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03/27/17, 03:34 AM

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Author Topic: Solo BC Skiers  (Read 3643 times)
Randy
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #25 on: 03/03/17, 06:01 PM »

 
It would be interesting to see the stats about accident rates for solo skiers vs group skiers.
   

Yeah that would be good -- I think it would be an interesting analysis.
There certainly are some additional risks from group travel.  e.g. the avalanche that killed Craig Kelly buried most of the 21 skiers in that giant group.

I think thoughtful solo travel can be reasonably safe -- but the margin for error is thinner as there are a number of scenarios that would be simple to correct with a companion -- but a big problem while alone.   

And solo travel can be safer than travelling with crummy partners -- say like ones that climb much faster without looking back and it becomes essentially a solo trip.
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mattfirth
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #26 on: 03/03/17, 06:32 PM »

Here's some data - link and a little off topic here's some info on the relative risk of backcountry skiing - link

I enjoy solo almost as much as a good small (2-3) group.
« Last Edit: 03/04/17, 03:00 PM by mattfirth » Logged
Scottk
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #27 on: 03/04/17, 03:04 PM »

I've had way too many occasions recently where our party has been in the middle of a tour or even making a key decision and someone pops in out of nowhere and either assumes it's cool to tag along or tries to beg their way in. Have that convo in the parking lot, not the top of the chute.

I'm surprised that you've had "way too many" negative experiences.  Showing up with the expectation of joining another group, tagging along without any communications, or "begging" to join another group would not be cool.  My experiences have all been positive, whether I'm joining another group or we're inviting someone to join us.  That being said, I think you have to be pretty sensitive about the situation if you're going to combine groups.  The few times I've done this it's been after some discussion and recognition that we're on the same page.  Sometimes it's people that I already know, sometimes there's a clear invitation to join the group.  Talking and communicating with people at the top of the chute to coordinate who goes when and where the safe zones are is generally a good idea.  Catching up with a group and offering to break trail for awhile is generally well received.  Stopping to chat with people and share knowledge of the route and conditions is part of creating community and looking out for each other.
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freeski
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #28 on: 03/07/17, 06:38 PM »

Quote: Stopping to chat with people and share knowledge of the route and conditions is part of creating community and looking out for each other .
unquote

exactly. I also think that solo skiers should wait to be asked to join a group. That has happened to me several times.

one time, i declined because i didn't agree with their tour plan, but would have really enjoyed being with them.

another time i knew the kids and didn't really want to impose myself on them, however they were in an area that was new to them and wanted me to show them the lines, so we did two laps for a total of 6,000' that day.
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undermyownpower
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #29 on: 03/13/17, 03:39 PM »

I need some guidance

What about solo glacier skiing? I have skied a lot in the Sierra's, not much in the way of active glaciers other than Shasta,which I've done. In the PNW I have heard that not many skiers end up in crevasses, very few actually. I have become more acquainted with the skiing in the Cascades and I have come to realize if I solo ski and want to hit some bigger objectives glacier skiing is a big part of the equation.

I don't want this to be a "your irresponsible" tirade. I have done a bit of glaciated mountaineering. That has been fine.

What do you find are the 2 biggest pitfalls of unroped glacier skiing in good conditions? I don't mean whiteout,diamond plate skiiing,  More like bluebird early spring corn skiing. 

What are the 2 gumby moves that you see , not including solo unroped glacier skiing?

Who would you recommend as a competent teacher/guide to fill in knowledge gaps on glacier skiing?

I live in Everett,wa so I would be looking for someone locally. I know not all great guides are equally competent at sharing their knowledge so I am looking to the TAY community to help me not waste money or more importantly,time.

BTW i came to the sport rather late and I am a 50 year old fit skier ,zero resort days in the last few years, all b/c  usually 30-60 days depending on season.

Thanks for your feedback

Keith
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Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #30 on: 03/13/17, 07:46 PM »

@undermyownpower -- ski some glaciers with experienced partners, and the primary risks and hazards of Cascadian glacier travel will make themselves apparent.

