Snow Pits

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Monster5
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by Monster5 » Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:32 am

Agree, Tom. I always thought it interesting to equate developing snow stability science to "developed" geotechnical slope stability science. I've seen a few papers on it. The principles are similar but jargon quite different. One can certainly adapt many of the GIS overlays and other predictive models to given areas.
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I never base a go/no go decision on snow pits or, more commonly it seems, on having avy rescue equipment and certs. The best mitigation is avoidance, and that's possible on perhaps 70% of 14ers based on route choice alone. No reason to touch the others without a good forecast and weather watching, and our weather has been trending more and more tame over the years.
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Sometimes in the most "extreme" avy conditions in CO, you've gotta be actively seeking the snow out to find enough to slide. Aka skiers/snow boarders. There are usually bare or safer alternatives if one's goal is simply to get from point A to B.
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by Carl_Healy » Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:21 am

CaptCO wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 10:30 pm
...Carl is a smarter guy than myself, so curious as to when/where pits are worthy
I wouldn't say smart, just always willing to learn! :lol:

Thanks for the comments and knowledge all!
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by d_baker » Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:38 am

TomPierce wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:01 am
I'd also look at terrain analysis, there used to be some really thought provoking (i.e. difficult) online exercises put out by a Canadian avalanche education group, totally free, probably still there.
I couldn't figure out how to embed the vimeo so here's the link:

https://vimeo.com/83091107

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Re: Snow Pits

Post by TomPierce » Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:44 am

d_baker wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:38 am
TomPierce wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:01 am
I'd also look at terrain analysis, there used to be some really thought provoking (i.e. difficult) online exercises put out by a Canadian avalanche education group, totally free, probably still there.
I couldn't figure out how to embed the vimeo so here's the link:

https://vimeo.com/83091107

Avalanche Canada
Yeah, that looks very familiar, but I think (?) it may be just a fraction of it. What I recall was definitely the quiz format, but multiple examples and a chance to interactively pick a route and then have the various options graded. I thought I was pretty good, but on several of the examples there were better options I missed. I thought it was a good use of time, a good learning tool. I'll dig around and see if I can find it.

-Tom
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by d_baker » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:00 am

Tom, are you referring to the exercise where the user draws in their route? I'm not sure where that is now. I think the Canada site has changed, even renamed I think.
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by TomPierce » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:04 am

d_baker wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:00 am
Tom, are you referring to the exercise where the user draws in their route? I'm not sure where that is now. I think the Canada site has changed, even renamed I think.
You know, could be. It was years ago, and I recall it was pretty interactive and thought-provoking. If it's now gone that's a shame. Let me dig (pun intended) for it.

-Tom
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by weakenedwarrior » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:08 am

I believe this is the exercise you guys are referring to.
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by Carl_Healy » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:10 am

weakenedwarrior wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:08 am
I believe this is the exercise you guys are referring to.
Was just about to share that!

Colorado Mountain School incorporated that into their online AIARE material.
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by TomPierce » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:17 am

weakenedwarrior wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:08 am
I believe this is the exercise you guys are referring to.
Yeah, I was in mid-keystroke of attaching the link. Thanks! So, interesting: The yellow banner near the top says it's no longer active, but I clicked on the first example, held down the mouse button and it seems to work just fine.

I'm not saying this will make you any sort of avalanche expert, but I thought it was interesting and made me think. Some of the starting/ending points were areas I'd probably never go into, but they made me think.

Fwiw, this is the sort of stuff that motivates many of my posts: Hopefully not perceived as self-promotion, I just don't want to see anyone on this site die in the mountains, by avalanche or otherwise. I've been to a couple of climbing funerals, and know of many others who died in the mountains. If a post makes someone think twice, or learn something that's maybe not intuitive, that's a good thing. Be safe out there!

-Tom
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by d_baker » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:19 am

weakenedwarrior wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:08 am
I believe this is the exercise you guys are referring to.
Hahaha, I should have scrolled down when I opened that up earlier! Thanks!
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by Bean » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:00 pm

TomPierce wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:01 am
Totally my opinion: I think avalanche education has gone down a path of making things seem more technical, e.g. labeling layers of snow, etc. Sure, makes it arguably more consistent, but I wonder if it's also trying to make it seem more like predictive engineering, "The T5 layer's facets have crystallized near X47" (totally being sarcastic). Sort of a "science will save you" theme.

-Tom
When did you take the class that gave you that impression? From my perspective things have been moving the other direction.
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Re: Snow Pits

Post by TomPierce » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:13 pm

Bean wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:00 pm
TomPierce wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:01 am
Totally my opinion: I think avalanche education has gone down a path of making things seem more technical, e.g. labeling layers of snow, etc. Sure, makes it arguably more consistent, but I wonder if it's also trying to make it seem more like predictive engineering, "The T5 layer's facets have crystallized near X47" (totally being sarcastic). Sort of a "science will save you" theme.

-Tom
When did you take the class that gave you that impression? From my perspective things have been moving the other direction.
I took avalanche training back in the 90's, when it seemed very experience and rules-based, e.g. "X% of avalanches happen within X hours of a snowfall of X inches or more," etc. I thought it was pretty good training, given by a guy named Knox Williams of the predecessor to CAIC. The AIARE materials I've since reviewed, and conversations I've had with more recent trainees of AIARE, led me to to conclude that while the basics are obviously the same, the technical nomenclature used was foreign and didn't seem (to me) to add value; almost like they were using a different language. Lots of numbering and labels, etc. But maybe, to your obseravation, they have more recently stepped back from that training and taken a different approach.

I think all training is good, but some may be more intuitive & useful than other approaches. Just my opinions.

-Tom
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