Friday, 3 January 2020

Tales From the Debris Pile - Again!

Skier triggered avalanche on a popular off piste run with extensive crown wall.
West aspect of Glencoe Mountain
I wouldn't say I am risk averse, but this weekend when faced with crossing an open slope on ski's above the Cam Glen Gulch I bottled it. It felt so dodgy and with that gaping below me after having done a stability test and seen the results I thought it a turn too far. It made me feel like a chicken shit though. On my first MTB XC race back in December I ko'd myself on a practice lap and didn't remember the the first lap until my bruises hurt, and on the second race of the season I tore the labrum of my femoral head clambering over windblown tree's with the red mist of battle  I didn't feel a thing and finished quite well up the field. My total of fractures is quite impressive and most folk I road race with will tell you I will mix it up in the pack.  All good excuses for being a chickenshit! This last two months has been quite reflective though with my disc prolapse, as at one point I thought maybe I couldn't ski again. I looked back at all the friends who I have lost to the mountains. As Tom Patey once said "never underestimate the importance of staying alive". A maxim he didn't do too well with himself having abseiled of a plain gate krab that Hamish had discarded as the gate was fecked. All good excuses for me backing off, but there you are.
137 landing on.  The debris had turned 90 deg right and traveled along the valley floor into the gulch.
Even with an airbag above such a massive terrain trap was no go for me!
Avalanches torque and squeeze and I guess I have seen too much and having been on the wrong end I am twitchy. My winter business of avalanche safety gear is not about making money as I am sure many will attest to as I sell at rock bottom prices. Prevention is a key component as is learning lessons and sharing thoughts and information. The prevention side didn't work this weekend sadly, with the loss of someone else who I new (but not well).  The causes and circumstances are too close to home and tragic and the loss is grievously felt among the folk I help in the ski patrol and their friends.   I will put some general pictures up in the manner of which I have done before and hope that we all continue to celebrate those who live life at full tilt going to meet their maker with the perfect carving turn on the fantastic snow we have this spring, while also making sure the candle of those who live life to the full burns for longer if we can learn from it.
50cm  Avalanche JENGA

I feel a bit like an old sage at times issuing warnings of avalanches and sometimes feel like some old sage in an alpine valley warning that over the next ridge there are demons, or if you trip trap over the rickety bridge the Troll will get you. Maybe I am Billy Goat Grough!

Snow pit site Sunday with the sad recovery of the victim in the background

No comments:

Post a comment