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aje917 View Drop Down
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mmMMMmm death dogs

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Backcountry Question
    Posted: May/08/2010 at 10:02am
So i wanna know about backcountry boarding.  Specifically what to bring, what not to bring? What type of features you look for when choosing a mountain?  How do you make jumps? or whats the easiest way to make a jump? 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2010 at 6:28am
how good of a rider are you? and i prefer natural features, make sure to bring lots of warm clothing food that wont go stale and a tent pm me if you have any more questions good luck.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2010 at 6:39am
Before you start building jumps you probably just want to ride backcountry for a while and get used to riding powder. Once you get more experiences you'll start to see what good natural features are or where to build your kicker
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2010 at 6:41am
andrethegiant , It say you're from the east coast, im from NC, anywhere to free ride over here?
Romans 1:16 For I a m not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/09/2010 at 10:15am
Originally posted by andrethegiant

how good of a rider are you? and i prefer natural features, make sure to bring lots of warm clothing food that wont go stale and a tent pm me if you have any more questions good luck.


This is a general question for everyone who is interested in backcountry like me.  I consider myself a good rider i do have things to work on but thats more park riding not so much just bombing hills.  Ive been riding for about 4 years anywhere from colorado to mammoth to tahoe to big bear. 

The last time i went climbing in bishop though my friend who worked at mammoth said he would either take snow mobiles or snowshoes and just go backcountry on the sierra's
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/10/2010 at 11:52am
Avalanche beacon, probe, and rescue shovel are a must. Practice with these before you go out. Bury the beacon in a backpack and locate it with probes. Take turns till everyone in your crew can locate it quickly, every second counts.

Depending on where you are going a GPS is nice. ALWAYS ride with a crew, preferably someone that knows the area. Always notify someone in the real world where you are going and when you plan to be back. *Side note* Don't get drunk and forget to call the person you told where you are going when you get back, it freaks 'em out lol**

Warm clothes, survival gear to survive a night in the wild, alpine sleeping bag, stuff to make/start a fire, and food. I always carry a 9mm auto too, just in case.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/11/2010 at 7:37am
do you use snowshoes? treking poles? 2nd pair or boots for hiking? headlamp? water filter? anything else.  For shovel what do you guys recomend?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/11/2010 at 10:55am
We ride snowmobiles cause we're lazy lol. As far as shovels go, anything that is lightweight and can be assembled/un-folded quickly. I use a knock off military entrenching tool with a rounded blade.
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mmMMMmm death dogs

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/11/2010 at 12:54pm
so a beach shovel wont work?!LOL
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/11/2010 at 12:58pm
ive always wanted to ride backcountry but i think i need a lot more practice before I start :/ gl when you go!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/11/2010 at 4:25pm
Well you should first know or be avalanche certified. Then like other people have said, your beacon, probe and shovel. Then water, food, dry clothes, walkies talkies are nice. And you should have a good sense of the area of where your going just in case something does happen.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/11/2010 at 4:29pm

 

Originally posted by evl4fun

I always carry a 9mm auto too, just in case.

I'm sorry but really, is it necessary to carry a gun with you whilst snowboarding? Just in case wild animals attack? Confused

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2010 at 3:35am
Originally posted by aubzaubz

 

Originally posted by evl4fun

I always carry a 9mm auto too, just in case.

I'm sorry but really, is it necessary to carry a gun with you whilst snowboarding? Just in case wild animals attack? Confused



Wait till you are miles from no where and you hear a pack of wolves howling. Not to mention I've read numerous articles of BC hikers and what not being killed by psychos in the middle of no where. Not that I worry about it that much but......

