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glassgowkiss

A couple of good reads about safety

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Rainier

Now with ski season approaching fast this is mandatory read for all backcountry users:

Danger rating chart

"Someone who randomly center punches 10 slopes per day in terrain rated as Moderate Danger is roughly the same risk as whitewater kayaking or skydiving (but still much less dangerous than riding a motorcycle). Center punching 10 slopes per day in terrain rated as Considerable Danger has roughly the same risk as base jumping, which is considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous sports and one with a notoriously short expected lifespan for regular participants. Doing the same in terrain rated as High Danger is one of the most dangerous activities in the world besides climbing above 8,000 meters."

No wonder extreme upper end skiers/snowboarders are dying like flies (kind of reminds me of 80's and early 90's high altitude climbers).

 

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going right down the middle of a slope/crossing in center of a face, vs staying near edging, riding a ridge, avoiding roll over, --using terrain selection to mitigate risk.

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I imagine that this is forecasted danger rather than field measured? I often go out on days rated "Considerable" and ski various aspects/elevations and find mostly "moderate" conditions (based on skit cuts, hasty pits, natural activity, etc.). Of course I sometimes find touchier conditions than forecast, but it is usually the other way around. But, maybe we get off easy with our rapidly stabilizing coastal snow pack?

 

Fascinating analysis though, thanks!

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Lots of places and times of years there is no avalanche rating. The challenge involves making your own determination. So the OP's theory makes no sense.

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The person who compiled the information needs to find someone else to go Alpine Mountaineering with... :noway:

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I don't know about the absolute rates of death quoted in Tremper's article, but I do know that I've lost four times as many partners to alpine mountaineering than to backcountry skiing.

 

Small sample size (five deaths) on my part, I know, but I would tend to agree that prudent BC skiing is safer than alpine climbing.

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I think it'd be impossible to compile the necessary data to prove this hypothesis. Not only that, but there are way too many subjective factors involved.

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I don't know about the absolute rates of death quoted in Tremper's article, but I do know that I've lost four times as many partners to alpine mountaineering than to backcountry skiing.

 

Small sample size (five deaths) on my part, I know, but I would tend to agree that prudent BC skiing is safer than alpine climbing.

 

 

Funny. I would say say the exact inverse on both accounts.

 

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I too have lost more personal friends to alpine mountaineering than to backcountry skiing. 4 to 0. But I have often thought that good backcountry (alpine) skiing conditions are very closely associated with elevated avalanche danger and I am surprised that backcountry skiing has proven as safe as it is.

 

I am guessing this is because my skier friends have taken the hazard seriously and are taking steps to avoid taking crazy risks. My alpine climbing friends have taken the risks seriously too, but I think there are a few more wild card factors that impact their safety and the frequent drive to climb harder and harder objectives tends to slant the outcome of their calculation toward greater risk.

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I have a question regarding 10 center punches? So on that token if I drop down 1000m on N Face of Shuksan and drop off a 50m on Shuksan arm- do they count the same?

However in general tend to see now ski movies a border line snuff films.

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My alpine climbing friends have taken the risks seriously too, but I think there are a few more wild card factors that impact their safety and the frequent drive to climb harder and harder objectives tends to slant the outcome of their calculation toward greater risk.

 

That sounds right. I have a friend who was once a devoted alpine climber and whitewater kayaker. He felt that once you reach a certain level in both sports, the increasing objective hazard starts to outpace the skill set needed for such routes. There was too much rolling of the dice when climbing advanced alpine routes or running hard whitewater. Now he skis like a fiend.

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Jason and Matt, sorry about losing your buddies, it's easy for me poke fun at statistics in an article since none of the numbers represent my close friends.

 

Anyway, it looks like the forecast is for dropping freezing levels and precip next week. Maybe we should be planning some "centerpunching" excursions to compile more data. All in the name of science, of course. ;)

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