Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

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Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:19 pm

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This morning we got up in time but it was snowing with low fog until 10:00AM so we waited until then to go out. Once out it still looked foggy toward Zurs but the top of Lech’s terrain was clear so we headed up there on Steinmahder. View from the top:
IMG_7850.JPG


We first took a lap there as the powder near its pistes was only lightly tracked. But while riding Kriegerhorn or Hasensprung I can’t help but notice this to looker’s right:
IMG_7852.JPG


It takes some figuring out to get there, and it seems most of the Euros won’t make the effort. The hill directly off the east side of Steinmahder is very rocky, so you ski around that on a piste and the backside of the hill in that pic is then in front of you but with a rise. On my first try I followed the 227 piste to skier’s right and wound up traversing into that powder about ¼ of the way down.

On my second go I noticed a single traverse track leading to a short step-up, started to drop in early then moved over to a less tracked line. On the third try I knew which step up line to follow and went to the very top.
IMG_7854.JPG

This took all of 5 minutes, trivial by Alta standards for the ensuing fall line of powder. The very steepest line was a bit sketchy as there was almost no base before the storms of the past two weeks. For my final two runs here I traversed in from skier’s left via piste 237. These runs had slightly less vertical but were more untracked.

After 2:30PM it started to cloud over again. I took my final run on the 203 skiroute from Kriegerhorn, a variation on the first run Sunday. There was a new layer of snow, but it was still trickier due to being skied more Sunday plus the light was pretty flat by then. With lots more skiing to come I called it a day at 3:15 with 19,400 vertical, about 8K of powder.
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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby Admin » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:30 pm

Was that face controlled? I'm trying to figure it out for sure, but I don't see a piste 227 or 237 on your map. However, I found an older map drawn from a different angle that makes the location of this hill fairly apparent because you named the lifts and the position from those lifts, even though those piste numbers appearing on that map, either.

map.jpg
There, right?


There are no marked runs on that face and the only marked piste below it is 35a on that map, but your last photo verifies that there's no way in hell a slide on this face could reach that run thanks to an intervening deep ravine and broad flat. I also don't see any evidence in that photo of control efforts having taken place, so I'm fairly confident that it's not controlled.

So, I presume that you finally took that avalanche course that you have steadfastly resisted for years, consulted and understood that morning's avalanche report, dug a pit to verify the slope's stability, carried the requisite avalanche gear, and took a partner with you?
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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby Admin » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:07 pm

Your silence is deafening. You've replied to other topics on these forums but haven't addressed my question.
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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby EMSC » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:41 pm

Admin wrote:Your silence is deafening.


We all know the answer to your questions. One person just doesn't like to admit to the answers is all.
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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby Admin » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:00 pm

EMSC wrote:
Admin wrote:Your silence is deafening.


We all know the answer to your questions. One person just doesn't like to admit to the answers is all.


It actually goes beyond that. The facts that I purposely left out until now is that the avalanche rating in Lech that day was "considerable" and a guided skier was killed in an avalanche that very day just across the street:
http://amountainjourney.com/avalanche-zurs-austria/

The fact is that the Euros don't control avalanches the way we've come to expect in the US. A quick look at that map clearly reveals that they intended to leave that face pretty much alone, judging how the marked pistes are routed to intentionally avoid any risk of slides from that face. That face is the perfect pitch to slide. And to jump right into it without any appropriate knowledge is blindly ignorant at best, and incredibly selfish at worst as you're risking the lives of rescuers to come retrieve your frozen corpse just so that your family can have a funeral.
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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby Staley » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:12 pm

Plenty of convex rollovers as well to serve as weak spots in a thin snowpack. There are lines on that mountain that look flat enough to be safe (lookers right to left on top of the spine/ridge with the cornices in the left third of the photo would be my preferred line), but I agree with Admin that the steepest lines on that face look like prime steepness for a slide.
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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:01 pm

I am reading admin's Monday morning quarterbacking for the first time tonight. Yes that face was powder but it wasn't exactly pristine. There were a ton of tracks in there from Sunday, and I always skied very close to them because I knew the base was thin and assumed obstacles lurked below anything completely untracked.

Do I know whether it was bombed? No, but not any more than admin knows it wasn't. This area is not off some edge; it's smack in the middle of Lech's terrain and that gully drains skier's left toward pistes 235 and 238 approaching the Hasensprung chair. And the existence of a shallow gully is no guarantee an avalanche won't run across to a piste on the other side. Look at my TR from Jan. 6 at Mammoth as a good example.

I guess I should ask if James knows this area as he has skied Lech a few times.
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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby Admin » Wed Jan 18, 2017 4:40 pm

Had you received any avalanche education whatsoever, you would fully understand the fact that the presence of other tracks doesn't mean that it won't slide. Just ask the woman who died when North Baldy at Snowbird ran full length a number of years back despite the fact that about 300 others passed through that gate before her.

There is absolutely zero evidence that that area was controlled - there's no slide debris, no pock marking and no gasex - and furthermore the topographic map makes it clear that any slide is not going to reach an in-bounds piste. Look at the last photo - that's no tiny Creek bed and that's a very broad flat. I'm very confident they have not controlled it and as you're the one who skied it, the burden of proof is on you, not me. That needed to be treated the same as backcountry terrain but you didn't even pause to think about it.

I can accept blind ignorance far more readily than I can willful ignorance. You have already told me that you are not willing to get yourself educated because you fear that the class will cut into your powder skiing time. Furthermore I have witnessed your shocking lack of mountain awareness firsthand. This is not Monday morning quarterbacking; rather, it is further evidence that you need to get educated before you get yourself or even worse, somebody else killed. I've already lost one friend to an avalanche, I don't need to lose another because of stubborn ignorance.
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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:16 pm

Your topo map shows light blue stream lines which are presumably the bottom of those gullies flowing continuously downhill. Those blue lines cross pistes 35 and 35a on your map at 1500-1600 meters. I have no idea why you think an avalanche could not reach those pistes.

I'll stick my neck out after observing Jan. 6 at Mammoth and say yes they can.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby Admin » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:28 pm

Ummm...are we looking at the same topo? Do you see how flat that terrain gets? No way. You can see those gullies and piste 35a (and those broad flats) in this photo:

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Again, no way. This terrain is not controlled and should therefore be treated as backcountry.

As usual, so therefore not in any way surprising, your response completely ignores the relevant points:

1. You skied this terrain because it was untracked, despite lacking any knowledge about its safety.

2. Avalanche conditions were "considerable" at the time and in fact fatal only a couple of miles away that day.

3. In fact, just one day before you refused to venture more than a few feet from a piste because of avalanche conditions, yet this day with identical conditions, all caution went out the window. Why? Powder lust.

4. You continue to refuse to get educated because you erroneously believe that you're too smart for that.
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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby jamesdeluxe » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:54 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I guess I should ask if James knows this area as he has skied Lech a few times.

I know it but didn't try to access that terrain as during both of my Lech visits in the mid-00s, it snowed a ton. I believe that my preferred offpiste line near the Steinmaehder lift was at the bottom of the map: just above 44a Furkawang.

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Re: Lech, Austria, Jan. 16, 2017

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:17 am

jamesdeluxe wrote:just above 44a Furkawang.

I skied that area twice on the way to Steinmahder Sunday. It was more skied out than the front skiroutes 202 and 203 or the route down to Zug.

Staley wrote:in the left third of the photo would be my preferred line

That was where my first two runs were. The last two were in the right third of the photo and less steep than those. The third run from the top was down an already skied spine, then into that left third terrain lower down.

This entire area is a bunny hill compared to Entre Rios.
http://bestsnow.net
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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