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01/16/18, 01:33 AM

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Author Topic: The Kendall Trap  (Read 2772 times)
snoqpass
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Posts: 283


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #25 on: 01/03/18, 06:07 PM »

Happy New Year Charlie!
I like your energy with this and have some feedback that I think will help contextualize Kendall in the history of avalanche fatalities of Snoqualmie Pass:

Since 1957 there have been 26 Avalanche Fatalities and several dozen documented near misses.
Sites where the fatalities have occurred are:
Source Lake/Alpental Valley- 12
Granite Mountain                  6
Red Mountain                       3
Mt Garfield                           2
Silver Peak                           1
Kendall                                1
I-90                                     1

I think giving Kendall the weight for this one tragic accident does a disservice to much more dangerous areas in the Snoqualmie Pass area.

The 2010 accident when examined as a case study reveals evidence of wind transport in your photo making missed visual clues part of the trap that you refer to.

It really is the 'Honey Trap' where cognitive bias that allows us to see something attractive and overlook the threat. Barry Blanchard said it best when describing his failed attempt on Nanga Parbat,'It was like having sex with death.' The immediate pleasure discounts the looming threat.

I would leave out suggested terrain since it is off topic of your project and requires more attention to detail.

The Snoqualmie Guidebook uses the ATES scale to describe the different zones and when you look at Kendall, the Knob and Kendall Trees are the only areas that actually offers Simple terrain. Any terrain on the west is very exposed to avalanche hazard. The Swathe was a result of a 1990 avalanche cycle that created the Phantom so all the tree skiing with the open slopes above could one day become another D4 slide path.

Keep up the good work!



There was a slide around 2008 off Alta Mt into Gold Creek that makes both those look puny
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flowing alpy
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Posts: 1224


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #26 on: 01/03/18, 06:47 PM »

tragic inbounds slide almost 11 years ago still hurts
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Charlie Hagedorn
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WWW
Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #27 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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Posts: 523


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #28 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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Posts: 57


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #29 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
Heli-Free North Cascades
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Posts: 611


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #30 on: 01/04/18, 05:32 PM »

Happy New Year Charlie!
I like your energy with this and have some feedback that I think will help contextualize Kendall in the history of avalanche fatalities of Snoqualmie Pass:

Since 1957 there have been 26 Avalanche Fatalities and several dozen documented near misses.
Sites where the fatalities have occurred are:
Source Lake/Alpental Valley- 12
Granite Mountain                  6
Red Mountain                       3
Mt Garfield                           2
Silver Peak                           1
Kendall                                1
I-90                                     1

I think giving Kendall the weight for this one tragic accident does a disservice to much more dangerous areas in the Snoqualmie Pass area.

The 2010 accident when examined as a case study reveals evidence of wind transport in your photo making missed visual clues part of the trap that you refer to.

It really is the 'Honey Trap' where cognitive bias that allows us to see something attractive and overlook the threat. Barry Blanchard said it best when describing his failed attempt on Nanga Parbat,'It was like having sex with death.' The immediate pleasure discounts the looming threat.

I would leave out suggested terrain since it is off topic of your project and requires more attention to detail.

The Snoqualmie Guidebook uses the ATES scale to describe the different zones and when you look at Kendall, the Knob and Kendall Trees are the only areas that actually offers Simple terrain. Any terrain on the west is very exposed to avalanche hazard. The Swathe was a result of a 1990 avalanche cycle that created the Phantom so all the tree skiing with the open slopes above could one day become another D4 slide path.

Keep up the good work!



you mean two tragic accidents.

As for cause and effect, it's hard to determine a why particular group goes to a particular location and suffers an accident.

Most likely a combination of different factors, including hueristics, can offer some correlations as to why an accident occurs.

However, I wouldn't buy into the Mountain Romance rhetoric written in books.

Guide Ken Wiley blamed his Guide-Outfitter boss for the decisions that Ken made detailed in his book "Buried", that resulted in multiple fatalities.

Many in that group had a gut feeling not to proceed and follow the other group with a particularly bad PWL within the snow pack.

Ken gave a multiple list of excuses,but it must be hard for anyone to deal with the fact that their decisions may have caused a fatality. I'd be lost for a long time if that happened to me, so I can certainly empathize.

If I remember correctly, there is a thread around here somewhere from the guy who was evacuated with life-threatening injuries in that 2010 Kendal accident.

I think that I remember reading that he forgot his Avalanche transceiver and was misinterpreting the ill gut feeling that he was feeling about the situation they were in.

The group split up and two members continued climbing up into Avalanche Terrain with two members below them about to descend also in connected avalanche Terrain.

The cause for the accident was that one group decided, for what ever reason, to continue up into unfamiliar Avalanche Terrain and triggered an avalanche down on another group.

A lot of tragic accidents can be avoided just by following best practice safety protocols.

BTW, there is no way that this analysis is "giving Kendall the weight for this one tragic accident does a disservice to much more dangerous areas in the Snoqualmie Pass area".
« Last Edit: 01/04/18, 05:54 PM by Heli-Free North Cascades » Logged

two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege, it will always be at the expense of truth and justice
C Hedges
BCSchonwald
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Posts: 39


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #31 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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Heli-Free North Cascades
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Posts: 611


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #32 on: 01/08/18, 04:15 PM »

Thank you HFNC for your sharp memory and analysis, should submit it to The Avalanche Review.
good one. Grin

Hey I got a joke for you, how do you get a guide to stop talking about himself? Grin

Ask him about his safety record. Grin

Here's another one you probably heard. Grin

 how do you know which person at the party is a guide? Grin

He'll tell you. Grin
 Grin Grin
« Last Edit: 01/08/18, 04:40 PM by Heli-Free North Cascades » Logged

two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege, it will always be at the expense of truth and justice
C Hedges
haggis
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Posts: 391


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #33 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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Heli-Free North Cascades
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Posts: 611


Re: The Kendall Trap
« Reply #34 on: 01/08/18, 09:20 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
I do not find those sorts of super inflated ego behaviors in female guides. So not sexist at all and it wasn't intended to be that way.

But I don't mean to shatter your illusion so feel free to believe whatever you like.

Sorry, Heli-free North Cascades it is. But you can call me Chris if you prefer that.
« Last Edit: 01/08/18, 09:24 PM by Heli-Free North Cascades » Logged

two sets of principles. They are the principles of power and privilege and the principles of truth and justice. If you pursue truth and justice it will always mean a diminution of power and privilege. If you pursue power and privilege, it will always be at the expense of truth and justice
C Hedges
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