending the offending skin track BLEW UP on them for dropping in above his party.  This strikes me as equally ridiculous.  If they weren't comfortable with that probability then this particular skin track was the last place they should be.     

In the end you need to make an appropriate decision FOR YOURSELF and stop stressing over your inability to control the decisions others will make.     Basically get up 45 minutes earlier and get the hell out of Bagely Lakes Basin.


There's a reason why some of us old codgers are still codgering, after hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds or so tours.

Maybe the op will share the snow profile and test results in the start zones that day with all of us. Maybe it was just to dangerous to top out from the bowl that day, don't know.

i am puzzled (us codger get puzzled from time to time) as to why the professionals at the baker patrol don't recommend people putting in skin tracks in avy terrain, when that terrain can be avoided? 
 
and why would a commercial avy instructor think it's ok?

curious and curiouser, tea any one?
« Last Edit: 01/31/17, 06:16 PM by freeski » Logged

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Re: January 21, Table Mountain Area Laps
« Reply #124 on: 01/31/17, 06:54 PM »

As Poet Laureate of TAY this wonderful thread has inspired me to compose the " Ballard of the Seattle Skintrack."

To be sung to the classic Monty Pythons " I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK"

I'm a Millennial and I don't care, I'll put my skintrack anywhere,
the old codgers have got their panties in a twist,
They don't recognize how good I am at assessing risk.

Chorus.
" He's a special snowflake and he don't care, he'll put his skintrack anywhere.

I'm a Millennial and I don't care, I'll put my skintrack anywhere,
I've got a new air-bag pack, fat skis and and avalanche beacon,
the old codgers are just jealous of my disposable income.

Chorus
"He's a special snowflake and he don't care, he'll put his skintrack anywhere.

I'm a Millennial and I don't care, I'll put my skintrack anywhere,
the old codgers think they are helping by giving advice,
but it triggers my hurt feelings and thats not nice.

Chorus
" He's a special snowflake and he don't care, he'll put his skintrack anywhere,

I'm a Millennial and I don't care, I'll put my skintrack anywhere,
I'll ski where I want and I go to the backcountry to be free,
forget others in the area, don't you understand ,this is all about ME!

Final Chorus
" He's a special snowflake and he don't care, he'll put his skintrack anywhere!"
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Chairman and Founder of FOTAY( Friends of TAY)
Moderator of the moderators.
"Most Brilliant Move" of the 11/12 ski season
" Knows what he is talking about"
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Crystal Whore
" Scotsman may be correct"....Mikerolfs
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