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Author Topic: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.  (Read 5749 times)

DLottmann

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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2013, 07:22:46 AM »

Om, they had arranged to stay at MWOBS that night, which I am sure also contributed to their decision to keep going at such a late hour. They were also getting a ride down the next day in a snowcat.
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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2013, 10:05:38 AM »

Extremely well written analysis of the incident. I strongly urge everyone to fully read it. It certainly does point out a variety of things that are worth considering if you are planning on spending time in the mountains.
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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2013, 12:25:22 PM »

Yes, well done.

I like the part where One of the members told the ranger that he's the one that thought they were idiots for climbing central that day. While I've never been called an idiot by any of the rangers for climbing, they certainly have questioned my judgement.

The other interesting point that I also thought about was how long it took team members to get off Central. Granted 3 of the 4 rope teams had been swept by the avalanche, and I would think rightfully so very shaken, but why they didn't send at least one member to try and facilitate rescue is interesting.
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lucky luke

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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #36 on: January 25, 2013, 12:38:15 PM »

Extremely well written analysis of the incident. I strongly urge everyone to fully read it.

Here is, at my knowledge, the biggest mistake:

In this incident, the group made the decision to climb Central Gully after receiving the weather report at the Harvard Cabin. When a Snow Ranger arrived at the Harvard Cabin shortly thereafter, the group had already decided they would climb Central. The Snow Ranger attempted to discuss snow stability with a gathering of several group members, but the group deferred judgment to the group leaders who were inside the cabin at the time

When you go to a trip like that, you don't want any body to anoid us with a "don't do that it is too dangerous". it is mostly what the ranger did. It is negative form of helping. Focussing on moderate, low or high is very subjective and nobody understannd it.

Talk about breaking point, keeping on belay, not climbing under an other party (keep the team togheter)...not climbing in avalanche path ... If you don't know self arrest, stay with some one who know it... It is obvious that they did the ice bulge one at a time, where there is not a lot of danger, but on the most dangerous terrain they climb without any organisation (climbing the team as one person).

Ask the question: How can we climb safely the Mt Washington?

They said: "Just prior to the avalanche, the lead team allowed the second team to pass them, so that they could get better set up for filming." At that moment, the party is concentrate on filming and don't pay much attention to the snow field. all the other analysis is just a testimony in favor of the avalanche awardness.

The reality is that they walk on deep snow voluntarly to take picture with a better angle. The danger was always there whatever the avalanche danger.

The ranger said the avalanche risk is too hight, and the party red book which said that even the higher risk in mt Washington is nothing compare to Mt Mckinley.   
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 12:47:06 PM by lucky luke »
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eyebolter

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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #37 on: January 25, 2013, 04:45:34 PM »

For once I agree with you Luke.  It was a prime example of when to change to plan B;  Lions Head for example.  It was plan A all the way, conditions be dammed.  The morons going out into the middle of the gully to get better pictures just takes the cake.

Funny thing is that I almost died descending Diagonal after third classing Yale on a "low" avalanche day, which was our plan B becase the dike wasn't  in yet.   The best laid plans can go awry in the mountains.  In retrospect, there were dozens of times in the ravine when I could have bit it that seemed more dangerous than the day I was actually in an avalanche ( started by my partner descending above me).  Avalanches happen, and there is no way to be 100% safe.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2013, 04:50:27 PM by eyebolter »
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lucky luke

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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2013, 02:36:46 AM »

For once I agree with you Luke.  [...]  The morons going out into the middle of the gully to get better pictures just takes the cake.
Thank you to agree with me...

It is a mistake to go in the middle of the snow slab, the climber said: "he was climbing through soft snow about thigh-deep or waist-deep"... but I don't think that he is a morron

If you swim in a lake and you swim to the middle of the lake, you have water every where around you. It is dangerous for nothing. When you climb a mountain and you arrive at the summit, you have one of the most spectacular moment in your life. It is one reason why climbing is so attractive and so ridicule to scare people at a point that you suggest them to hike lion head trail instead of central couloir.With a little bit more leadership of two person, they would have been safe.

You have a leader of the team, who brought eleven climber to close to the top. Thinking that his job is done, he let the second party past to the summit and stay with the rest of the team to make sure that every think is O.K. He made a mistake not saying to be carefull at the snow field, but they were pratically at the summit.

The second party had also a leader. Is it the one who walk into the snow? I don't know. But the leader have also to take a decision: taking beautifull picture or secure is party. As the leader of the team let them go. The second party probably think that they were safe now...and, after a full day in safe ground, they underestimated the danger of the montain...even with a moderate avalanche danger and a ranger who talked to them. We are in the case of the women of mt jackson who, with the wind in her back, hike to the summit. And, when she turned back to follow her foot print, she realized that she can be lost if she try to follow her path. She stayed in the mountain doing jumper jack all night long.

