Snow Pits

Items that do not fit the categories above.
Forum rules
Please do not use this forum to advertise, sell photos or other products or promote a commercial website. For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
User avatar
Bean
Posts: 2686
Joined: 11/3/2005
14ers:summits36 ski36 winter10 
13ers:summits7 ski3 
Trip Reports (27)
Contact:

Re: Snow Pits

Post by Bean » Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:48 pm

TomPierce wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:13 pm
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
Learning the nomenclature and jargon is important IMO so that everyone is on the same page when discussing the snowpack. As far as decision making goes I've seen a big step away from using pit results to green/red light a slope and more towards understanding the current hazards, likelyhood of a slide, character of a potential avalanche, and the consequences - more qualitative than quantitative, and more through a broad understanding of the season's snowpack rather than going off the results of a single pit. This is a huge change from when I started using skis to get around the mountains almost 15 years ago, when a common mindset was "I'll dig a pit before I ski that line."

I asked not to try to start an argument but because I'm personally invested (time, energy, emotionally - not financially) in the state of avalanche education. I always like to hear different perspectives, especially when it comes to how things are being taught currently.
"There are no hard 14ers, but some are easier than others." - Scott P
http://throughpolarizedeyes.com
weakenedwarrior
Posts: 16
Joined: 11/5/2020
14ers:summits28 winter3 
13ers:summits15 winter3 

Re: Snow Pits

Post by weakenedwarrior » Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:16 pm

Bean wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:48 pm
I asked not to try to start an argument but because I'm personally invested (time, energy, emotionally - not financially) in the state of avalanche education. I always like to hear different perspectives, especially when it comes to how things are being taught currently.
I just took an AIARE1 course from CMS and the guide was very clear about pits being interesting to see the various layers and how the snowpack looks but that they definitely shouldn't be used to make a go decision. The overall message was pretty much what Jorts wrote in his earlier post.
spoony
Posts: 52
Joined: 5/3/2015
14ers:summits18 ski11 winter3 
13ers:summits2 ski1 

Re: Snow Pits

Post by spoony » Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:24 pm

Bean wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:48 pm
TomPierce wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:13 pm
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
Learning the nomenclature and jargon is important IMO so that everyone is on the same page when discussing the snowpack. As far as decision making goes I've seen a big step away from using pit results to green/red light a slope and more towards understanding the current hazards, likelyhood of a slide, character of a potential avalanche, and the consequences - more qualitative than quantitative, and more through a broad understanding of the season's snowpack rather than going off the results of a single pit. This is a huge change from when I started using skis to get around the mountains almost 15 years ago, when a common mindset was "I'll dig a pit before I ski that line."

I asked not to try to start an argument but because I'm personally invested (time, energy, emotionally - not financially) in the state of avalanche education. I always like to hear different perspectives, especially when it comes to how things are being taught currently.
My experience is a combination of what you, Bean, and Tom P have mentioned. I took my first avy class in the late 1990s in Montana, and pits were suggested as standard practice for any trip to avalanche terrain, but the language used in the class was not terribly scientific. Fast forward to now and the language I hear new-to-avy-instruction people using is much more methodical and scientific than when I first learned, but I hardly ever dig a pit for actual decision-making purposes anymore and it sounds like I am not alone. I will sometimes dig them out of sheer curiosity.
TomPierce
Posts: 2395
Joined: 11/21/2007
14ers: List not added
Trip Reports (2)

Re: Snow Pits

Post by TomPierce » Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:25 pm

Bean wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:48 pm
TomPierce wrote:
Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:13 pm
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

I asked not to try to start an argument but because I'm personally invested (time, energy, emotionally - not financially) in the state of avalanche education. I always like to hear different perspectives, especially when it comes to how things are being taught currently.
No worries at all re: arguing, didn't take it that way at all. I think it's usually always good to hear different perspectives, and Spooney's perspective is really interesting, e.g. it sounds like the snow pit has become more a tool of education & to satisfy curiosity than to make critical decisions. That's as it should be, IMO. Good discussion.

-Tom
Post Reply