Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

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justiner
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by justiner » Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:18 pm

Conor wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:15 am

I dislike caltopo because it is nothing more than a planning tool. Which I think is the point you and many others are looking to make. I look at it, but it doesn't dictate what I do in the field.
Although I think Caltopo is a great planning tool before a trip, it does come in app-form now as well, and has a ton of tools to print out paper maps. Really useful in the field on multiday trips in BFN.

I really think a caltopo map (that anyone could really make) of historical slides would be useful, if only for an educational tool. Sidecountry areas as well, as those less inclined to learn avy safety are going to go anyways, and the chances people's guards are already down are great (Berthoud Pass, etc).
Last edited by justiner on Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by Jorts » Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:30 pm

Conor wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 11:48 am
My issue with it is the use to make one sounds smarter (regardless if they are or not). Strunk & white had something about never using a dollar word/phrase when penny words suffice. While I understand it to some degree, how does it help in a thread that is supposed to help people who are new to traveling in avy terrain? If you want me to say you're cooler/faster/10x the athlete I'll ever be..."you're cooler/faster/10x the athlete I'll ever be". I apologize if I offended you in this thread. now can we move on from you?
"Heuristic" is the word for those mental shortcuts. I don't know the synonym for heuristic that you prefer?

It helps in this thread because if anyone wonders, how could all these older experienced folks be getting caught in slides?... My guess would be, they were familiar with the areas where they were skiing and as a result had long ago deemed them safe thereby missing signs that might have suggested they were unusually unsafe. That is the familiarity heuristic trap.

I am not seeking validation from you. I was just wondering why every response from you of late seemed kind of snarky or jerky or passive aggressive. I thought maybe I had done something to you. I'd prefer not to focus on me. Thanks.
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by Conor » Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:19 pm

justiner wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 12:18 pm
Conor wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:15 am

I dislike caltopo because it is nothing more than a planning tool. Which I think is the point you and many others are looking to make. I look at it, but it doesn't dictate what I do in the field.
Although I think Caltopo is a great planning tool before a trip, it does come in app-form now as well, and has a ton of tools to print out paper maps. Really useful in the field on multiday trips in BFN.

I really think a caltopo map (that anyone could really make) of historical slides would be useful, if only for an educational tool. Sidecountry areas as well, as those less inclined to learn avy safety are going to go anyways, and the chances people's guards are already down are great (Berthoud Pass, etc).
I didn't know caltopo has an app, but it appears you need to pay to be able to download for offline use?

Though, i would think if one can read and understands topo maps and has a inclinomoeter any topo map should suffice. It would be cool though, if there is a non pay offline use with slope angle?
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by d_baker » Tue Dec 22, 2020 2:42 pm

Jorts wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 11:25 am
FACETS is a great acronym to consider to be aware of and avoid heuristic traps that can get you in trouble.

Familiarity
refers to an individual’s use of past experiences to make decisions within present situations in familiar terrain.
Acceptance
represents the tendency of individuals to engage in activities they feel will be approved by their peers or those whom they hope to impress.
Consistency
is the propensity for someone to stick with prearranged decisions – those often focused on timelines, routes and descents (e.g., summit fever). Consistency can also refer to attachment to a self or group image.
Expert
The expert halo describes how individuals in a group may rely on the decisions of those perceived to have more experience, skill, knowledge or assertion (i.e., perceived experts).
Tracks
(or, social facilitation) is someone’s tendency to decrease or increase the amount of risk he or she is willing to undertake depending on the presence of other group members.
Scarcity
also known as “powder fever,” is ignoring potential risks or concerns in favor of experiencing finite resources, in this case “first tracks” on un-skied or freshly fallen snow.
Source of italicized text inserted into Jorts post.


Also from there....
"These six heuristic traps are commonly known by the acronym FACETS with the “t” representing “first tracks” in place of scarcity (McCammon, 2004b; Zajchowski, Brownlee, and Furman, In Press).
F: Familiarity. “I’ve skied this slope before and it hasn’t avalanched, thus it must be stable this time.”

A: Acceptance. “If I shred this sweet line right now then my buddies will be impressed.”

C: Consistency. “I made plans to ski the south face of Superior, told several folks my plans and don’t want to alter them.”

E: Expert Halo. “I am concerned about the slope stability, but since my ski partner has her Avalanche 2 certification and doesn’t seem concerned, then it must be OK.”

T: Tracks (scarcity). “The powder is so good today, I’m going to ski this slope because it’s awesome, even though I have concerns in the back of my head.”

