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Mountain M0DERAT0R
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
about a month ago i was sledding here in WA. avalanche conditions were about a 2 out of 5 (5 being the highest warning).

i was side hilling and i noticed cracks forming infront of the sled, then i looked to my rear and the back of the sled started to wash out..i pinned the sled to try and side hill out of it but i was going down the hill...i looked up and seen a wall of snow comming at me and i thought about pulling my ABS bag (avalanche backpack system - back pack inflates an air bag to keep you close to the surface when caught in an avalanche). i eneded up burried up to the bottom of my ribs. back of the sled was covered. half of the front of the sled was sticking out.

my buddies heard me pin the gas and they moved out of the way (they were at the bottom of the hill) and they went to higher ground around the corner. after i stopped moving and they got to higher ground they asked if i needed help. i told them to stay over there because i didnt want them to trigger another avalanche and possibly get burried too.

so i spent about 45 mins getting un burried and getting my sled out.

snow was like concrete (snow heats up when moving then froze when stopped moving), so it was labor intensive getting out. needless to say i needed a beer and a break after that one.

because of the avvy we called it a day up on the hill, and went to play in the trees in the meadows below.

here are some pics. you can see how thick the slab was from the zoomed in pic.
 

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Mountain M0DERAT0R
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
here you can see the top of the ridge...

the two paralell dotted lines represent the thickness of the slab - which was about 18"-20" thick. that was the peak of the avalanche....my sled is at the bottom obvously.

the soft snow was on top of a harder layer. when i cut through the soft layer to the harder layer, the softer layer didnt have time to "bond" to this harder layer (from the snowfall earlier that week). so its unstable and this is why i had caused the avalanche.
 

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Super Moderator
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I'm glad you are able to post pictures about it. I'm glad you are ok. Dang, that's too close. With all this rain we are having, avalanche conditions are going from very high to extreme. Time to play in the low spots for a couple of weeks and let this stuff settle out.
 

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Mountain M0DERAT0R
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
BC - thanks dude. yeah, i'm lucky it didnt turn out worse.

avvy conditions wed of this past week were a 3 moving to 4, thursday it was a 4, friday it was a 4 moving to 3 and saturday it was a 3..(out of 5).

but we did get back into one bowl this saturday and seen this...

the slide had to of happened thursday or friday cuz it was solid as a rock saturday when we got there. to the right of the slide was solid. a buddy got stuck and while we were up there we checked the snow and everything over there was bonded well.

on the zoomed up photo that was a highmark made by a buddy of mine. because the slide happened a day or two before he thought it was safe, as did we. so he went up to high mark...its safe to say we stayted to the right given the fact he trenched through to rocks...and none of us wanted to run our sleds over rocks that high up on the face. but you can see the fracture line from where the snow let loose.

we figured some snow fell off the rocks (where that nob is in the center of the first picture) and caused the rest of the snow to let loose...that was our theory at least.
 

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thats what scares me about hill climbing , just as soon ride through an open field or something , better to come home imho! i understand the thrill of the climb, just not for me !i live in utah so we have some serious mountians around here, (i am sure they do in
washington too) all the same i will stay close to trail :) !! happy trails!!!
 

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Mountain M0DERAT0R
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
yeah, i understand your point.

but sledding in the mountains is a calculated risk. between avalanches, loosing your sled in a crevase, or loosing your sled over a ravine, someone getting injured and needing to call the helicopter, or even breaking down. you need to weigh the factors. anything can happen up there. you just need to be prepared, have your equipment working 100%, wear your safety/avalanche equipment, and be ready to react in an extreme situation (when/if it happens).
 

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i understand why you guys do what you do as well ! just not my cup of tea to ride the razors edge all day , one wrong turn of bars , and your dead ! i work with a guy that rides like that !! go to some places like fairview, your tail is sucked up into the seat all day long ! you better have the best equipment and experiance money can buy , or the odds are pretty good your going home in a body bag !
 

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That is a real close call. Here in Idaho we've had a few like that, and I so do not want to repeat it. Matter a fact we were gonna head out today but it was raining below 6000 feet and we said no way! Glad you made it thru.
 

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PanicAttack
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phew, man you're lucky! Glad you're ok, being in the situation always has me on high alert when riding where I do, so far haven't had anything close to your experience. Ride on dude, but uh.. keep a weathered eye on the snow!
 

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sledhead for life
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I'm glad you made it out ok mike. How have you been doing lately? Is there a web site that i can check on avvy conditions before i go sledding?
 

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Mountain M0DERAT0R
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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Wow, you'r a lucky man. Having been buried up to my chest myself, I don't want to have it happen again.
 

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Sconnie
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Dam* man close call! Thats intense
 

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Mountain M0DERAT0R
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
thanks guys.

im actually glad i was in the slide...in a sence.

now when i roll up to a chute or a side of the hill, i read the hillside before i ride it. where as before i just "seen" or "looked at" the side ofthe hill.

its made me more aware, and a more safe rider.
 

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Mountain M0DERAT0R
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hahah...we just like to step it up a few notches here in the west - lol
 

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sledhead for life
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Mountain M0DERAT0R
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
'97 - no problem dude.

btw, jay got test ride a new RMK PRO yesterday and after he bought it. how bad ass is that?!?!?! LOL

FYI - TTT as a reminder of what can happen or lies in the mountains for those of us riding in the steep and deep.
 

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sledhead for life
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That's awesome,how is it compared to his last sled?
 

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sledhead for life
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Pi500,what's the elavation at the radio tower
 
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