Better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2010 at 3:37am
I dont know if a water filter would work so well considering most of it is frozen. Just bringing the normal camping gear + snowboard gear + extra warm clothing. Just make sure you do research on the mountain before you head out.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2010 at 3:39am
haha, echo evl, bring ur standard avi gear.

might even want to get like an avi lung or something.

and get avi trained !!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2010 at 3:51am
taking a backcountry course that includes avalanche education is a must, and never go alone, but if you do, make sure someone knows exactly where you are going to be(so they can find your corpse).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2010 at 3:59am
Ha, good one eldo, as i was reading your post, i was thinking man this guy is talking trash, "never go alone...but if you do..."

haha. ageed never ever go alone. the stats say that if you get caught in an avalanche, if you aren't crushed or pulverized into rocks/trees, you will die from asphyxiation within a minute or so. the courses will teach you how to look for danger signs/areas, how to avoid, how to search and likely also dig.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2010 at 4:08am
i lived in CO for 20yrs innocence, i have spent a lot of time in some of the worlds most dangerous backcountry, and a question like this is really absurd if you think about it. Best case scenerio in an avalanche, and you're buried, 20 mins tops.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2010 at 4:11am
Not that this is a substitute for a real live avi course but none the less some good info here Online avi course
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2010 at 8:38am
if anyone has expirence with this and wants to take a newbie next year let me know, i think besides the avalanche safty course im pretty set ive gone snowshoeing, am an eagel scout and have over 5 years of riding exp.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2010 at 8:50am
Definitely take the level 1 avy course.  It'll teach you what you need to know.  Staying in Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper is an excellent book to get you ahead of the class or to reinforce it.  Bruce is the director of the Utah Avalanche Center and is tops in the field.

Most importantly you have to bring your brain and use it.  The avy course and books will show you what to look for and how to look for it, but you have to use your head to make the right decisions.  You don't want to get caught in an avalanche ever.  The gear is great and if it all goes south, it's your last chance.  Avoidance is key.  This doesn't mean you won't be around slides either.  If you really get into backcountry riding, you are going to see avalanches, maybe cause a few.  It should be planned stuff with escape routes, belays, or standing in safe zones.  I've got about a half dozen I set off this year.  All of which were talked about and planned with how we'd deal with them.  None of them were close calls and were safe, though a couple of the slides were fairly large.  Not the type of thing you want to take a ride in.  It takes years of experience and I am definitely still learning, then again, I think I always will be.  Take baby steps and remember you can always ride a line on a different day.  That's a hard one to take sometimes, but I guarantee that it will always be the correct choice.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/12/2010 at 9:10am
And don't forget the backpack.  I use "Dakine HeloPro DLX16".  It will come in very handy.  It can carry a pair of skis or a snowboard with lots of features.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/13/2010 at 7:31am
yeah a backpack is a must but dont really know that much about avy awareness
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/22/2010 at 4:17pm
bizzump because theres a whole issue im itching to find out about.

(definitely taking an avi course, so likely itll be explained there).

Ive been reading a few threads lately, and a common thing is experienced bc guys watching new guys to backcountry doing stupid crap. I think back to last year outside the gates at niseko and i cant see any stupid crap i did, but i know for a fact that im very likely one of the idiots these guys are staring at in disbelief :)

Im curious what the stupid stuff we inexperienced people do that has more experienced guys and girls jaw on the floor. Obvious stuff and less obvious welcome. Its all helping to build up my knowledge on it. :) Basically whats worrying me is that i dont know im doing it when im doing it :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/23/2010 at 1:03pm
ippolilite, it can run a dozen different ways.  Experienced guys make mistakes too, hopefully not the blatantly stupid ones.

Dropping in on top of someone who is on an avalanche slope is number one.  I see guys riding down very avy prone chutes together.  Had a guy once walk up and drop in on a chute that I was in the middle of.  That is akin to trying to kill someone and I almost killed that person.  It's that serious. 

We had a snowboarder get swept off of a cliff at Berthoud last week.  He lived but his back is broken.  He was traveling on a convex slope that is very avy prone.  An area I stay away from for good reason.  It's been 6 years since I've put a line through that zone, it's that sketch. 

