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Author Topic: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel  (Read 18573 times)
Crystal Patrol
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Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« on: 12/10/17, 02:55 PM »

Now that Crystal Mountain is open we ask that everyone adheres to our uphill travel policy. You can find the link on our website here.

Here it is in a nutshell: when we are not doing avalanche control anywhere in the ski area we allow uphill travel on designated runs. Those runs may change slightly based on our crowds and conditions. Everyone skinning up within our ski area boundary must check in with the patrol every day (one per group is okay) in order to find out the approved route.

The Mine to Market Road (the cat track that heads to the Gold Hills Cabins) is outside of our ski area boundary and always open to uphill travel. Also, we can no longer allow uphill travel in Southback now that we are open for the season. This is an area where we do avalanche control, and any uphill travel is strictly prohibited.

We’ve noticed a skin track in the Exit Chute and some posts on social media of skiers in this area. If this continues we will have to restrict all uphill travel within our ski area boundary at all times. Don’t be the guy/gal that ruins it for everybody. Just to clarify: it’s okay to travel into the part of Silver Basin that’s not in our ski area boundary, but not okay to skin/hike into Southback, which extends from the top of the Throne to the Three Way Exit Chute.

Feel free to stop in and ask questions at the patrol station near the bottom of the gondola. We also have a snow safety board with recent pits and forecasts.
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Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #1 on: 12/10/17, 05:40 PM »

Question:  I was touring outside the permit boundary a few weeks ago (1st day the lifts were spinning actually)   My party checked in with Ski Patrol in the morning.

When we stopped by the ski patrol office at 3:45pm I discovered that the Crystal Ski Patrol had tried calling my and my ski partner's cell phones several (20?) minutes earlier.  Since the phones were in airplane mode to conserve battery, we didn't answer.   Crystal Ski Patrol then called my emergency contact -- which freaked her out.

So I'm wondering if calling the cell numbers of backcountry parties is now something that is part of Crystal's "sweep" procedure?   
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kneel turner
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #2 on: 12/10/17, 06:28 PM »

So no uphill travel within south Back? No more Throne/King/Threeway access? What a shame.
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kneel turner
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #3 on: 12/10/17, 06:36 PM »

BTW, funny (not) that the marketing department uses those photos on Facebook as promotional material.
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jeremyallyn
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #4 on: 12/10/17, 07:58 PM »

Crystal Patrol - I think it would be very helpful if you post a USGS topo map (1:24,000 scale with the line drawn on it) on your website in addition to the FatMap screen shot. Your description of Southback vs. Silver Basin is good, but it would be even better if it was accompanied by a topo. A lot of folks have a hard time placing local names and runs once they get in the terrain (especially in bad vis, or if they're new to the area) and I'm sure they would appreciate a real map plus the aerial shot. Thanks!
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altasnob
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #5 on: 12/10/17, 09:24 PM »

Here's what I believe patrol is saying


* silver_basin_terrain_TAY.jpg (195.44 KB, 799x550 - viewed 1688 times.)

* silver_basin_topo_TAY.jpg (246.46 KB, 690x464 - viewed 1716 times.)
« Last Edit: 12/10/17, 09:29 PM by altasnob » Logged
altasnob
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #6 on: 12/10/17, 09:31 PM »

Here is the "exit chute" skiers left side of three-way that they are referring to. Not ok to skin up (so you must go the long way to get to Crystal Lakes, if that is your destination).

Crystal's uphill policy post from last year.
« Last Edit: 12/11/17, 08:07 AM by altasnob » Logged
Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #7 on: 12/11/17, 04:01 PM »

Question:  I was touring outside the permit boundary a few weeks ago (1st day the lifts were spinning actually)   My party checked in with Ski Patrol in the morning.

When we stopped by the ski patrol office at 3:45pm I discovered that the Crystal Ski Patrol had tried calling my and my ski partner's cell phones several (20?) minutes earlier.  Since the phones were in airplane mode to conserve battery, we didn't answer.   Crystal Ski Patrol then called my emergency contact -- which freaked her out.

