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Blog: Backcountry Responsibility - Knowledge, Awareness, Wisdom

Drew Hardesty
Comments
In reading your interview in the article "Are These The New Ethics of Backcountry Travel?" with Pyper Dixon, you state: "Particularly in places like Teton Pass and Little Cottonwood Canyon, where the road sits in the track of avalanche paths, we are seeing increased numbers of avalanches that are crossing the open road" and in the blog "Expert Intuition and the Avalanche Problem" you advise: "At this point, it's instructive to look at our Utah stats since 1940.", in regards to which type of avalanches are responsible for our fatalities. I am wondering if we can, in a sense, combine the same data search in seeking out the backcountry user triggered avalanches that are crossing the open road (s). What type of avalanches and locations may be welcome info. I have a hunch, with spring sadly approaching, that wet slides might account for the most backcountry user triggered slides that cross the road(s)...hmmm...or is it new storm snow slides?? -- I recall being late on west facing patsy, I guess,... "microwave"... kicking off wet roller balls that surprisingly gained size which then slowly and deliberately flushed a gully and being so worried that it would hit the summer road and potentially harm someone. (luckily it lost strength and petered out) Whelp, maybe some data gathering delegation for the grunt intern....Thanks so much for all your excellent forecasting, writing and commentary!!!!
Dave Kopasz
Tue, 2/23/2016
I haven't seen any mention of the fact that there are parties ascending the south face of Superior on almost a daily basis. Call me timid, old school or whatever, but spending 3 hours staring down the barrel of that gun does not seem wise. There was a day . . . not many years ago when you rarely or ever saw an up-track on the face of Superior. Here's the issue: 1) Someone from the top is most likely not able to see parties ascending. 2) Holding up parties at the top while waiting for 3 separate parties to summit is not practical (granted the parties at the top should have a contingency). The east ridge is beautiful and much safer for travel for all those concerned. Those that do climb the face should take full responsibility for whatever happens to them on their ascent. The problem is though, good people may have to live with the fact that their manageable sluff/slide on a descent injured or killed parties on an ascent irregardless that they had no idea that there were people below. For me, there are way too many folks chasing that line and you may never find me on the south face again. Maybe (re) establishing some generally accepted approach paths on some of the trade routes would be wise. At least let's end the practice of booting up shots like Superior. Choose your routes wisely people!
jonnie ullr
Mon, 3/21/2016

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