This is important both to learn about the benign-to-rowdy spectrum of glaciers in the Cascades and to learn how you feel about moving through the glaciated environment.

I can't point the way forward for you, but can point out the particular concern of new/wind-blown snow at any time of the year. Thin bridges form quickly, and the sags that mark cracks in springtime can fill in.

The last photo in this article says more on the subject than I can: http://www.cascadeclassics.org/MountRainier/IngrahamDirect/Winter02/IngrahamDirect,Winter02.htm

As for soloists lost on Cascade glaciers, Kevin LaFleur comes immediately to mind.
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Scotsman
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #31 on: 03/13/17, 08:49 PM »

@undermyownpower.
my 2 cents.
#1learn crevasse rescue techniques( you are a climber so you may already know)... Volken's book or Alpine Climbing by Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley is my personal bible...can be practiced at home...I've used a tree to practice ascending.
#2 Timing.. I avoid early season touring on glaciers ( both solo and companion)I don't know intimately because of danger of  crevasse being covered by thin snow bridges..... Likewise in spring after a new significant snowfall..... generally my glacier touring has been in deep mid winter or when I'm sure the crevasses are showing.  I'd never tour on on glaciers solo in winter but frequently solo on glaciers i know well in spring.
#3 Know your glacier... they range for the benign to the fearsome. No problem soloing Paradise Glacier, Fryingpan, Interglacier, some parts of Emmons , Cowlitz, Russell and others like that but have been personally shit scared out of my mind on the Nebesa Glacier in the Wrangel- St Elias when a snow bridge collapsed just as I stepped off it(I was roped). Same on Denali...scared shitless. Conversely I took my wife down the Valley Blanche from the Italian side without being roped( with gear and harnesses  and a rope in pack) because the crevasses were mostly visible and the path well trod. Research your chosen glacier, where the crevasses are and make a plan to avoid them.  I'd never solo an unknown glacier the first time....ever.
#4 Carry crampons, ice -ax, randonee rope, ice screw at all times.... at least they give you a slim chance to get out if you fall in alone... slim.
#5  Always carry a phone ( if in cell range).or a Spot device if in  no cell/uncharted /remote territory.
#6 Chose where you stop/transition....you may ski over a well covered crevasse and not even know it's there especially if carrying some speed but if you end up standing on bridge you can break through.
#7 Read " Touching the Void" and contemplate ghastly death alone in crevasse so one is not kidding oneself as to risk one is taking.

These are mine.... others will have theirs .
Good luck.

Did I mention moats... not necessarily a glacier feature but moats scare me....likewise glide cracks. Thought of falling in a large moat and getting wedged 40 ft down hill under the snow haunts me. Avoid at all costs.
« Last Edit: 03/13/17, 09:10 PM by Scotsman » Logged

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kamtron
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #32 on: 03/14/17, 09:25 AM »

More like bluebird early spring corn skiing. 

I've always thought the glaciers were a bit safer in late spring and early summer, when the bridges are more consolidated, rather than early spring
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dberdinka
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #33 on: 03/15/17, 06:29 AM »

I'm aware of only 1 confirmed and 1 presumed unroped skier-crevasse fall - fatality in the last decade or so.  If anyone has more to add I'd be interested.

Tucker Taffe on 5-10-2011 at about 13k on the Nisqually Glacier (in a group of 4)

Kevin Lafleur on 4-26-2008 somewhere on the Coleman Deming Route (solo - presumed crevasse fall)

Interestingly these both occurred during the time of year I would have considered safest for ski travel when the snowpack is still deep and setting up.   While these are both large and very heavily crevassed glaciers they are also very popular routes, particularly the C-D which presumably would have had a beat in track.

So maybe your just not going to negate the risk completely.   However considering how many people are skiing glaciers unroped on any given day the odds of getting killed doing so appear to be very, very low.

And agreed with above sentiments about watching out for the shrunds.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #34 on: 03/15/17, 08:22 AM »

I'm aware of only 1 confirmed and 1 presumed unroped skier-crevasse fall - fatality in the last decade or so.  If anyone has more to add I'd be interested.

