Monday, January 25, 2010

Lets Do It Again

A reader of this blog ask for this essay to be published in the Blog.

This group BC skied at Mores Creek Summit area this past Saturday January 23rd and enjoyed great Pow.

Brandon, thanks for the pics!


Lets do it Again

I have been enjoying the Mores Creek Blog for a while and now have the opportunity to contribute.  I am a relatively new BC skier, so I’m not comfortable pontificating on snow conditions, terrain, or basically anything else useful.  What I do feel qualified to comment on is the fresh exhilarating experience of my first forays into the backcountry.

I have long enjoyed being outdoors, and the winter is one of my favorite seasons. Even though I have been a mountain biker, a climber, and a skier for some time, backcountry skiing was still intimidating, and not without reason.  I’ve been lucky to have climbing mentors, biking mentors, and now skiing mentors to help me learn quickly and safely.

I always think it’s cold when I get out of the car, but a few hundred feet up the trail a jacket seems like an encumbrance.  The higher I go the better the scenery gets, but I have to keep my eyes peeled for snow and terrain conditions if I want to learn.  This doesn’t feel like a burden though, conversely the sense of personal responsibility is exhilarating.  It is me and my buddies, and we are all responsible for each others safety on some level.

Once I get to the top I notice that a pristine slope waiting for my signature (my writing is very messy at this point), but I’m in no hurry to drop in.  We have a bite to eat, dig a pit, and only then is it time to strip the skins and glide down.

Not all the skiing is fun.  Bushes try and grab my tips, and crust appears uninvited, but it’s all good.  When I’ve finally run the gauntlet of snow snakes and flat spots and arrive at the bottom one thought runs my mind.  “Lets do it again”.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pilot Peak - January 18

It is unreal to think about three very different days of backcountry skiing at Mores Creek Summit, and each with wonderful snow to ski. Today we were presented with the GRAND FINALE for this holiday weekend, more snow!

The snotel reported 3 inches (~ 8 cm), but above 5000 feet we drove to Mores Creek Summit on 15-20 cms of NEW snow. Apparently the snowplows were busy taking care of the Boise - Idaho City corridor, so we had the the road for ourselves, and we skinned on the road before we starting to climb on the mountain.

We skied the "Glades" at Pilot Peak. And we only saw another party of two at Pilot Peak. We also noticed during the day a set of good looking tracks being set at Winter Corner.

The NEW snow (up to 25 cms above 7000 feet of elevation) was soft and velvety at N and NE aspects, or under the protection of the mature tree stands in the old growth forest. But at NEE (60 degrees) and E aspects the snow was heavier in texture, and a crust was formed later in the day, once temps started to drop.

I was BC skiing and hanging around with a friend that recently completed his AVI L1, and three others that are about to complere their AVI L2 course. Thus, a quick pit was not enough to satisfy their "scientific" and "nerdy" curiosity of my companions. THEY wanted to do a a full study snow pit. Below a picture of the snowpack profile.

Notice a practice I am fond of; draw the hardness versus pit depth on the snow pit wall. The snow depth was 1.5 meters;  with a layer of 0-20 cm of F hard new snow,  20-35 cm 4F hard snow (surface hoar weak layer interface at 35cm), 35-60 cm 4F hard snow, 60-80 cm 1F hard snow (surface hoar weak layer interface at 80 cm), 80-110 cm 1F hard snow, 110-120 P hard snow, 130-150 Fist hard sugary facets = DEPTH HOAR". It is hard NOT to notice the significant settlement (gradual snow compaction due to gravity) and snow grains sintering in the snowpak.

Another picture of my friends (and Pedro in the foreground) auscultating the snow on a NE aspect at 7300 feet, 20 feet above a fracture crown from the mid December avalanche cycle.

