stevo and nbt, cheers! will pass it on.
The STW Ski & Snowboard thread. The 2013-2014 season
Just to throw another spanner in the works of the whole off piste safe versus not safe debate for this season in the Alps, here's what Xavier de la Rue says about it.I was leaning towards the side of thought that the avalanche danger can change every day, but I'm not sure now.
YOUR knowledge is YOUR best survival chance ( please spread it if that can help your friends)
Watch out when you go out there, danger is not visible! The snow layer has a really weak foundation that you might not be able to see but is really tricky. It’s made of a tons of tiny small balls, which is real weak and will stay all winter. Exposed North faces are particularly something you should avoid and be aware avalanches can be triggered remotely. Get your ears open as deep “ wumpf” sounds can occur = proof of that base layer collapsing and that can trigger avalanche from flat part into close by steeper part of the mountain. thanks to Walter Steinkogler (SLF) for the pic and Johan Gaume from the SLF, swiss federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research based in Davos
I was leaning towards the side of thought that the avalanche danger can change every day,
It can but something (most commonly temperature change) needs to happen to change it. So if it stays cold instabilities can persist for weeks or even months.
That photo you posted earlier Spin:
Thought you might be interested to hear the thoughts of Henry (from HAT) in a recent Google+ hangout.
Watch from 9:00:
Original hangout: https://plus.google.com/events/cokr8pg78vqr9gp6lc25eoh44a4
Despite the recent publicity it actually happened back in 2007.
And yes, he says it was exceptional and likely caused by rapid warming or rain.
There's also some discussion about the current conditions and the whether the persistent weak layer is still a risk.
Couloir DouDou, finally!
BTW, high (3000m), north(ish) facing and ****ing steep. Stable.
I've seen the pic and info spread by Xavier de la Rue (as referenced by michael above). For sure, that shows a gnarly depth-hoar situation. But it's not like that everywhere. We've been digging some pits over the last week or so and have generally been finding that the depth hoar layer has been heavily compressed or has transformed back to round grains.
(This description of depth hoar as "ball bearings" isn't terribly helpful BTW. It doesn't look like ball bearings at all, even if it might sort-of act like them.)
@Graham, that photo's rather scary. @stevomcd very nice, I'm keeping an eye on Facebook some very nice offers just wondering whether to risk it with knee
@stevomcd - that's a stunning photograph for sure! lovely composition!
Is that you riding or behind the lens?
On a lighter note, I'm quite looking forward to the guilty pleasure of The Jump on Channel 4:
Shhh. Don't tell anyone, but so am I.
Hee hee so am I and I don't feel guilty.
Oooh goody Marcus Brigstocke, I'm a big fan.
On my trip to St Anton me and my mate did a tranceiver recovery test.
Up on Rendle there is a football pitch sized area wit buried bleepers. You can select number of victims ( 1 - 5 ) and time to find ( 1 - 20min ) .
First go not so good, spend too long faffing with probes and didnt have a defined search plan so around 5 mins to locate and switch off the bleeper by lancing it 3 times with a probe.
Second time much better , dialled in 2 victims and 10 mins . Probed out the first box ( imagine a cake tin 30 cm down ) in 3 mins , then completed the second find in 7 mins.
Interestingly my Ortovox M2 is less sensitive than my mates , he gets the first indication maybe 5meters further out than me, but when it gets up close and personal mine is better , showing down to 20cm from source if using a slow moving arc .
You are not allowed to dig out the boxes so not a true representative sample, but locating a victim and leaving a shovelling team in place survival chances massively increased.
We had a good time , although I had a big high speed crash on sat afternoon and might have snapped torn my left UCL thumb tendon. Its OK though , having snapped the right hand one twice i now have non opposable thumbs and have regressed down the evolutionary ladder to the chimpanzee level. But it might just be torn a little bit and the doc on monday can refer me to surgery or not.
Digby - that's me riding. Doesn't really show the perspective, but that pitch is STEEP. I'm not actually leaning over very far...
