Monday, February 04, 2013

Colorado Avalanche Death - This Time It Is Local

Durango is mourning one of its own today! With the weak snowpack being tested by excited skiers this weekend, it turns out not to have enough stability on Convex slopes (see image below why they are so dangerous). The son of a local brewing operator, Carver's Brewery, died this weekend. Peter Carver, as reported by the Durango Herald, was full of vitality, humor and adventure. He will be missed by all who loved him!

Convex slopes get a lot of stress, and they slide easily.
Over the weekend, we avoided any convex slopes. 
My girlfriend and I were up skiing the "Soul Trees" on Saturday in Silverton CO. And two ridges over, disaster was happening! This really hit us hard last night as we contemplated our risk management in the backcountry. While on our hike up, we settled the snow 3 - 5 times. We dug a pit and felt more confident. But the signs were a little sketchy the entire day... We could've died too.

Whether it is feeling that you're safe, the collection of data through observation or just not going, backcountry travel has a ton of risks. I don't know if I've always made the best decisions, but they certainly haven't been the worst. I doubt Carver made any worse decisions than me. He was just unlucky to hit snow that was weaker than the surrounding area. I can't help but think: that could have been me! The best I can say is be careful out there! My thoughts and prayers are with the Carver family.

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