Underestimation is not stupid...it is just that some one don't have enought experiences or are distracted by some thing else (beautifull women for example).  You drive, try to reach your cell phone...and have an accident... or you coffee fall on your leg... These are mistakes, you are not stupid, but the result is... Today, the people are not son of climber who climb with daughter of climber. Today, the climber come from every where and they have to know that basic technique exist and they have to train there technique to be able to estimate a real dangerous. All technique are easy because under stress or other consideration, one most be able to use it. But it is not because you read about a french technique, pied en canard or an other like pidgeon hole, that you are able to do it in the cliff when your life is at risk.

We saw that the avalanche awardness is no longer an advantage because, even if the people of the team talked to a ranger and saw the avalanche condition, they climbed. Avalanche awardness said: O.K. today it is low, go for it and if you don't have experiment, we will laught at you or today I don't want to rescue you in the mountain, so do some thing else.  Sad 

   
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 02:51:16 AM by lucky luke »
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DLottmann

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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2013, 09:23:58 PM »


...It is one reason why climbing is so attractive and so ridicule to scare people at a point that you suggest them to hike lion head trail instead of central couloir.With a little bit more leadership of two person, they would have been safe.

You have a leader of the team, who brought eleven climber to close to the top... He made a mistake not saying to be carefull at the snow field, but they were pratically at the summit.

Underestimation is not stupid...it is just that some one don't have enought experiences or are distracted by some thing else (beautifull women for example).  You drive, try to reach your cell phone...and have an accident... or you coffee fall on your leg... These are mistakes, you are not stupid...

We saw that the avalanche awardness is no longer an advantage because, even if the people of the team talked to a ranger and saw the avalanche condition, they climbed. Avalanche awardness said: O.K. today it is low, go for it and if you don't have experiment, we will laught at you or today I don't want to rescue you in the mountain, so do some thing else.  Sad

1) No one tried to “scare” them into doing something different. Instead rangers, care-takers, and locals tried to share local knowledge about the current conditions so that they could hopefully come to the conclusion that taking a slow moving 12 person party into Central Gully that day was perhaps riskier than they may have thought...

2) They were not “close” to the top. Given the 8 hours it took them to get from Harvard Cabin to almost topping out Central they were 4+ hours from the summit still given the conditions.

3) Underestimation may not be “stupid” but ignoring the advice of professionals and regular locals is quite questionable.

4) Avalanche awareness is not an advantage? How can not being aware of the risks and how to best manage them not be an advantage? No one is laughing at anyone for climbing in LOW conditions, but if the danger is high rescuers do need to protect themselves, as some have died while trying to help those whose risk acceptance, or ignorance, led them to untimely demise. Avalanche education starts with a desire to learn what you don’t know, and realize you will never know everything. It’s a lifelong process, but I find it challenging and exciting, and I’m glad to live in a community with multiple organizations that are into helping people manage risk in the mountains.
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lucky luke

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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2013, 10:29:47 PM »

2) They were not “close” to the top. Given the 8 hours it took them to get from Harvard Cabin to almost topping out Central they were 4+ hours from the summit still given the conditions.

Dman there is a picture of where was the team with that text:

"The picture indicates our best estimates of where the rope teams were located at the time of the avalanche. It was approximately 4:30pm when the avalanche was triggered. The party at the top was not caught or carried, though they may have slid a short distance. The second-highest team was caught and carried over the ice bulge to the base of the gully"

You are completely blind. We talk about safety and people life, not just an ego trip to have the true. The climb have a little bit more than a thousand feet. Four party with rope of 150 make 600 feets. There is people every where in the couloir. Thje second party who take the lead was very close to the alpine garder where the route end.

People trust you and you gave wrong information. Every body can see on the picture where was the party.

It is the same with the avalanche awardness. You focus on a scale of danger and the people don't understand all the information about how to climb safely.

Before, people learns techniques and know what to do. For them, it is usefull to know that today crossing a snow field is more dangerous than when the condition was low. it is a tool to take better decision.

But to take decision...you most know your technique and most people don't even know what is the meaning of leadership in a party, they don't know how to avoid a danger and they don't know how to evaluate if it is a hasard or just a scary situation. They just know that moderate is lower than considerable and higher than low.   
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JBrochu

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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2013, 11:08:30 PM »

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DLottmann

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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #42 on: January 27, 2013, 06:10:27 AM »

By "top" I meant summit, not top of gully.

We spend maybe 45 minutes out of the 24 hours of an AIARE 1 course talking about the avalanche danger scale. It's important to understand the scale beyond just low/mod/con but it is only one piece of a large puzzle.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 06:27:44 AM by DMan »
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DLottmann

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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2013, 03:44:23 PM »

UPDATE: Letter to the editor for Conway Daily Sun from the group leader, Andy:

http://ascentsofhonor.org/2013/02/06/a-letter-to-the-editor/

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darwined

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Re: Avalanche in either Tucks or Huntington on Thursday.
« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2013, 07:06:59 PM »

UPDATE: Letter to the editor for Conway Daily Sun from the group leader, Andy:

http://ascentsofhonor.org/2013/02/06/a-letter-to-the-editor/

After reading that, I feel a little bit guilty for judging these guys. :(
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