The thing is there is no one stupid thing.  There are tons of stupid things you can do out there.  Even with a trained eye, sometimes you do something dumb.  Hopefully it doesn't have deadly results.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/24/2010 at 3:08am
Cheers dude, so i guess step 1 of all that is understanding the key features to look out for to recognise an avy prone slope :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/24/2010 at 7:17am
Terrain management is a key skill without a doubt.  Knowing your slope angles, recognizing terrain traps, that sort of thing goes a long way in backcountry travel. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/24/2010 at 7:42am
Originally posted by snowboard_ski

And don't forget the backpack.  I use "Dakine HeloPro DLX16".  It will come in very handy.  It can carry a pair of skis or a snowboard with lots of features.
Of course a backpack is needed, but if you go with a split-board you don't need to worry about carrying the board on your back while you traverse up the mountain!
The thing with splitboards though, they freakin' cost a lot right now.  At least $1,000 for everything all total.  Still, it's a good way to cut down on gear and lets you shred anything you can hike to.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/24/2010 at 7:44am
Originally posted by robnezz23

Originally posted by snowboard_ski

And don't forget the backpack.  I use "Dakine HeloPro DLX16".  It will come in very handy.  It can carry a pair of skis or a snowboard with lots of features.
Of course a backpack is needed, but if you go with a split-board you don't need to worry about carrying the board on your back while you traverse up the mountain!
The thing with splitboards though, they freakin' cost a lot right now.  At least $1,000 for everything all total.  Still, it's a good way to cut down on gear and lets you shred anything you can hike to.

They can be expensive, but you can find complete kits for $500 or so if you look. Totally worth it.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/24/2010 at 7:48am
shouldnt the current weather report also be something to keep an eye on? 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/24/2010 at 8:29am
Originally posted by VermontRider

Originally posted by robnezz23

Originally posted by snowboard_ski

And don't forget the backpack.  I use "Dakine HeloPro DLX16".  It will come in very handy.  It can carry a pair of skis or a snowboard with lots of features.
Of course a backpack is needed, but if you go with a split-board you don't need to worry about carrying the board on your back while you traverse up the mountain!
The thing with splitboards though, they freakin' cost a lot right now.  At least $1,000 for everything all total.  Still, it's a good way to cut down on gear and lets you shred anything you can hike to.

They can be expensive, but you can find complete kits for $500 or so if you look. Totally worth it.


And you will still find situations where you need to rack the board on your back.  Traversing wind blown ridges, spring approaches where you have to hike to snow line, booting up steep couloirs and other reasons.  I probably put my split on my back at least a half dozen times a season.  I've already done it once this year to access some lines off of the continental divide.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Nov/24/2010 at 8:34am
Originally posted by derbytownjoe

shouldnt the current weather report also be something to keep an eye on? 


Yes that is yet another thing.  Especially if it's predicted to be snowing hard and/or lots of wind during a snow storm.  If it's snowing at 1" and hour for over six hours, avalanche danger is going to become dangerous very quickly.  At 2" an hour it gets crazy in under half that time.  In other words, it's time to choose your terrain very carefully or go to the bar.

Wind can be even worse.  It can take transport snow from a windward side to a lee side in huge amounts.  Often times 10X the amount of snow that fell from the sky on any given slope.  Creating pillows, wind slabs, and other things that are just waiting for the weight of a snowboarder to get them to rip loose. 

Like Jeremy Jones says, there are 20 things that he is looking for and if one of them is a red flag, he'll pull the plug on the line they are attempting.  I would say there is at least that much you are looking for everytime you are out there. 

Don't get me started on temperature...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/05/2011 at 3:06am
Killclimbz, i have another question. Again im sure i could just ask the dudes at the avi course, but imagine youre hiking up to a line, its a nice big wide open bowl, and its in that magic 30-45 degree range, and hell, lets add some cornices so its obviously been loaded, and lets also add its southern facing so is getting hit by the sun. Theres no direct abort flag, but theres lots of little flags that have you on edge and realising youll need to assess this. So heres my question: where on earth do you dig your pit? You have to be on the slope, you also have to be on the right aspect of the slope (say for example theres a slight hint of a chute on it that you want to hit). But you dont really want to be traversing the very slope that youre not 100% on? But you need to get on it to carry out the test. Its something im sort of struggling to get my head around. Ive seen recommendations on similar lying slopes, but what if there isnt one?