In summary, we continue to have evidence of propagation potential on the basal "depth hoar" (DH) layer. Non standard tests such as "deep tap" tests continue to show moderate to easy failures with Q1 shear quality. However this layer is buried  120-130 cm down, and it is not easy to trigger it. But weak spots in the snowpack (rocky and/or shallow spots) can potentially trigger this weak layer. Caution and conservative decision making continues to be the rule of the game.

The two buried surface hoar layers continue to gain strength with the recent gradual loading (new snow from last Wednesday and Today) and warm temperatures. Testing at a NE aspect did not produce failures (CT30, and ECTX) on the SH layers of concern. But in another pit in a East aspect we obtain a CT11Q3 on the shallower buried SH layer (35 cm). A repeat of the compression test resulted in a hard score (CT22). This might be the result of spatial variability due to the nature of SH deposition.

In summary, the snowpack has gained strength, but the persistence of the DH, and variability of the SH distribution requires that we do not let the guard down!

Below some additional pics snapped during the day by Brandon.

We also got the following report from another friend, and adds more support to the need to carefully evaluate steep slopes to be skied:

I wanted to post this to the West Central blog site but I can't figure out how to do it.
Over the weekend a group from Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue Unit Snow camped at 6800 ft off the road to Sun Set Mountain. The conditions for making snow shelters were challenging with only 120 cm of snow to work with. Most people in the group used a mound style shelter, piling snow and packing it down up to the 200 cm level. Trench shelters were not possible as the buried surface hoar layer limited the block size and was not affected by packing down the area. My partner and I were the only lucky ones to have a bush right in the middle of our shelter! Not many people get to sleep both in the bushes and in a snow shelter at the same time.
We performed stability analysis on a 32 deg NE facing slope at 6800 ft. We had two failures on the base layer, both Q1 with sudden collapses. We scored a CT12Q1 on the base layer, and a ECT21Q1 also on the base layer propagating the entire column. We also performed a penetration saw test. Knowing the story with the base layer I chose to fail the surface hoar layer 70cm from the ground. We did not observe this layer failing in any CT tests but I wanted information about the propagation likelihood of this layer. We isolated a 100cm x 30 cm block and easily identified the surface hoar layer of interest (70cm from ground in a 120cm snow pack). The block failed 35cm into the cut with a very energetic and clean release. We scored a PST100/35Q1End 70cm from ground for this test.

This week I am teaching an AVI L1 for Wallowa Alpine Huts (North-eastern Oregon), and the weekend after, I will be teaching the final two field sessions of a NSP AVI L2 at Soldier Mountain Ski resort. Thus, this will be my last snow report for a while. But I am certain that there will be others submitting their observations and publishing their postings!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Freeman January 17 + Snow Essay

Suffice to say, today was a good day at Freeman. With the day to ourselves my dad and toured the South and West Glades of Freeman, and skied on the return to the car a line north of Freeman that rarely see skiers. It was nice to lay tracks on slopes that have gone untracked for the season!

Check the next video of some of the fun skiing in soft snow:

Pedro BC Skiing at Freeman 1.17.2010

For our efforts to get up to Freeman we got some nice turns. The snow was skiing well, but at south exposures below 7000 feet, the snow became instructional due to random spots with "Gestapo" crusts. Below, a topo map summarizing today's tour; blue lines correspond to uptracks, and green lines to downhill ski lines we skied.

Pedro breaking trail as we head from Freeman South Glades to the West Glades.

Inevitably you will run into snowmobiles during a visit to the the west Glades.

A view of Wilson Peak from the West Glades.

Nice Tracks from another party (apparently from yesterday - Saturday) on the northern extremes of the West Glades.

Pedro skinning up from the bottom of one of the runs in the West Glades

Bogus Basin Shafer Butte and Mores mountain in the background as view from the West Glades.

In the morning we put the forecast at low with pockets of moderate. As long as you don't fool around with terrain traps, places of with a low snowpack (already avalanched slopes), or the steeps life should be good.

