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glassgowkiss

Applauding risk acceptance beyond your own limits

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High stakes in that competition.  It's all fun until.....

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the fact the new guy has already hurt himself badly on several occasions seems a pretty clear indication of where that'll ened up, and soon...

 

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Brad has been doing what he's been doing for years, he's not much of an up and comer, or "new guy". As far as where he's ending up soon, my guess is the valley. The season is almost here.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/16/2018 at 9:38 AM, CascadeClimber said:

My experience with reports and pits are that they are far, far too generalized to helpfully predict conditions that are highly localized. You can dig a pit that is entirely solid, go 50 feet around a corner and get the chop from a wind slab. In some ways, people with a ton of education about avy risk assessment seem to get into more trouble because they become over-confident about the accuracy of what I see as severely flawed assessment procedures.

Agree.

Understanding the basic science of stable-unstable systems and the variables that affect that system are helpful in performing risk analysis.

Snow, (complex natural system)stability-instability is an energy equation with many variables to consider.

I find it useful to know what those variables are within the system, how they interact, and keep track of those variables  as consistently as possible.

Pits can not and should not be considered a short cut to what really needs to be learned and the time needed to observe the mountains.

I wonder how many people give pits alot of weight in risk analysis, even though all the material on the subject warns against that practice?

For a simple read at k-12 level (my level)

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://ngss.sdcoe.net/Disciplinary-Core-Ideas/DCI-Physical-Sciences/PS2C-Stability-and-Instability-in-Physical-Systems&ved=2ahUKEwjAqZ3m8oraAhUDzmMKHWhuAn8QFjAAegQICBAB&usg=AOvVaw297Ih2hWtyCP2zm6REpEZG

Story to convey just a few variables.

A friend of mine, years ago, dug a pit at the top of south side Blue Peak, Wa Pass, after the group skied and skinned back up. He cracked the supporting crust, most likely at the weakest point on that slope and the whole slope avalanched to the ground and ran it's historical path down to Copper Creek.

Based upon consistant observation of the variables at the time, that slope was off my "to do list".

I was skiing same south aspects at lower altitutudes, less steep, more anchors, Same basel weak layer  typical of early snow followed by extended artic air mass.


 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Chris Hopkins
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I think the issues with BC skiers is not their over reliance on pits as the sole predictive element but rather several other errors in judgement that usually ignore the warnings that things like a pit and avi forecasts provide.  A good book o this is http://avalanchepatch.com/

 

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1 hour ago, genepires said:

I think the issues with BC skiers is not their over reliance on pits as the sole predictive element but rather several other errors in judgement that usually ignore the warnings that things like a pit and avi forecasts provide.

That's certainly true in many instances @genepires, but the ones the scare me the most are where nothing pointed to a problem.....until there was one.  As @CascadeClimber said earlier, there is a lot of variability out there on the snowy landscape and sometimes it catches up to even the best.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, JasonG said:

That's certainly true in many instances @genepires, but the ones the scare me the most are where nothing pointed to a problem.....until there was one.  As @CascadeClimber said earlier, there is a lot of variability out there on the snowy landscape and sometimes it catches up to even the best.

Well I suppose it is lucky that the vast majority of avalanche incidents had 2 or more obvious signals screaming at people to run away.  there is a paper about heuristics done years ago that analyzed accidents and apply to concept of heuristics to it.  very good read if you have not read it yet.  take away was that we should keep eyes and ears open to what nature is telling us, always.  and watch the avi forecast.

Don't get me wrong I am not saying that fluke accidents do not happen.  But the statistics show that in most cases, we ignore the obvious for whatever reasons.   so don't fret about that possibility where nothing points to a problem.  fret about the conditions that promote the ignoring of signs.  Familiarity being the biggest one.

Edited by genepires

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This is a great thread; one of the best things I've read on cc.com in a long time. I'm very sorry to hear about Marc and Ryan. I think it's a social problem that some find discussing risk to be disrespectful of their memories.

