Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

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skier25
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by skier25 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:53 pm

I didn't read these until just now; I spent all morning reading this thread and the thread at TGR. Sorry, Waffles, about all the harsh criticism you've received for all this. I'm also really, REALLY glad you're OK. That said, this makes for one of the most entertaining accident stories I've ever heard, and you're lucky to be able to post trip reports about it. I'm sure that next time, you will exercise more caution when you ski out onto a steep, exposed virgin slope. I personally would have been happy with a nice safe(er) descent off the south ridge to the Grays-Torreys saddle. I hope many people are wrong, and that in your next TRs you'll be able to recount positive stories of successful climbs. Remember: It's worse to go boldly and die trying, than it is to back off and climb again.
I get acute mountain sickness when I am away from the mountains.
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by cheeseburglar » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:31 pm

skier25 wrote: It's worse to go boldly and die trying, than it is to back off and climb again.
That is only partially true.
It's best to go boldly and know when and how to get off the mountain!
The marmot said “Nobody is perfect and you are not nobody.”

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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by skier25 » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:52 pm

cheeseburglar wrote:
skier25 wrote: It's worse to go boldly and die trying, than it is to back off and climb again.
That is only partially true.
It's best to go boldly and know when and how to get off the mountain!
Touché. Allow me to restate my point: by all means climb boldly, but at least have the sense to know when the situation is too dangerous to continue on. The ability to turn around before conditions become life threatening is admirable.
Last edited by skier25 on Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I get acute mountain sickness when I am away from the mountains.
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by cheeseburglar » Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:17 pm

Everything worth doing involves some risk. Of course you can mitigate risk, but at what cost?
I normally just look at people funny when I see them behaving like morons in the mountains. I've seen people survive, and survived myself, some pretty ridiculous adventures.
But in the last year I've actually given two unrequested lessons in ice axe use. Very pretentious of me. I was worried I'd have to do a rescue if I didn't. So I understand why people like to post warnings. How does someone end up with an axe and not know how to use it?
I guess they just buy them at the store!
I like to be optimistic and I think Senor Waffles is out there to push the limits. That is what the youth of America should do. If he's got the tools, the knowledge, the skills, the desire, and a really good sun dance, he can climb the ledges in March.
I saw nothing irresponsible in his Missouri or Torres adventures. Although his clothing on Misery looked a little inadequate. No one would have been hurt but himself. In both cases, SAR was called by someone else who thought he'd be back earlier. I've never made that mistake, because I learned at a very young age that trips never fit into planned time frames.
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by Mrwaffles989 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:51 am

Burglar, damn you are so right...
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"A venturesome minority will always be eager to set off on their own, and no obstacles should be placed in their path; let them take risks, for Godsake, let them get lost, sunburnt, stranded, drowned, eaten by bears, buried alive under avalanches-that is the right and privilege of any free American." -Edward Abbey,
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by killingcokes » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:31 am

Wow all I can say is that you are so lucky

I had a similar experience back in 93.

I dropped in on a very steep exposed line off Loveland Pass. It was about 50 at the top with roughly 120 feet of that over 200 feet of spiny ledges. The top section seemed to have bonded well but as I proceeded down WHOOOMPHHHH. I was going down with it. 3-4 foot soft slab. This was it, this was how I was going to die. I checked my options and was able to ski/surf onto a spine and lay down on the rocks. I was 5 feet from the ledges. It all happened in about 2 seconds

Looking back I learned that the top section is not the place to make stability assessments. The inconsistent wind rotors caused by terrain variations on the windward side of the ridge meant that the bulk of the heavy loading occurred further down the lee slope. These same loading patterns feathered the loading at the very top of the slope, creating the illusion of a well bonded slope. The aspects on Torreys and the line above are nearly identical as are the inconsistent nature of the windward slopes. Needless to say I was also very lucky.