S: Social facilitation. “I don’t want to appear like I’m afraid in front of my friends, so I’m going to stick with their decisions.” "


I think the heuristic traps/human factor/FACETS can be applied to all activities in the mountains, not just during avalanche season, but obviously this is a good discussion to be having at the start of winter and in light of recent accidents.
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by habaceeba » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:18 pm

Conor wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:19 pm

I didn't know caltopo has an app, but it appears you need to pay to be able to download for offline use?
If you have a handheld GPS (I us an old Oregon 400t), I have a way of taking a snip of a Caltopo map, creating an image overlay in Google Earth, saving as .kmz and uploading to my custom maps in the unit. It allows me to have Caltopo on my handheld. I can probably put a tutorial together for it if there is enough interest.
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by Conor » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:28 pm

habaceeba wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:18 pm
Conor wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:19 pm

I didn't know caltopo has an app, but it appears you need to pay to be able to download for offline use?
If you have a handheld GPS (I us an old Oregon 400t), I have a way of taking a snip of a Caltopo map, creating an image overlay in Google Earth, saving as .kmz and uploading to my custom maps in the unit. It allows me to have Caltopo on my handheld. I can probably put a tutorial together for it if there is enough interest.
thanks, I can download the caltopo topo map with gaia. There's the premium option, but I'm grandfathered in with the legacy subscription. Not sure it's worth the cost....

I know there's the option of basically overlaying an image to a map, but if I can download a map in 2 seconds and I'm going to use an inclinometer, I'm not sure caltopo's slope shading is more than a planning tool, at least to me.
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by thurs » Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:55 pm

For the newbies, also think about alpha angle. This is the angle from where you are standing to the top of a slope that can slide. Anything greater than 18-20 degrees has a potential of burying you if a large avalanche (100 year avalanche, like March 2019) were to run -- and it's also possible to trigger them from below on slopes less than 30 degrees. This isn't as much of a problem now (there's not enough snow for huge, destructive slides -- but you can also see it for like, the Blue Lakes Pass avy incident that was posted on the first page) but it helps you determine if you're giving big slide paths a wide enough berth. Slope shading for >30 degree slopes is helpful but it wont tell you how far an avalanche will run or where you can trigger it from, you need to know the alpha angle.

So, for instance, there is literally no safe way to access Greys or Torreys (from the I-70 side, anyways) if we're undergoing a cycle like March 2019. There is no place along the standard route that has an alpha angle less than 18.

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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by Monster5 » Tue Dec 22, 2020 4:10 pm

I can't wait until our unusually dangerous conditions return to just dangerous conditions. I've tremendous early winter couloir plans in the works, but it requires dangerous conditions or better.
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by gb » Tue Dec 22, 2020 5:19 pm

You can cache a route on the Caltopo app without saving it and it should show up offline. Though it might be easier to just use Gaia.

For anyone who might not be familiar with these tools, this might help: https://14erskiers.com/blog/2018/11/how ... s-updated/
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by ekalina » Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:16 pm

thurs wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:55 pm
So, for instance, there is literally no safe way to access Greys or Torreys (from the I-70 side, anyways) if we're undergoing a cycle like March 2019. There is no place along the standard route that has an alpha angle less than 18.
Really interesting to see that map of alpha angle. Do you know if there's a publicly-available tool to make maps for other areas?
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by daway8 » Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:24 pm

thurs wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:55 pm
For the newbies, also think about alpha angle. This is the angle from where you are standing to the top of a slope that can slide. Anything greater than 18-20 degrees has a potential of burying you if a large avalanche (100 year avalanche, like March 2019) were to run -- and it's also possible to trigger them from below on slopes less than 30 degrees. This isn't as much of a problem now (there's not enough snow for huge, destructive slides -- but you can also see it for like, the Blue Lakes Pass avy incident that was posted on the first page) but it helps you determine if you're giving big slide paths a wide enough berth. Slope shading for >30 degree slopes is helpful but it wont tell you how far an avalanche will run or where you can trigger it from, you need to know the alpha angle.

So, for instance, there is literally no safe way to access Greys or Torreys (from the I-70 side, anyways) if we're undergoing a cycle like March 2019. There is no place along the standard route that has an alpha angle less than 18.
As a variant of the earlier suggestion of known slide paths I wonder if a more sobering map might be one marking all the various locations with known avalanche fatalities with a number of how many people perished there. That might wake some people up while at the same time being obvious that it doesn't include all locations that could slide. I agree trying to do the latter would be too likely to create complacency but mapping out known deaths, though morbid, might be more likely to make some folks reconsider their choices.
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Re: Avy concerns: Unusually dangerous conditions

Post by thurs » Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:32 pm

ekalina wrote:
Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:16 pm
Really interesting to see that map of alpha angle. Do you know if there's a publicly-available tool to make maps for other areas?
Well, no finished maps that I know of. I made that map myself and it took about 30 minutes to run the analysis just for that part of the state. It is all done with publicly-available data and tools though -- DEM + GRASS GIS with the iterative horizon finder.
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