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Monday, 19 December 2016
"we are all infinitely wise"
I am researching legal stuff on avalanches. Some mountain professionals are advertising and offering to investigate avalanche incidents independently. I wouldn't regard myself as being either qualified or desiring to take on such a burden as avalanches have provided me with enough drama and loss. However, its interesting to look back on precedent to satisfy my curiosity as to where these investigations lead. I have undertaken avalanche hazard evaluation for ski areas as part of prevention and rescue plans where foresight is needed, but post accident investigation makes me uneasy unless its low key and done as impartial data collection which I am sure the SAIS does discreetly.
Nothing inherently wrong with bringing information and closure to relatives or families by answering questions informally but when it comes to skiing litigation is rampant in all aspects of events. This is so unlike mountaineering where folk, families included accept shit happens. I worry that this would change. It set me thinking. If someone ends up making a case for a plaintiff who does act for the defence? Expert testimony often cancels itself out in the courts nullifying itself. But damage to reputations and press reporting wrecks lives. I hope its left to the rescuers, police or at worst an FAI to conclude cause and effect in these things. Hindsight
With time on my hands I am going back over my early texts, listening to my recordings from tutorials I undertook on avalanche and education from many of this generations experts, one who is my Recco mentor. I am also enjoying re reading some classic books Andre Roch, Sleigman and Atwaters texts are still among the best on the subject and I have linked some abstracts from within the books to give a flavour. Getting these books nowadays is expensive and looking back at my library its a lot smaller. Like an eejit a few years back when a bit skint I sold loads of books to get a carbon race bike. I may have got £350 for "Extreme Rock" and the same for a book which I was able to get Ricardo Cassin to sign for me when I met him, but I sold my soul for a "thing" and wish I hadn't.
For an up to date take on the subject of avalanches Mark Diggins gave an excellent interview and I can recommend Secrets of the Snow by Chapelle
There is a lot on avalanche control and prevention as ski professionals which we would all do well to heed especially in ski rescue where public safety is a big part of the job.