The following thread discusses a fatal crevasse fall while skiing by Peter Almerling in 2013. This was a little different because he fell while skiing on hard snow and slid into a crevasse:

http://www.turns-all-year.com/skiing_snowboarding/trip_reports/index.php?topic=29028.0

Quote
Interestingly these both occurred during the time of year I would have considered safest for ski travel when the snowpack is still deep and setting up. 

Here are some thoughts I wrote up a few years ago about the conditions that seem most conducive to crevasse falls on skis:

http://alpenglow.org/skiing/high-route-tips/part6-glaciers.html
« Last Edit: 03/15/17, 08:38 AM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
freeski
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #35 on: 03/16/17, 12:26 PM »

Or, you could wear a ladder like that guy who soloed denali in the winter a long time ago. He wrote a book about it. Worth a read.

Didn't a roped team on mt hood slip into a crack and the heli rescue team crashed the heli trying to save 'em?

shame we have to put those guys at risk do to our mistakes.
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joepa
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #36 on: 03/16/17, 01:40 PM »

Or, you could wear a ladder like that guy who soloed denali in the winter a long time ago. He wrote a book about it. Worth a read.


Talk about someone who is comfortable with solo travel!! I've enjoyed following Lonnie Dupre's adventures over the years. I'll have to check out his book.
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freeski
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #37 on: 03/16/17, 02:50 PM »

Talk about someone who is comfortable with solo travel!! I've enjoyed following Lonnie Dupre's adventures over the years. I'll have to check out his book.

i think it was lito tejada flores, may not be sure of the specific's however, i read the book years ago.

 He had the ladder strapped horizonal- front to back at waist level.

Thinking back on those old skiers and climbers it seems like they had it rougher in terms of gear limitations, travel approachs, unknown routes, and rescue services.

Soon, drones will be flying lattes up the mountain. I'll have mine with heated honey.
:-)

i'm glad i started out on crappy skis and  a dyed cloths line avy chord.

made me think that i should develop a skillset, sooner rather then later to improve my odds.

So i read every avy book, and mountaineer book i could lay my hands on.

 In bonington's book 'everest the hard way'
there's a last picture of mick burcke on his way to the top of everest, wearing sunglasses and and o2, he was slow on the climb to the top, so he proceeds solo and never to be seen again. I always admired that guy for his style.

that's the thing with solo travel, you really need to be confident in your skill to improve your odds of coming back.

The more you know, the more you can chip away at the odds, and the better your chances.   

but the weather closed in on mick that day on everest even with a high level skill set.

sometimes you just need luck on your side.

I agree with whoever said  know the terrain and weather patterns in a new high hazard area by gaining experience  traveling there in a small group.     

Or something like that.
« Last Edit: 03/16/17, 03:39 PM by freeski » Logged

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Chuck C
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #38 on: 03/17/17, 07:35 PM »


Didn't a roped team on mt hood slip into a crack and the heli rescue team crashed the heli trying to save 'em?


Yeah.  And If I remember right, the heli rolled over the guy they were trying to rescue.
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undermyownpower
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #39 on: 03/25/17, 03:16 AM »

Thanks for the tips on solo glacier skiing. Any ski guide suggestions? So as not to start a war shoot me a PM so I don't hurt anyones feelings.

Looking forward to the upcoming volcano season!
Keith
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freeski
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Re: Solo BC Skiers
« Reply #40 on: Yesterday at 09:21:34 AM »

Thanks for the tips on solo glacier skiing. Any ski guide suggestions? So as not to start a war shoot me a PM so I don't hurt anyones feelings.

Looking forward to the upcoming volcano season!
Keith


check to see if the company posts safety records on their web site.

safety records should have reports for all accidents like near-misses, injuries,and fatalities.

imo, if any guide service is not willing to provide this information to you,in an open and honest way, why would you trust them with your life?
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"I'm not making love to anyones wishes, only for that light I see." Cat Stevens
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