Although we didn't dig a snow pit (because my Dad dug a full pit yesterday yesterday in the same general area) we still gleaned some info. Early in the afternoon the snow at the SW and West aspects between 7-7800 feet had some free water that allowed to form snowballs, not a lot free water, but enough to densify the top layers of the snowpack, and/or form crusts. In other words, if we do not a snow refresh, skiing is going to get challenging!

The good news is that the heat has not affceted NW, N and NE aspects above 7000, and you could NOT make snowballs yet.

Overall, I had a great time despite a minor problem with the process of breaking in my boots. The skiing was great and the views were even better. It was definitely a good day to be out touring and enjoying the outdoors. In that spirit I will leave you with the essay I wrote a couple days ago for the University of Washington application, which was my last application(woot!). I don't really know how good it is, but whats the harm in sharing?

Prompt: In 300 words answer- What do you wonder about, ponder, or wish you knew more about that isn't within your intended filed of study? Would you ever be willing to put everything else on hold to satisfy your curiousity?

Nature’s majesty has captivated me since the time I was a child. In part the night sky captivated my interest, but so did the allure of white covered mountains. Unlike most I started skiing at 2 and backcountry skiing only a decade later. In a stark contrast to everyday life the serenity drew me in time after time. At first it was the trackless runs in the backcountry that satisfied me. As time endured though the quiet of the morning climb ever so steadily became the favorite part of my day. I had skied on white slopes, I had climbed on white slopes, but there was one thing left to do: understand nature’s secrets about white slopes.
This year nature’s mystery made itself known to me. Course after course, day after day I learned as much as I could about snow science. The thing is, there is a lot to learn. Even those who have been out for hundreds of days learn new things everyday. With every answered question comes ten more questions to answer. The possibilities and fun in snow science and avalanche education are simply endless.
While I wouldn’t put my career in cosmology on hold for snow science just yet, that doesn’t mean it has to be the end of it. To the contrary, pursuing both would lead to a uniquely rich and diverse life. It is akin to the concept of the Renaissance individual. The true capacity of a Renaissance individual is the ability to delve into one subject to find answers to another. In this instance, I not only hope, but in some ways expect to find answers to the big questions of cosmology by merely being in nature’s presence.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Freeman Peak - January 16th

The relatively warm temperatures of the last few days have allow the snowpack to settle and accelerate the sintering process. It is still possible to identify interfaces at 25 cm (recent snow) and 45 cm (buried SH), but on a NE slope at 7600 feet of elevation, none of these two weak layers reacted to compression tests. However, we continue to be surprise at the persistence of basal layer instability. This layer failed at CT21 with a "sudden collapse" (Q1).

Skiing was fun on NE and N slopes, with 25 cm of soft pow. Slopes protected from the wind and sun, had some delightful non-cohesive snow. During the afternoon, about 2 cm of new snow were added to the snowpack. South and SE aspects developed a breakable crust late this past week. Too bad, because our party wanted to do some skiing on that aspect.

Below 6200 feet level, a rain crust was present at all aspects buried under the 10-15 cm of new snow.

Find below a chart for the Mores Creek Summitt  based on Snotel data, with temperatures (right axis) and precipitation (left axis) for the 2009-2010 water year (starting October 1st). In this chart it is easy to identify the mid-December dry and cold period responsible for the depth hoar formation (deep instability). It is also very noticeable the warming trend for the last week responsible for the consolidation and densification of the top meter of the snowpack.

Below a picture taken today of the snowpack at  7600 feet, NE aspect.

Below the fist hard top 25 cm of snow, the snowpack hardness increases gradually from 4F to 1F, until the depth hoar layer, where the hardness is "Fist". The good news is that the denser top snow will act as a "bridge" and limit the activation of the problematic basal layer. The bad news is that if these weak layer is somehow activated, a very deep and dangerous avalanche will result. The snowpack at Mores Creek summit appears to be relatively uniform, thus it is not easy to find an effective trigger point for basal layer instabilities. But we need to stay vigilant, particularly on steep and thinner areas (such as slopes that avalanched during the mid-December instability cycle).