On a lighter note, I'm a little dismayed that so many on here express the belief that risk is not quantifiable and that equations are inherently useless for informing our decisions. I think it is extremely worthwhile to look at risk estimates, which, of course, are limited in what they can say by the availability of data. I would urge folks to think about what they get out of climbing and maybe look for behavior modifications that can improve the safety of the climbing w/o sacrificing the positive aspects. Equations are definitely useful for evaluating different climbing practices. The main concepts that are needed to estimate how probabilities accumulate are 1) the probability for A and B to both occur is the product of their individual probabilities and 2) the probability that (at least one of) A or B happens is the probability that A happens plus the probability that B happens minus the probability that both A and B happen. Naively one might think that if you expose yourself to a 1% probability of dying 200 times the total probability of dying would by 200%. It's actually less than 100% because you must subtract the probabilities that you die more than once in the 200 attempts. That's why @Bronco's suggestion above focus on the probability of not dying gives a simpler expression: the event whose probability you're estimating is not dying on the first climb AND not dying on the second climb AND ... not dying on the nth climb, so the total probability is just the product pxp...xp=p^n if p is the (assumed identical) probability of dying on each climb. If you try to construct the probability as the probability of dying on the first climb OR dying on the second climb ... OR dying on the nth climb you need to remove events where you die on more than one climb.

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59 minutes ago, genepires said:

But the statistics show that in most cases, we ignore the obvious for whatever reasons.

Very true @genepires.  I wasn't meaning to disagree with you, just saying that avalanches tend to kill way too many professionals for my liking, and sometimes without much in the way of warning beforehand.  This isn't the norm, but it does keep you on your toes.

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22 minutes ago, primate said:

This is a great thread; one of the best things I've read on cc.com in a long time. I'm very sorry to hear about Marc and Ryan. I think it's a social problem that some find discussing risk to be disrespectful of their memories.

On a lighter note, I'm a little dismayed that so many on here express the belief that risk is not quantifiable and that equations are inherently useless for informing our decisions. I think it is extremely worthwhile to look at risk estimates, which, of course, are limited in what they can say by the availability of data. I would urge folks to think about what they get out of climbing and maybe look for behavior modifications that can improve the safety of the climbing w/o sacrificing the positive aspects. Equations are definitely useful for evaluating different climbing practices. The main concepts that are needed to estimate how probabilities accumulate are 1) the probability for A and B to both occur is the product of their individual probabilities and 2) the probability that (at least one of) A or B happens is the probability that A happens plus the probability that B happens minus the probability that both A and B happen. Naively one might think that if you expose yourself to a 1% probability of dying 200 times the total probability of dying would by 200%. It's actually less than 100% because you must subtract the probabilities that you die more than once in the 200 attempts. That's why @Bronco's suggestion above focus on the probability of not dying gives a simpler expression: the event whose probability you're estimating is not dying on the first climb AND not dying on the second climb AND ... not dying on the nth climb, so the total probability is just the product pxp...xp=p^n if p is the (assumed identical) probability of dying on each climb. If you try to construct the probability as the probability of dying on the first climb OR dying on the second climb ... OR dying on the nth climb you need to remove events where you die on more than one climb.

I think that any time spent intensively contemplating the risks associated with climbing, and how to mitigate them, is time well spent.

I know that for myself at least, then I'm out climbing I don't have the bandwidth to process anything more complex than a few rules of thumb or vivid stories from ANAM that pertain to what I'm actually doing at that particular moment.  

Can you elaborate on some of the ways that you feel that framing your risk analysis in terms of equations helps you climb more safely? Not calling your claims into question here, just hoping to learn something that I might be able to put to use.

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3 minutes ago, JayB said:

Can you elaborate on some of the ways that you feel that framing your risk analysis in terms of equations helps you climb more safely? Not calling your claims into question here, just hoping to learn something that I might be able to put to use.