Am i just going to have to bring handgrenades with me and lob them off the ridge to make sure? :) The pit test seems a bit catch 22 and its blowing my mind. You need to do a pit test because youre unsure of the safety of the slope, but to perform the pit test youre adding stress to the very slope youre trying to test.
Theres got to be an elegant solution to this :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/05/2011 at 8:08am
First off, you want to check everything surrounding the day.  What is the avalanche report for the day?  Are there signs of recent avalanche activity?  If I see recent avalanche activity, that is a big no go red flag.  Pick a different safer line.  Even lightly forested slopes are way safer than an open bowl. Whumpfing, shooting cracks are also big red flags.  If you see this, choose a safer line or go home.

When you are at the digging a pit phase, you are looking for clues to not do your intended line.  Not the opposite.  So this is where it gets a bit dicey.  There is no better slope to dig on than the one you intend to do.  So if the slope is a bit suspect dig at the top of the slope.  Have a spotter in a safe zone watching you.  If it rips, hopefully it's going to rip out below you.  Leaving maybe streaks in your shorts, but otherwise unharmed.  If you get no red flags with your tests in the (rutchsblock, Extended Column Test, Column test etc...), move out more onto and down on the slope and dig another pit.  This is where the spotter is key.  If you are not comfortable doing this, than this is probably not the day to do your intended line.  You can also have someone belay you, if they can have a good anchor to do this from.

Finally, cornice bombs are a great way to test a slope.  Just make sure you are far back from the cornice when you cut it free.  They have a nasty way of breaking way further back than you think is possible and pulling you over the edge.  I've seen this happen.  I've dug down to dirt or anchored into trees to do this.  If you can drop a bus sized cornice onto a slope and not set it off, you are probably not going to set it off by riding it. 

If you do decide to run it, talk about your escape plans and safe zones.  The first person down should do a big, hard slope cut with an out as a final test.  Know what your plans are should everything go south before you are on the slope.  That sort of thing can make the difference between life and death.  If there are any high consequence obstacles, like cliffs, rocks, or trees to run into should it go bad, I will make damn sure that I am sure it won't slide before doing it.  Any questions and I am doing something else. 

Generally speaking when I go to do something, I have two or three alternatives in mind should conditions turn out to not be ideal for doing the line safely.  One of those alternatives might be back to the car and off to the bar, but it's a safer alternative. 

Once again though, recent avalanche activity, danger ratings, whumpfing, shooting cracks, supersedes any false negatives you get with your pit or cornice bombs.

Sunny slopes, at least around here tend to be more stable mid winter.  More of a freeze thaw thing going on.  The main problem with them is that new snow doesn't tend to bond well initially.  So you can get new snow to slide on the harder crust layer.  In a wetter climate like the PNW, you could be worried about the snow getting water percolating through it and setting up wet slide potential.  That should be obvious is you are up against this, and timing is everything.  Get your routes done early.  In the spring time here, it means that you are done by 11am. 

Unfortunately the Forest Service and other law enforcement agents do not look favorably on people using explosives in the backcountry.  Take baby steps out there, you'll get consistently better with experience. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/05/2011 at 5:46pm
this thread now needs a sticky. :) Thanks for the awesome answer. Im definitely looking forward to dropping bus size cornice bombs! (obviously checking beforehand that no ones on the slope or even near it).
So really it seems a nice tether is pretty necessary for more advanced bc riders, and for less experienced ones just skipping it entirely if they aint 100% sure :)

Just came across this on teton:

so it probably should be added to echo yoru point on false positives.

http://www.fsavalanche.org/NAC/techPages/articles/06_ISSW_FalseStable.pdf

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Its fun to learn, but i have a hard time dealing with the practicalities of anything (being a little abstract by nature), so its good to read it in nice down to earth language :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan/07/2011 at 4:47am
Cornice bombs are an absolute blast to drop in the backcountry.  We've dropped some big ones over the years. 

Where are your backcountry adventures going to be taking place? 
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