I spent a lot of time after that thinking about all the little things in life. Everything was cause for reflection, from a sandwich to a stop light to my cat and my family. It was a life changing experience for me. I've since gone on to ski over 200 peaks in the backcountry. And I've skied more than 1000 days in the backcountry as well. I learned a lot that day and I always remember that skiing another day is my main motivating factor. The mountains will be there another day. Best to go home and come back later, the conditions might be the best ever another day

On to you.
YOUR TURN AROUND SHOULD HAVE BEEN WITH YOUR PARTNER.
If you go into the backcountry with someone you need to always work as a team. That means when they call it, you call it. If you don't like this find more aggressive partners. NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR PARTNER

AVY 1 IS NOTHING
Avy 1 teaches the basics and that is all. One thing it does teach is safe travel and you need a partner for that. Safe zone to safe zone can only done with a partner. There is always more to learn and most of it comes with experience, not classes. I've been skiing backcountry for 20 years now and still don't know enough about snow. It's great to be young and have the strength and drive to want to push your limits, but without the tempering of experience you're going to end up dead.

Just some things to think about. I could say much more but we'll leave it at that for now
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by El Oso Raku » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:01 pm

cheeseburglar wrote:Everything worth doing involves some risk. Of course you can mitigate risk, but at what cost?
I normally just look at people funny when I see them behaving like morons in the mountains. I've seen people survive, and survived myself, some pretty ridiculous adventures.
But in the last year I've actually given two unrequested lessons in ice axe use. Very pretentious of me. I was worried I'd have to do a rescue if I didn't. So I understand why people like to post warnings. How does someone end up with an axe and not know how to use it?
I guess they just buy them at the store!
I like to be optimistic and I think Senor Waffles is out there to push the limits. That is what the youth of America should do. If he's got the tools, the knowledge, the skills, the desire, and a really good sun dance, he can climb the ledges in March.
I saw nothing irresponsible in his Missouri or Torres adventures. Although his clothing on Misery looked a little inadequate. No one would have been hurt but himself. In both cases, SAR was called by someone else who thought he'd be back earlier. I've never made that mistake, because I learned at a very young age that trips never fit into planned time frames.
Cheese-

I very much agree with what you said regarding pushing the limits. I certainly do not have a death wish, but each person has his/her own idea of acceptable risks. In the United States we are innundated with rules and regulations, barriers to keep us out, barriers to keep us safe, etc, which I believe causes many folks to live a very safe, structured life. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, except when one imposes their beliefs/opinions on how to live on another. For example, in many European countries mountaineers who die attempting something great are often celebrated for their courage. In the U.S., someone who dies in an avalanche is often called an idiot by people who do not understand why a person would take such a risk simply to climb a mountain. Such an expression of opinion in that regard is bothersome to me.

Live and let live as they say. Besides, there is nothing more poignant to me than a human being demonstrating to others just what can be achieved. Of course, that doesn't mean I want to share the same rope.
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by killingcokes » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:14 pm

El Oso Raku wrote: but each person has his/her own idea of acceptable risks.
Part of pushing the limits of whats possible involves amassing the skills to do so safely. That includes arriving back at camp on time and understanding whats involved. Part of it also involves not putting others at risk. Yes SAR members volunteer to put themselves at some risk but the pattern Waffles displays shows a disregard for the bigger picture of his actions. He may feel comfortable with the risks but not thinking about the others being put at risk by his lack of sound decision making show a lack of maturity and experience

I agree to some extent but pushing one's limits with skill is one thing. Pushing it on luck is another.

The pattern displayed by Waffles shows more of the latter.

As I said in his TR, when does the pattern of poor decision making become reckless.
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by El Oso Raku » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:26 pm

killingcokes wrote: Part of pushing the limits of whats possible involves amassing the skills to do so safely. That includes arriving back at camp on time and understanding whats involved. Part of it also involves not putting others at risk. Yes SAR members volunteer to put themselves at some risk but the pattern Waffles displays shows a disregard for the bigger picture of his actions. He may feel comfortable with the risks but not thinking about the others being put at risk by his lack of sound decision making show a lack of maturity and experience

I agree to some extent but pushing one's limits with skill is one thing. Pushing it on luck is another.

The pattern displayed by Waffles shows more of the latter.

