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Avalanches...when?
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beyond_gravity


Mar 19, 2002, 3:44 PM
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Avalanches...when?
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at what point do you decide it is unsafe? I mean, last weekend i dug out a pit, found a huge faceted layer. I did the shovel sheer test and it came out fairly easy, but i'm not sure how stable it really is. Anyways, we were on the lee side traversing acorss to a gullie. skiing acorss I heard a WHHUMMPH then I decied to desided the board the down the windward side. Anywhoo, in a nut shell, I dont know what resistence I want when I do a shovel sheer. I also heard some people saying that ski cutting is a bad idea, is this true??

Rock ON,
Jeremy


sizzlechest


Mar 19, 2002, 5:20 PM
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Avalanches...when? [In reply to]
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avalanche science is insanely technical, most of the time we do the "reusch block test" before skiing the backcountry runs, some shovel tests and looks for layers as well as listening to reports, practice caution and if all in doubt don't ski the run, better to be cautious and stay alive, that said, backcountry rocks !!


agrauch


Mar 19, 2002, 5:58 PM
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If you consider intentionally triggering avalanches while skiing to be a bad idea, then ski cutting might not be for you.

Shovel shear tests are good for finding weak layers but can be very misleading about stability. It's way too easy to lever your shovel and knock over the column of snow.

Sounds like you should take an avalanche course or two. Practicing with a trained person can really help.



beyond_gravity


Mar 19, 2002, 7:25 PM
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I have taken A resuce, and analysis cource, but i'm still unsure of how exsactly to tell weather if it's a do or don't. I guess it will just come in time, But it's not really the place to be doing trail and error. I'm probley gonna take a more advanced course next season, just to be safe. Oh yes, and is that test your talking about the one when you cut out a section or snow, then get a skiier to stand/jump on it to failur? I remember that one now! that sounds likea good one, i shoulda done that.


Slide On,
Jeremy


agrauch


Mar 20, 2002, 8:04 AM
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The Rutschblock test is the one where you isolate a large column of snow and use body weight and ultimately jumping to test failure. This can be a good indication of local stability. Key words being local stability, just because things look good in one place doesn't mean the snow is good elsewhere. There are still other factors you need to consider before picking your line of ascent or descent.

Putting all these things together definitely requires time and practice.

Keep on earning those turns and don't forget your beacon.


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