You must have a good riding buddy stevomcd - someone who was prepared to stop and take the shot instead scoring the fresh tracks!
Nothing quite like the feeling of riding a steep pitch and being able to run your fingers through the snow is there?
Just looking at that picture is making me 'ache' to get back on the snow!
3 year old's first lesson at Xscape tomorrow.
Might take 7 year old on main slope but sciatica has flared up - I blame the thread on here a few weeks ago.
Confusingly people still saying bad conditions this year. got to say i think the experts must surely be right?
Anyway its beginning to look like I won't be able to get a trip in this year regardless
This week at work is going to be tough to focus, off to Niederau, Tyrol Austria on Saturday, only my second trip and so bloody excited!
Very lucky this year and getting a second trip in - back to Les Arcs to stay with a mate for 10 days on the 1st Feb. Woop!
Three year old loved it. Not much skiing done but plenty of falling over and laughing. He wants to go again.
Amazingly, it was significantly more shit than I had been expecting. I'd been expecting it to be shit, but hoping it would be that sort of 'so bad it's enjoyable' flavour of shit. It wasn't, however, it had gone even further down the turd covered road of awfulness.
Re. Offpisteskiing.com link on preceeding page.Simon Christy vas a very very good reputation. He, à long with others, coaches certain British Mountain Guides.
Hope everyone is having a good season. Some good conditions in the Vercors over the weekend.
Posting this here, in case anyone hadn't read the other thread - http://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/servicing-skis/page/2
TurnerGuy - Member
After all that a family death and funeral has meant that I can go on this trip, so the skis are back in the loft
As I had already paid for the short trip to Morzine I have put it on the classified rather than it go to waste - it will cost £50 to transfer our two names across to someone else.
Sorry to hear that news, TG.
(Hope you don't mind me posting your link here as well, possible wider audience!)
Might be interesting for some:http://blog.jamesthacker.co.uk/2014/01/avalanche-rescue-and-safety-equipment.html
TurnerGuy - Sorry to hear your sad news.
Flashy - I haven't seen the 'Jump' yet, it's recorded but hope to catch up later, am now prepared for how bad it will be.
Re. Offpisteskiing.com link on preceeding page.Simon Christy vas a very very good reputation
Early start to the NZ season yesterday (it being mid-summer and all)
I see the BBC are pushing the dangerous conditions in the Alps story again. Radio 4 last night had a repeat of the "layer of ball bearings" warning and the news site has this on it:
Kind of odd that they didn't mention beepers or using local guides
Was listening to that on the train and thinking the same, Graham! Was also wondering where on the French/Italian border the dog piece was recorded.
Montgenèvre, according to the story on the BBC site.
Ta! Hadn't seen the link, as I had assumed it was just a link to the original article on PM.
I did think if might have been Monty, which is just about as much "on the border" as can be!
The Radio 4 piece on PM is available here (starts at 39:40):
One detail I thought was interesting was that, according to the report, the rescue dogs can only work for 8 years and there are just 25 of them in the Alps and Pyrenees. For every 10 dogs they are offered they buy 1, and from every 100 dogs they buy only 4 or 5 make the grade!
The guy they interview is apparently one of only 13 people to ever have been rescued alive by the dogs and he was under a metre of snow for 30 minutes.
It was certainly interesting re the dogs.
My grandfather was, for many years, heavily involved with RAF police dogs. They went through similar selection criteria, and had a similar working life. It's not an easy job, even if it may be just 'playing' for the dogs.
The description of being trapped was chilling.
It would be interesting to know if the 13 people they are talking about rescuing were ones that only the dogs could find or if they have rescued more people who were wearing transceivers.
For what it's worth the powder in Meribel today was excellent. Nice and cold and light. The snow pack seems to have stabilised somewhat after a warm spell a couple of weeks ago and more snow packing down the weak layer from November. Anecdotally we've seen fewer slips caused by skiers this week than previously this season not that you can read much into that.
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