So I'm wondering if calling the cell numbers of backcountry parties is now something that is part of Crystal's "sweep" procedure?   


Randy,

That's not part of our normal procedure. Not sure what happened there. We have actually just changed the "backcountry registration" process to be entirely self check-in and out. There's a clipboard on our Snow Safety Board in the patrol locker room, and you can fill it out yourself. We use this in the event that a friend/loved one reports you missing. We don't expect everyone to check out, especially if it's after hours. But it is helpful.
 
For uphill travel within our ski area boundary, you still need to talk to the dispatcher. Hope that helps.
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Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #8 on: 12/11/17, 04:02 PM »

Crystal Patrol - I think it would be very helpful if you post a USGS topo map (1:24,000 scale with the line drawn on it) on your website in addition to the FatMap screen shot. Your description of Southback vs. Silver Basin is good, but it would be even better if it was accompanied by a topo. A lot of folks have a hard time placing local names and runs once they get in the terrain (especially in bad vis, or if they're new to the area) and I'm sure they would appreciate a real map plus the aerial shot. Thanks!


This is a great point. We are working on putting out a better map soon. Stay tuned!
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Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #9 on: 12/11/17, 04:05 PM »

Here's what I believe patrol is saying

This is precisely it. You just can't skin up where we do avalanche control. That's what we are trying to avoid. There are other areas well within our ski area boundary that have always been closed to uphill travel. It's because we do AC there. I realize that 5, 10, 20 years ago we allowed it. But with the uptick in uphill travel we have to take a more serious stand.
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Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #10 on: 12/11/17, 04:09 PM »

So no uphill travel within south Back? No more Throne/King/Threeway access? What a shame.

I hear you. We tried for several years to find a way to make this work. But to no avail. And yep, marketing shared a post that was taken in SE Trees. Big oops. We are working on getting everyone on board. It's an uphill battle (no pun intended).

This year it's been especially hard because Chair 6 and Southback haven't been open from the top much. Currently, you can hike up Powder Pass to top of Chair 6 and across to Southback. The key is that you have to enter through our gates and read our signs. It's a liability thing. Thanks for understanding.
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Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #11 on: 12/11/17, 06:08 PM »

Crystal Patrol:  Thanks for the update on check-in/check-out/closing procedure -- looks like my experience was likely an opening day glitch. 

Anyone that want to know: The Crystal Ski Patrol's blog has a useful map of boundary between "Southback" and the rest of Silver Basin.



There is also this description:
Quote
Southback vs. Silver Basin
Southback sits within Silver Basin, but does not take up the entire basin. It is still okay to skin up into the section of Silver Basin that is not within our ski area boundary. Before getting to the “airstrip”–the long flat section at the base of Southback–turn left as you travel uphill (marked above with the red star), and skin along the climber’s left flank of the airstrip, heading towards the base of Chicken Head and Triple F. Joe’s Badass Shoulder and the climber’s left flank of Threeway are outside of our ski area boundary. It’s still okay to tour into these areas.
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Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #12 on: 12/11/17, 06:36 PM »

Currently, you can hike up Powder Pass to top of Chair 6 and across to Southback. The key is that you have to enter through our gates and read our signs. It's a liability thing. Thanks for understanding.

So to confirm current policy -- one may skin up along the edges of "Arwines" (lower and upper) , along "Lucky Shot" to "Powder Pass" and then right along the eastern edge of "Kempers permanently closed area" to the summit of "Silver Queen" and then follow the normal lift assisted skier's route over to Southback?    If so -- can one start skinning before the lifts start spinning or does one need to wait until the area is open and control work on powder bowl is completed ?