As I said in his TR, when does the pattern of poor decision making become reckless.
Hmmm, I am uncertain I can properly explain my thoughts on this subject, but I will try. I agree with the first sentence concerning the necessity of amassing the skills to travel safely. I also agree that one should always think of the potential risk to others before deciding whether or not to proceed. However, I think it is very difficult for someone who was not present to accurately identify whether or not an individual properly/improperly assessed the risks as they existed at the time based on certain observations/tests performed by that person, and whether or not that person unnecessarily risked the lives of other people. I think this is especially true when you are talking about mountaineering and the inherent risks associated with such an activity.

As for your preceding post, I agree with most of that. However, I strongly disagree with your statement that YOU SHOULD NEVER LEAVE YOUR PARTNER. There are certain situations where it is ok in my opinion for a group to splinter. I can think of numerous examples where that is ok and might even be advisable. It just depends on the conditions, the experience of the party, the strength of the partner left behind, etc. That was just too broad of a statement in my opinion.

In any event, I am just tired of hearing the knee jerk reactions that many people have to accidents in the mountains (not saying your comments fall into that category). Everyone thinks they are an expert.

With respect to Waffles, it sounds like he could use some experience, but I am also betting that he is a fairly strong climber/skier who just got a little in over his head and most probably learned from the incident. Despite the obvious remarks from many folks when he requested a partner on Rainier, I would likely climb Rainier with him if I had the opportunity prior to the trip to observe his abilities. If he proved to be strong, technically capable and willing to learn, then I don't see the problem. I just wouldn't substitute his judgment for my own.
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by killingcokes » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:56 pm

El Oso Raku wrote:YOU SHOULD NEVER LEAVE YOUR PARTNER
Correct. That was wrong. There are times when it is appropriate.
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by rickinco123 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:14 pm

El Oso Raku wrote: Hmmm, I am uncertain I can properly explain my thoughts on this subject, but I will try. I agree with the first sentence concerning the necessity of amassing the skills to travel safely. I also agree that one should always think of the potential risk to others before deciding whether or not to proceed. However, I think it is very difficult for someone who was not present to accurately identify whether or not an individual properly/improperly assessed the risks as they existed at the time based on certain observations/tests performed by that person, and whether or not that person unnecessarily risked the lives of other people. I think this is especially true when you are talking about mountaineering and the inherent risks associated with such an activity.
Not difficult at all, we have witness accounts, accounts from the main person involved including pictures. I don't need to be there to know that skiing such a line in February, especially given current conditions is not safe, but, the picture he took of the giant snow pillow he tried to ski helps a little. Read the original post of this thread and the conditions described by CAIC (hang fire).

This is a popular area, just like you need to be careful about knocking down rocks at a popular climbing crag, you need to consider others that you may or may not see.

When you are a party of 2, I don't see how you ever split up under these conditions.

Expertise has nothing to do with this. If Mario Andretti drives 100 mph down my street, and I am not there, I don't give a s---! if he is an expert driver any more than the kids that regularly drag race down my street, and yes I would pass a judgment on someone who would do something like that.
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Re: Lost: Skis on Torrey's Peak/Ski Recovery Mission

Post by seekanddestroy99 » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:17 pm

So i just read this whole thing and feel the need to leave a reply. I think Raku got this right.

I am also a college student with a desire to get into mountaineering. I have an avy 1 cert. I hope to ski a lot of 14ers as soon as possible.

If there is one thing I have ever learned since I got into backcountry skiing a few years ago, it is that I SHOULD NEVER SKI ALONE IN THE BACKCOUNTRY, in particular between December and March in Colorado, especially in a year when so many people have died IN BOUNDS.

Waffles, I know there are a lot of people picking on you and your choice that day, and, let's face it, you deserve it. be happy that you are here today to not only take the heat for a poor decision, but also to ski another day, and hopefully not make anymore poor choices. don't get sassy, just show a little humility and everyone will get over it as soon as you.

otherwise, when stability gets better in a month or so, i'm down to go shred that line, and i'll claim those skis for you if they are still up there. let's face it, Torrey's face is sick and there unlimited options. it looks straight out of Claim or something. but for now it looks like it'll be a while 'til you get your planks back. what set up did you lose anyways?
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