I was specifically thinking of arguments like justifying exposing oneself to mountain hazards by the fact that the drive to the mountains has some risk. I've taken to skiing inbounds when there is significant avalanche danger, as an example. If I am realistic about the ability of the parties I ski in to judge and manage avalanche risk, skiing backcountry when there is significant possibility of initiating slides is above my risk tolerance threshold. I don't ski as much powder as I would get to otherwise. It is a lot easier for me, personally, to 'deny' myself if I have made some quantitative estimates. I'm not talking about doing detailed calculations on route, I'm talking about changing my goals in such a way that my wife has a higher probability of having me to grow old with. If I just trusted my gut, and not some numbers, my gut would find a way to tell me that I could do whatever it was that I wanted to do.

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I try to mitigate risk in a low brain energy method by assessing at most the top three hazards for my immediate location and do my best to deal with those. Dealing with more than three gets things too muddled and I do not do a good enough job wither top three. 

So if I am rappelling in a snow storm with a sprained ankle and nightfall approaching with a glacier travel once o the ground. My immediate concern is just the rappel and not much else cause rappel demands so much. Once on ground, my concern goes to glacier travel navigation and avi iisue. The other stuff is not really important. There will always be so much other that clouds the important stuff. 

Not that I ever did such a messed up scenerio

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On 3/27/2018 at 2:06 PM, primate said:

I was specifically thinking of arguments like justifying exposing oneself to mountain hazards by the fact that the drive to the mountains has some risk. I've taken to skiing inbounds when there is significant avalanche danger, as an example. If I am realistic about the ability of the parties I ski in to judge and manage avalanche risk, skiing backcountry when there is significant possibility of initiating slides is above my risk tolerance threshold. I don't ski as much powder as I would get to otherwise. It is a lot easier for me, personally, to 'deny' myself if I have made some quantitative estimates. I'm not talking about doing detailed calculations on route, I'm talking about changing my goals in such a way that my wife has a higher probability of having me to grow old with. If I just trusted my gut, and not some numbers, my gut would find a way to tell me that I could do whatever it was that I wanted to do.

When you say "quantitative estimates" you mean "make up some numbers and pretend that you've switched from qualitative to quantitative analysis" right? Not actual measurements that would really be quantitative analysis?

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ain't nothing sillier than trying to suss out what this whole shit-palace is pretending to be - douglass adams done sorted it out already and he's dead, and that's all you really need to know :)

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On 3/27/2018 at 1:15 PM, JasonG said:

Very true @genepires.  I wasn't meaning to disagree with you, just saying that avalanches tend to kill way too many professionals for my liking, and sometimes without much in the way of warning beforehand.  This isn't the norm, but it does keep you on your toes.

https://www.adventure-journal.com/2016/10/10-common-missteps-of-avalanche-pros/

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On 4/17/2018 at 3:00 PM, G-spotter said:

When you say "quantitative estimates" you mean "make up some numbers and pretend that you've switched from qualitative to quantitative analysis" right? Not actual measurements that would really be quantitative analysis?

Yes, when I write 'estimate' I mean that I make the number up (I don't read them off my handy risk-o-meter). But I try to do it in an honest fashion. Seriously, though, I think quantitative reasoning can be useful even in the absence of authoritative data.

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Posted (edited)

Over the 44 years I've been climbing, it has always been the case the mountains have claimed a certain percentage of the best and brightest alpinists. I was born in late August in LA and raised in Chicago and the extent of my snow expertise is knowing what setting to put the snowblower on for any conditions. I always figured if the mountains claimed talented climbers who grew up among them in Aspen, Chamonix, Jackson Hole, and Zermatt then I should probably sit alpine out and stick to rock. Other than a mistaken run up a frozen Glenwood Falls in the '70, I've stuck to my no-alpine rule and only consider risk in alpine as quantitative in the gambling sense of the word.

P.S. Given there's a thread here for the Snoqualmie Rock Guide Book, are we not going talk about the Cougar thing...? I was kind of hoping some of you who spend a lot of time in the N. Cascades might relate it if you've run across any Cougars in your wanderings and what their behavior was...

Edited by JosephH

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