What about skinning up "Queens Run" to base of "Chair 6" and then working up "Hamburger Bowl" to access "Southback Gate #1"  (Names from the FATMAP application)

Thanks in advance.
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Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #13 on: 12/12/17, 07:18 AM »

So to confirm current policy -- one may skin up along the edges of "Arwines" (lower and upper) , along "Lucky Shot" to "Powder Pass" and then right along the eastern edge of "Kempers permanently closed area" to the summit of "Silver Queen" and then follow the normal lift assisted skier's route over to Southback?    If so -- can one start skinning before the lifts start spinning or does one need to wait until the area is open and control work on powder bowl is completed ?

What about skinning up "Queens Run" to base of "Chair 6" and then working up "Hamburger Bowl" to access "Southback Gate #1"  (Names from the FATMAP application)

Thanks in advance.

The route up Little Shot to Powder Pass is not always open. This is why you must check in with patrol to see the approved route of the day. On weekends and busy days, we usually don't let people travel uphill due to crowding. Right now Lucky Shot is the only way off the upper mountain, and so it's closed to uphill travel. Hiking up to Campbell Basin is not a route we ever approve. It's simply too crowded on those runs. We also want people to hike up from Powder Pass right now so that they read the signs. This is how we manage all of our avalanche prone terrain. You have to go through a gate and read the signs. This configuration should only last a little while longer. To access Southback without being a customer of Crystal, you'd need to head over to Morse Creek, then to Crystal Lakes and drop into Southback from the top. On certain non-busy days in the spring, when the avalanche threat below Powder Bowl is non-existent, we will allow uphill travel up Little Shot. But it isn't the norm.
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Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #14 on: 12/12/17, 07:36 AM »

The route up Little Shot to Powder Pass is not always open. This is why you must check in with patrol to see the approved route of the day. On weekends and busy days, we usually don't let people travel uphill due to crowding. Right now Lucky Shot is the only way off the upper mountain, and so it's closed to uphill travel. Hiking up to Campbell Basin is not a route we ever approve. It's simply too crowded on those runs. We also want people to hike up from Powder Pass right now so that they read the signs. This is how we manage all of our avalanche prone terrain. You have to go through a gate and read the signs. This configuration should only last a little while longer. To access Southback without being a customer of Crystal, you'd need to head over to Morse Creek, then to Crystal Lakes and drop into Southback from the top. On certain non-busy days in the spring, when the avalanche threat below Powder Bowl is non-existent, we will allow uphill travel up Little Shot. But it isn't the norm.

Reading this, it sounds like the option to tour up through the resort to powder pass for practical purposes doesn't exist on weekend days during the winter.
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Doug Hutchinson
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #15 on: 12/15/17, 11:50 AM »

Thank you Crystal Patrol for striving hard to strike a good balance between skier safety and access. One of the reasons I switched to Crystal from another resort is because the Crystal Patrol is obviously focused on providing a great customer experience. Keep up the good work.
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flowing alpy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #16 on: 12/17/17, 07:33 AM »

indeed, more folks should follow this example and make the southern resort their go to destination as well. good on you Doug for making this positive decision to switch to crystal and their great customer service model, they have no time for mediocracy.
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Crystal Patrol
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #17 on: 12/24/17, 02:30 PM »

Thanks Doug. Appreciate it.
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BCSchonwald
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #18 on: 12/27/17, 08:06 PM »

Freeski, again trolling does not further the discussion. This is WA State Law, not some arbitrary punishment. If the ski area determines a boundary then it is up to us, the bc community to respect this or lose the 'privilege' of touring uphill through a ski area. The idea you wish to perpetuate that the public lands the ski area is on is open to all goes against the actual law that is enforced by the the sheriff and state troopers. Do you argue with a trooper who pull you over for speeding that it is your right to speed because the highways are public land and we can drive however we want?

When one member of this community disrespects a ski area's request, the ski area cannot perform an inquest, just cut off access so the buffer becomes wider to keep poachers away.