Today was my first visit to Freeman this year, and I was able to "open" Ralph's Igloo to business! I was not sure where the entrance was, but I guessed right.

Above Steven exiting the Igloo, and below, Brandon writing a "Thank You" note on the "visitors journal".

During my second uphill climb, another party was already enjoying the Igloo.

On a separate note, this is the first time in MANY MANY MANY years that I observed the tracks of two snowmobilers on the Freeman ridge. The snowmobilers dropped into the Freeman ridge, and continued on a south spur to the Twelve Mile Creek side. They exited the same way they came down.

The pull-out at Freeman was nearly full today, with a good number of folks in the hill, and it was a pleasure to chat with the various groups. However, it is worthwhile to note we never crossed our downhill ski tracks with any of the other parties tracks! That speaks volumes on the significant amount of lines and terrain that can be skied at Freeman peak.

What we need at this point is a good storm to cover the old tracks. Wednesday new snow provided a very skiable refresh. But tracks from the first week of January can still be seen under the recent snow. More snow will also help in finally covering the brush at the lower elevations of Mores Creek Summit area and open more exits runs in those areas.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Finding Places to go Backcountry Skiing in SW Idaho

Southwestern Idaho has several mountain passes where you can find fantastic skiing such as Mores Creek Summit, Beaver Creek Summit, and Banner Summit areas along Idaho 21 State Road, as well as Galena Pass on I-75.

A great resource to get acquanted with is the the link to the Idaho Transportation Department:

Idaho Transportation Department - Idaho Roads Conditions

This link has good information such as webcams, temps, road closures, and other general information. Mountain passes can be identified by the following symbol:

Mountain Passes

Buy a Topo Map program. Carefully study the topo map corresponding to the mountain passes. And drive through these mountain passes, STOP your vehicle, LOOK UP....... then make your mind where you want to go touring and skiing!

Get familiar with secondary roads open during the winter (Warm Lake road is an example) or Forest Service roads that open late in the spring ( for example, Snowbank FS road, closed from November 1st through May 31st). Call the forest service district ranger office of your area of interest and ask.

We are also extremely fortunate to have local ski resorts with open boundary policies, such as Bogus Basin, Brundage, and Soldier Mountain. Make sure to follow the ski resort rules; exit ONLY by gates, and ONLY when the gates are OPEN. Talk to the ski patrol, they will be very happy to offer guidance and suggestions. Once more, for terrain surrounding the ski resorts study the topo maps - you will be pleasantly surprised to find so MUCH skiing variety and touring opportunities.

Google Earth is a wonderful tool to explore potential back country skiing objectives. It is an effective tool to identify "open areas" to ski in what might otherwise appears to be heavily timbered.

If you own a snowmobile - your BC Skiing opportunities are infinite in Idaho. Once you access one of the many trailheads, you are only limited by the snowmobile gas capacity. Thus no need to add no more!

As you study the Idaho topo maps to identify ski opportunities, make sure that you print your maps in the 1:24000 scale. That will allow you to use available map tools to estimate average slope steepness. A good "quad tool" is the Brunton:

Estimating average slope angles is an essential part of trip planing. The Brunton Quad tool has a scale for slope angle. For those that own a Snow, Weather, and Avalanche Guidelines field notebook (SWAG Blue book), there is also a slope angle scale available for various maps scales (including 1:24000). By the way, this field notebook is a must have item for those passionate in tracking the snowpack during the winter.

You can get this field notebook at:

The "quad tool" is useful in identifying safe climbing routes and uphill track approaches. Furthermore, areas of concerns such as steep slopes, avalanche paths, and cliffs can be identified. Do not forget that topo maps are ineffective in identifying "micro features", so do not trust blindly the information.

