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09/21/18, 06:15 PM

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Author Topic: The Kendall Trap  (Read 5359 times)
Charlie Hagedorn
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Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #25 on: 01/03/18, 07:55 PM »

Thanks for your perspective, Matt. I'll work in more context, noting that other places, especially the Source Lake drainage, pose substantially greater proximate avalanche hazard.

It was never the intent to make the claim that Kendall was the most dangerous place at the Pass, but rather to point out that it is a place that is subtly-dangerous for those both savvy and risk-accepting enough to seek safer places while storm skiing.

Of the areas enumerated in the list of fatalities above, Kendall is the only place that I have ever regularly storm-skied. Avalanche hazard, access, or both rule the rest out for me.

I do worry that highlighting Kendall will draw more skiers to it, exacerbating the skier-density concern, but feel that getting active discussion going is worth that risk.

Thank you all for the feedback; it is all useful Smiley.
« Last Edit: 01/03/18, 08:00 PM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged

garyabrill
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Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #26 on: 01/04/18, 09:18 AM »

Although Kendall is but one of a nearly infinite number of hazardous backcountry slopes, it certainly sets one up to make a bad decision and as such is an excellent example of a trap. I would make a few points:

1) Normally when one would ski Kendall is when there is a substantial amount of new or recent storm snow because of the old growth tree skiing. And as Charlie states the nature of the terrain changes dramatically at the top of the trees from being relatively avalanche safe to having the potential for great risk. Snowpack evaluation - and one would not likely dig any kind of profile - to make such evaluation below the top of the trees is essentially irrelevant for slopes above those same trees because of rather obvious wind effects but also solar effects.

2) Besides the aforementioned cross-loading because of the fetch of a west wind, the slopes above the trees as the angle increases become increasingly solar affected. That could mean a progressively harder suncrust with increasing angle, or at times when cold weather follows sunshine a faceted and potentially unsupportive weak crust (for adherence of new snow).

3) At certain times surface hoar could form on the open slopes above the trees and be covered by new snow. In either this case or in the cases above in #2 it might be possible to remotely trigger slopes above.

4) The steep slopes above the trees present a poor choice of terrain on many occasions when one might be expected to have chosen Kendall trees as a destination - when there has been substantial recent snow. For myself, having skied the area since the 1980's, I have only on two occasions gone above the top of the trees particularly towards the center or left of the main upper slope. There is no safe route above the top of the trees. Any route chosen has nearly continuous exposure to avalanche terrain. In addition the slope is large and if the slope releases the entire volume of sliding snow may come down onto a skier or group of skiers from above.

5) Over the long run one should expect that one's evaluation of stability will eventually be wrong. Although each stability evaluation may seem to be a good one, that will not be the case for all such judgements. The goal has to be not to put oneself in a situation where high consequences will certainly result in the event that one's analysis is wrong. When high consequences are possible one has to be extremely selective in exposing oneself to those consequences. There are times when the stability of the snowpack is a near certainty based on snowpack structure, and there are plenty of instances where the amount of sliding snow does not present a significant burial risk.
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NMaddox
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Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #27 on: 01/04/18, 12:33 PM »


5) Over the long run one should expect that one's evaluation of stability will eventually be wrong. Although each stability evaluation may seem to be a good one, that will not be the case for all such judgements. The goal has to be not to put oneself in a situation where high consequences will certainly result in the event that one's analysis is wrong. When high consequences are possible one has to be extremely selective in exposing oneself to those consequences. There are times when the stability of the snowpack is a near certainty based on snowpack structure, and there are plenty of instances where the amount of sliding snow does not present a significant burial risk.

YES!
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"All humans realize they are loved when witnessing the dawn... Absolved by light we decide to go on." -Rufus Wainwright
BCSchonwald
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Posts: 38


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #28 on: 01/08/18, 10:56 AM »

Thank you HFNC for your sharp memory and analysis, should submit it to The Avalanche Review.
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haggis
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Posts: 407


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #29 on: 01/08/18, 08:36 PM »

I thought there were lots of female guides too, statement appears a bit sexist to me.

Also, can you go back to Freeskier or whatever you were before, the HFNC is confusing me.
Thanks
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