This discussion really needs to focus on how we can develop a local culture of accountability, then Crystal, Alpental, Baker and Stevens can work with us as a trusted partner.
WA State Law
https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=79A.45.070
'Skiing in an area or trail closed to the public—Penalty.
A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if the person knowingly skis in an area or on a ski trail, owned or controlled by a ski area operator, that is closed to the public and that has signs posted indicating the closure
.'
[ 2011 c 276 § 1.]
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Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #19 on: 12/28/17, 09:08 PM »


Does crystal punish all its paying customers when one of its paying customers ignores the ski area policy


Yeah -- I think so -- look at the trailmap,  there are a number of "permanently closed" areas that are that way because of fatalities.
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Good2Go
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #20 on: 12/29/17, 11:40 AM »

Ski area land is leased for a private purpose.  They are given broad discretion to operate their business.  They don't need much reason to bar you.  Look at the snowboarder suits against Alta as an example.  You don't have a right to skin in a ski area.

As for guides, etc.  Lots of people die in ski areas.  Do you see them advertising that fact?  Guides make you sign a liability waiver.  It's a contract.  It's full of examples of how you may be hurt or killed.  The law looks to that document as the critical notice that shifts responsibility from the provider to the purchaser.  There is no conspiracy here, you're just clueless how these things work in the real world.
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Good2Go
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #21 on: 12/29/17, 04:44 PM »

A liability waver is not a legal get out of jail free card. If negligence can be proven it's not worth the paper it's written on. Welcome to the "real world" Wink


Ha!  You seem so sure of yourself when you're wrong.  Does that usually work for you?  Waivers trump negligence.  It's recklessness that can overcome a waiver.  And that's very hard to prove nowadays. The case law on this topic is mature and the waivers have evolved accordingly.  Real world stuff.
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Good2Go
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #22 on: 12/29/17, 05:38 PM »

Ha!  This is kinda fun, like stealing candy from a baby.  Problem is your analysis is flawed.  These type of leases have been extensively interpreted by courts already, e.g., the snowboarders who sued Alta.  And those cases establish my original point, the operator has broad discretion to determine what works best for their business, including who can access the leased property.  The reasons they can offer for banning touring will all pass muster IMO (e.g., preservation of snow for paying customers (i.e., the resource that the lease is based upon), skinners don't obey rules (true!), skinners add liability risk to the operation with no commensurate receipt of value, etc.).  You seem to think there is some constitutional right to access all public land. That's far from the case.  But, by all means I encourage you to start suing ASAP.  Talk is cheap.  Prove me wrong.
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Randy
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #23 on: 12/29/17, 07:54 PM »

Could you elaborate on your statement with some actual facts?

 If what you were saying is true, sounds like the patrol is closing areas that are extremely hazardous, however they're obviously still leaving areas open that are relatively safe.

I have no problem with actual safety concerns being implemented and hazardous areas closed.

....

I believe this incident http://media.nwac.us.s3.amazonaws.com/media/filer_public/18/6a/186a5299-1364-4504-8de7-551f62691e26/cmt_kempers_accdnt-02-03-01.pdf

Is part of the reason that the Kempers area is permanently closed.

I recall some fatalities in the "Rockface" area in the pre-internet age -- not easy to find online citations for those.
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BCSchonwald
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Re: Crystal Mountain Uphill Travel
« Reply #24 on: 12/30/17, 11:23 AM »

I agree with Good2Go, this is like dog chasing its tail;
WA State Law protects the right of ski area closures, which answers the question in the USFS Permit.
https://app.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=79A.45.070
'Skiing in an area or trail closed to the public—Penalty.
A person is guilty of a misdemeanor if the person knowingly skis in an area or on a ski trail, owned or controlled by a ski area operator, that is closed to the public and that has signs posted indicating the closure.'
[ 2011 c 276 § 1.]

As far as I know there is no case law denying public access when ski areas have closures going against the ski areas because the law and the lease permit support their decisions.

