Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A blog on mountain safety and how far the boundaries are being pushed

Every year, month, day we all get carried away with the hype of getting away and doing our favorite hobbies from cycling the mountains, climbing crags, to skiing and snowboarding untracked powder. But i think its only fair to say, that frequently, we charge into these activities head on without recognising the potential consequences and dangers of our actions. We received an ABS unit today in the shop (see photos of Adam locked in it below) and i realised how far the sport has come and how far the boundaries are being pushed. So i thought i'd blog about my thoughts.

When I was 18, I was hiking way out of the ski boundaries, in Canada without even a thought of a tranceiver or the realism of an actual avalanche. And when I look back now, I realise the stupidity and arrogance I showed to such a dangerous snow pack and mountain range and realise how lucky i am.

Which is why i think its really important that people really starting to think twice about setting off into the mountains with no training or 'know how', were seeing seminars all over the country on, like we had last year at penrose with Nigel shepherd. and the one they have on over at the tube station tommorow evening at the Tube station in Polzeath. Wednesday 31st October.

Its an important thing to get clued up, have the right equipment and not find yourself out your own depth! If your contenplating going away and skiing backcountry this year, seriously think about going to this event.

I have been following the recent ESPN articles, if you haven't i would suggest you should! They're a real eye opener on people attitudes to the Backcountry, this comment struck me as extremely poignant.

"Ten years ago, the intent of avalanche bulletins and alerts was to avoid avalanches," said longtime forecaster and now president of the American Avalanche Association, Dale Atkins. "We only carried rescue gear in case we made a mistake. I'd even say making a mistake was bad form. But in recent years, people have started carrying rescue gear to push the limits. I even had one person say to me recently that getting caught is part of the game."


Lets not get complacent and lets be sensible this season! 

One memory that clearly sticks in my mind is when I got turned down to ride with this guy on a powder field outtabounds because i didnt have my shovel or probe with me, I thought at the time he was an arrogant so and so because, i had my tranceiver, but now, when I look at it from a realistic perspective:

If i get buried, he can find me and dig me out.
If he gets buried, he isnt coming out.

Its not him being an idiot its just using common sense, what the use in riding with full avalanche gear if the only person that has it is you! - Common sense.

What you might need:

Avalanche awareness Training. - at the Tube station polzeath
Snowpack knowledge/area knowledge
A skiing buddy
And most importantly.
Common sense!

I'll leave you all with some pictures of the New ABS and a very apt quote from the ESPN site...

While the social influence is impossible to quantify one way or the other, multiple sources brought it up when evaluating what's changed in the avalanche conversation. "It used to be the sport was more aesthetic and not as much about adrenaline. You'd climb something in a gorgeous area and ski something reasonable, but not intense," said Jeffrey Bergeron, a columnist for Backcountry Magazine who has skied in the backcountry for 37 years. "Now, I'll go ski some mellow trees by myself on light gear and come home and look at Facebook and see someone skied a big line somewhere, and I almost feel like a loser."

My advice, stay in your comfort zone, study up, and enjoy what you love doing, leave the insane stuff... well to the insane people! Dont feel like a loser!

ABS Units - click here

Tranceivers - click here

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