Finally, there are many of us that want to share Idaho's backcountry skiing with you. We care about sharing information about BC ski destinations that will make your trip safe, match your experience level,  and peg the fun meter at the MAX level. I know I speak for my many of my friends and supporters of this blog; there is enough backcountry skiing and touring in South Western Idaho to be shared among us. And that there are no reasons NOT to work together to reach this goal.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Big Creek Summit - Wednesday January 13 th

Today it made sense to spent the stormy day in the woods. And at the end of the day there were no regrets!

Big Creek Summit (6580 feet elevation) is located on the road to Warm Lake. The electrical transmission powerlines crossing the road and car pullout are the only indications of Big Creek Summit. The road to warm lake is the first road north of Cascade, off from highway 55, and immediately after crossing the Payette river as you are leaving Cascade.

We found at Big Creek Summit 20 cms of new snow in top of a 0.5 cm of rain crust found at all aspects. Above 7000 feet the crust was present, but it was harder to detect during skiing. The new snow with a density in the 8-10% range, offered soft and fast skiing. It was not not the champagne or blower quality we dream about, but fortunately it was dense enough to keep the ski edges off the rain crust most of the time. The rain crust was the result of the precipitated rain at the start of the storm cycle.

The coverage is not as deep as other years by mid-January, but the 1.4 to 1.5 meters of snow depth was sufficient to appropriately cover the very rocky terrain of Big Creek Summit.

We had enough folks to look at the snowpack at SW, E, and NE aspects at the 7550 elevation mark. At these aspects we did not find a reactive basal layer. But the depth hoar and heavily faceted bottom 40 cms. continues to be a concern for our party. The thick layer of depth hoar and faceted bottom snowpack was present at every one of the 3 pits we excavated.

The surface hoar (SH) layer buried 50-60 cm below the surface had moderate CT scores and Q2 shear quality. The quality of shear was sluggish, but at every one of the 3 snowpits, the fracture plane was very smooth. At  E and NE aspects it is easy to encounter buried SH crystals, but not at the SW aspect, were we could only find a layer of large facets on what used to be the SH interface. Testing for fracture propagation were negative for the basal and buried SH.

Interesting enough at the E and NE (not SW) we detected a layer of large graupel balls (4-5 mm) buried at 30 cm. This interface was nonreactive during the stability tests.

Anyhow, considering the easy RB2-Q1 score for the NEW storm snow, as well as the moderate scores for the buried SH we relied on a conservative approach and did not skied the steep and complex terrain north of Peak 7659.

The skiing at the mellow West and South aspects slopes was fun, and I am looking forward to visit and ski Big Creek Summit again.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Early January Ski Touring Conditions at Mores Creek Summit

The snow conditions at Mores Creek Summit are very favorable for touring and skiing. Depending on the elevation the "ski" snowdepth varies from mid boot to boot high. The snow at NW, N, and NE aspects is soft but creamy in texture, and yesterday it skied very nicely. The snow consistency allowed "bouncy" short turns. The day started with a very light drizzle, that transition into very light snow precipitation for most of the morning, not totaling more than 1-2 centimeters.Winds were calm during the whole day.

You can still find plenty of brush below the 6500 feet elevation, but it is manageable with some extra attention. As the early winter snowpack commences to consolidate trail breaking is becoming easier, and longer tours will be more attractive.

We saw few parties skiing at Freeman and Pilot, but they hardly made a dent on the available skiing. There are plenty of slopes covered with last week snow re-fresh, and waiting to be tilled!

During Saturday, temperatures rose to the the freezing level by mid-afternoon, but the cloud cover and cold snow (from the previous clear and cold nights) remained unaffected, and skiing/riding conditions did not change at all. We noticed significant pockets of surface hoar (SH) and "near surface faceting" (NSF) on the N and NW aspects we toured. But it remains to be seen if the warmer temps and moderate winds forecasted for the first part of this week might destroy the new SH layer.