Permanent closures at Crystal such as 'the Waterfall' have two fatalities and Rock Face is an unstable zone above the only easy run down Kelly's Gap Road, so there is history of denying public access for safety.

I would be interested to see exactly where in the Constitution, its Amendments, the Federalist Papers, and/or any Supreme Court decisions that state the public has unobstructed access to public lands that have been to private entities providing public recreation services.

As for Commercial Use, every time a client/customer signs up for a trip they have a right to ask about our safety record and when they sign a waiver they are informed of the risks. If you read all 13 listed Hazards and Risks then hopefully you are informed and in a court these need to proved against negligence of the company and its employees. Most people may not read the entire list, which includes(#13) Fatigue, Lack of Coordination and ability to follow instructions, which seems to be the case here.

See Content of Waiver below:

Please read and be certain you understand the implications of signing. Express assumption of Risk Associated with Mountaineering, Climbing, and Related Activities. I, do hereby affirm and acknowledge that I have been fully informed of the inherent hazards and risks associated with Mountaineering, Rock Climbing, Ski Touring and Indoor Climbing activities, transportation of equipment related to the activities, and traveling to and from activities sites of which I am about to engage in. Inherent hazards and risks include but are not limited to: 1. Risk of injury from the activity and equipment utilized in Mountaineering, Rock Climbing and Indoor Climbing is significant including the potential for permanent disability and death. 2. Possible equipment failure and/or malfunction of my own or others’ equipment. 3. My own negligence and/or the negligence of others, including employees, agents, independent contractors or representatives of ________ , including but not limited to operator error. 4. Injury to hands, fingers, feet, and toes, including but not limited to inflammation and/or strain of muscles ligaments and/or tendons, nerve damage or compression, and broken bones. 5. Injury from falling may occur from exposure to high altitude, which may affect judgment and coordination, or from not paying close attention to your climbing or others climbing with or near you. 6. Broken bones, severe injuries to the head, neck, and back which may result in severe physical impairment or even death. 7. Discharge of weapons in or near the area of activity. 8. Cold weather and heat related injuries and illness including but not limited to frostnip, frost bite, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, sunburn, hypothermia, and dehydration. 9. Exposure to outdoor elements, including but not limited to avalanche, rock fall, inclement weather, thunder and lightning, severe and or varied wind, temperature or weather conditions. 10. Attack by or encounter with insects, reptiles, and/or animals. 11. Accidents or illness occurring in remote places where there are no available medical facilities. 12. Fatigue chill, and/or dizziness, which may diminish my/our reaction time and increase the risk of accident. 13. My sense of balance, physical coordination, and ability to follow instructions. *I understand the description of these risks is not complete and that unknown or unanticipated risks may result in injury, illness, or death. Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims and Indemnity Agreement In consideration for being permitted to participate in any way in Mountaineering, Rock Climbing and Indoor Climbing and related activities, I hereby agree, acknowledge and appreciate that: I HEREBY RELEASE AND HOLD HARMLESS WITH RESPECT TO ANY AND ALL INJURY, DISABILITY, DEATH, or loss or damage to person or property, WHETHER CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE, the following named persons or entities, herein referred to as release. ______ To release the releasees, their officers, directors, employees, representatives, agents, and volunteers, and vessels from liability and responsibility whatsoever and for any claims or causes of action that I, my estate, heirs, survivors, executors, or assigns may have for personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death arising from the above activities whether caused by activity or passive negligence of the releasees or otherwise. By executing the document, I agree to hold the releasees harmless and indemnify them in conjunction with any injury, disability, death, or loss or damage to person or property that may occur as a result of engaging in the above activities. By entering into this Agreement, I am not relying on any oral or written representation or statement made by the releasees, other than what is set forth in this Agreement. This release shall be binding to the fullest extent permitted by law. If any provisions of the release is found to be unenforceable, the remaining terms shall be enforced.
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