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About BCMatt

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  1. If Republicans stay in power then the Forest Service will be privatized then corporations will be happy to oblige. Right now the USFS is underfunded to enforce this system and yet it could work like a parking pass for winter access. There is more at work than education, evolving understanding of terrain and decision making are helping improve communication and hopefully will improve safety over time. Statistically professional groups make up less than 10% of fatalities in the last 30 years. Hikers and Climbers are about half of all fatalities in WA in that time with a large number of the accidents re-occuring in specific areas such as Granite Mt/Source Lake-Snoqualmie Pass & DC -Mt Rainier. Overcrowding in some areas and growing use in new areas is something we all need to work on. Intergroup communication is one area we can all improve on.
  2. Chris, You mention your well-known guide friend and your conversation yet cite Karl Klassen in the same post, who disagree with each other. Karl, the CAIC and NWAC all use the terminology of 'Low Probability, High Consequence' because it speaks to the complexity of the problem which also includes the difficulty in predicting how and when these avalanches can be triggered. Yes, they can be triggered by another avalanche, thus the high consequence if and when they happen. Multiple industries recognize this language as something that is very dangerous and training the general public in this language starts with their first avalanche course. All level 1 courses cover this topic when discussing PWL, Deep Slabs, Persistent, Wet and Glide avalanches. The other danger is crying wolf, and making it sound like you can trigger a Deep Slab easily then have the credibility eroded from the forecast because no one triggers a Deep Slab. The key part of the forecast, (CAC/CAIC/NWAC etc) is to use shared messaging on these problems. Karl speaks to the complexity very well and everyone else cites Karl because of this. In ten years this problem will still be Low Probability because of its depth unless skiers become obese. What I believe will happen is over time the communication between BC riders, Avalanche Forecasting and other agencies will improve and prevent needless risk. Overall nationally, the avalanche fatality rate is decreasing except in WA. where we are seeing wide spread growth in all BC winter activities. This too will change as we adjust to the new load of users and improve communication and awareness as has happened in Utah and Colorado.
  3. Unfortunately The Avalanche Handbook, Pg 67, Table 3.4:Persistent Forms lists Crusts as one of four Persistent Weak Layers (after Surface Hoar, Facets & Depth Hoar) specifically with weak bonds to snow pack. The other 3 Persistent Forms are Weak Grains which become weak layers through burial or metamorphism over time. No one disputes McClung and Schaerer on this. Some crusts are weak and have a rough surface which make them easier to bond to and break down.The Cornice image really is a reach since the person is not standing on it just too close for your comfort so the article is not the issue. Even the Skier Trigger is a term from the Avalanche Handbook and the Snow and Weather recording Guidelines to differentiate it from a Natural Trigger. It simply refers to what triggered the avalanche not who was buried it. Low probability high consequence is not down playing the problem, it is making clear how dangerous they are despite the difficulty in triggering them. The CAIC backs up NWAC's use of the phrase Low Probability High Consequence speaking to the treatment of the Deep Slab Problem-http://avalanche.state.co.us/forecasts/help/avalanche-problems/deep-persistent-slab/ Treatment and Avoidance Deep Persistent Slabs are very difficult to predict and manage. They are low-probability high-consequence events. If you are caught in one, you are unlikely to survive. Often the only evidence of the problem arrives too late as a large, deadly, and unexpected avalanche. The only real effective risk management strategy is to avoid areas where you suspect a Deep Persistent Slab. They are most commonly triggered from shallow spots in the snowpack. Avoiding these areas is one way to reduce risk. Give yourself a wide safety buffer to handle the uncertainty, potentially for the remainder of the season. Both The Avalanche Handbook and the CAIC are considered authorities that the rest of the community refers to when it comes to definitions and references. I hope that clarifies what Scruggs and NWAC are referring to and move on to the issues of reporting and transparency which are worth discussing with NWAC.