The snowpack assessment continues to suggest that conservative decision making must be exercised at slopes steeper than 35 degrees. Such slopes exists in the Mores Creek Summit. Not surprisingly, the basal layer and buried SH layer continue to be a concern. During yesterday tour we did not triggered any "Whumpf". A good sign since last Sunday we had a festival of whumpfs.

Testing of the basal layer continues to show propagation potential and moderate CT scores with sudden collapses. Meanwhile, compression test results for the buried SH were troubling with clean shears (Q1) at slope angles ranging from 28 to 40 degrees. A Rutchblock test scoring 4 and Q1 shear quality failed to build our confidence to ski steep slopes, thus we managed our travel and skiing to terrain below 32 degrees. Yesterday snowpack assessment was confined to N and NW aspects and elevations in the 6-7200 feet.

These complex snowpack is unusual for Mores Creek Summit area, and "deep instability" is very concerning due to its unpredictability nature. And we are left with the MOST important technique to manage avalanche danger: SLOPE STEEPNESS! This is a good year to practice and develop slope angle estimation. Most inclinometers market for Backcountry skiers are hard to use to estimate slope wise angles. Please consider making the investment (yes it is an investment - is your life!) and acquire a "sigh-through" clinometer such as Brunton or Suunto. Below an image of a Brunton clinometer. Search the web for good deals - keywords: climometer, brunton.

Early this week I spent time touring the Red Mountain/Norway complex in the southern region of the Wallowa Mountains. It was disconcerting to find the same "regional" deep instabilities found in the Payette, Boise and Sun Valley areas. And as the snowpack builds the buried surface hoar (SH) needs to remain in our mind. At Mores Creek Summit the SH is buried 40-60 cm below the surface. And a snowpack failure will results in a significant avalanche. We need to remember that we are at the mercy of the WIDE spatial variability of the surface hoar distribution before it was buried by the December 28th light snow and subsequent "New Year" higher density snow. Slope angles is the most effective tool to deal with this instability.

Mores Creek Summit is such an amazing gift for all of us. Even on a day like yesterday, with occluded skies for most of the day, there is so much beauty in the forest! And it is so fulfilling to the spirit to pause and observe your party having such a good time within the quiet and serenity of the forest. And it is this simple reality, that drive many of us to extend a hand to those that want to experience Mores Creek Summit wonders. This is the reason this blog exist!


Friday, January 8, 2010

Response to a Comment

Earlier today a comment was posted on the Christmas Day post and although not everyone saw it, I think it is worth responding to. For reference, here is the text,

Posted by Anonymous:

The best way to respond here is point by point so that is what I am going to do. The first couple sentences serve to use the name calling fallacy so its not even worth discussing so lets jump to the heart of Rokjox’s argument.

1. Run Names
If you have met us, we are always looking for better run names. If you have suggestions for naming runs on the map, post them on a map in the blog. Chago has been skiing for approximately 20 years in the area and I have been skiing there for about 6 or 7. Although some runs have “good names,” there are a ton that have just descriptive names like corn nob north. The point here is that we welcome input, we just haven’t received any in the time we have been out there or by email (which will be 5 days in the Mores Creek Area this Saturday).

2. Crowding
Part of the reason for sharing the many areas that Mores Creek Summit has is to distribute the load on the mountain. It is not because of the blog that people are getting out there. Our. sport. is. growing. There is no way around it. Already areas such as Colorado have seen big pickups of backcountry skiers and that is just now starting to hit Idaho. I would rather publish safe routes for new comers to the backcountry than not. Knowing which routes are safe and not goes a long way toward preventing accidents (read as travel in creeks is unadvised). Lastly, the postings on the WestCentralIdahoMountains blog are exactly that, postings for the entire area. There have been postings in the Pilot area as well as Copper. In the spring this will become more common as more areas become less avalanche prone.

3. Danger to new backcountry traffic
EXACTLY, that is why there is the blog. Lets go back, waaaaaaaay back to when the blog was started. Here is some little known history. Chago approached Janet Kellam shortly after a session at the National Avalanche School to discuss the possibilities of expanding the Sun Valley Avalanche Center to include the area we know and love. Unfortunately, despite the fact the Center would have liked to do that, it did not have sufficient funding to forecast for another area. Janet suggested that Chago create a blog in which to post avalanche observations as well as allow others to do the same. From there, the two blogs were created with the mission of being a place where backcountry enthusiasts could post their observations.

So yes, getting more people in a sport increases accidents of that sport, but isn’t that true of any sport? You get more people playing Tennis and you have more Tennis injuries, is that surprising? No. The mission of the blog is to create a place where people interested in the backcountry in the Idaho City Area can look at past observations of their peers to make an initial Forecast for the day they are going. That is not even getting into the single most important thing for Chago and me, getting people to take courses to enrich their understanding in snow science. But I digress.

4. Publicity
The way you are thinking of the blog is, misguided, if anything. The vision for the blog is that it can one day be obsoleted by an Idaho City Avalanche Center. The publicity that the blog brings to the area is no different than the traffic any other Avalanche Center would.

As far as people coming up, contrary to what you propose, I full heartedly encourage people to find knowledgeable mentors and get up there to do things hands on. The notion of “protecting” the area from “outsiders” is ridiculous. The area is as much yours, as mine, as anybody else’s. Don’t wrong people for doing what they enjoy just because it means you might have to choose to ski at Winter Corner or Freeman instead of Pilot one day. Thus far, I have yet to see every parking lot full, and until that happens, there shouldn’t be a problem.

5. Snow Reports
More than anything else, this is what gets me, personally, riled up. I will lead of with the fact that any person who has completed Avalanche Level 1, knows that spatial variability occurs. Let me repeat that, AVY LEVEL 1 TEACHES SPATIAL VARIABILITY. To correct your point actually, you do not even have to be 500 ft away. you get spatial variability in pits dug right next to each other. The essence of your point can be seen as flawed if we simply extend it to other Avy Centers. The point you are making is that Snow Reports can’t be trusted. Ok, so what is the point of having Avy 1, Avy 2, the Payette Avy Center, the Sun Valley Avy Center, National Avalanche School, AMGA, AAA, AIRE, or anything else? That, is what you are suggesting.

The better interpretation of your intent is that due to spatial variability, we should have caution and insight when creating forecasts. Lucky for us, forecasts are not solely based on pits. Good forecasts are based on temperature data, wind data, observation of recent activity, etc. And finally, in any Avy course you might take, you are taught that forecasts should be taken as a guideline and that you should air to the side of safety. Meaning, maybe you see if a super wind-loaded area when the report said that the winds were calm. USE YOUR JUDGMENT.

So while Pilot may not be a “beginner” area, with the right precautions such as looking at the forecast and going out with a mentor, newcomers can have fun and become knowledgeable simultaneously.

Closing Remarks
The last remarks you make serve no purpose and imply that no one, but you has experience in the area. This is of course a ridiculous notion. Chago alone as skied there rougly 20 years. He was actually the first person in Idaho to purchase randonee gear at that. John Taggart has also been here forever and is a leader as an avalanche educator. I could go on and on, but the point is that you are not the only one. I can also be sure that you can’t say you have been skiing in that area since you were 12 as I have been.

Again I digress though, rather than devolve into a discussion of who is the manlier man, here is my point. WE WILL NOT STOP POSTING FORECASTS AND OBSERVATIONS THAT HELP SKIERS MAKE SAFE AND INFORMED DECISIONS IN ORDER TO PREVENT ACCIDENTS. We, the contributors and readers of the blog, are willing to work with you. I have met several from the community here and what it has started is a fantastic collaboration on the mountain. It is creating a community that cares about one another. It creates a community where we can all share in the same joint interest: to enjoy the majesty and wonder of the mountains. As we have from the beginning, we extend a hand of friendship.

Pedro Rodriguez