The AM was very cold, clear, and sunny. Over a foot of new snow from previous 48 hours with SW winds. Wind direction shifted within previous 24 hours out of the NW.
|1||Past 24 hours||
East side of Jughandle
|This avalanche ran over 400 vertical feet, was approximately 75 feet wide, average crown depth was about 12", this was a soft, storm slab avalanche, it failed on a layer of weak snow just above the MF crust buried Monday (04/17), debris pile was an average of 3-4 feet deep, the slope angle near the crown was about 38 degrees|
I made multiple ski cuts below the ridgeline before committing to the slope. Soft, loose snow was observed with ski cuts. The avalanche was triggered right after committing to skiing the slope.
Wednesday (04/19), I unintentionally triggered an avalanche while skiing solo. This was a very close call. Thankfully, I was not caught in this slide and I was able to ski away from this incident and reflect on what mistakes were made leading up to the avalanche.
There are six common heuristic traps leading up to avalanche accidents. An acronym (FACETS) is used to describe those human factors:
F- Familiarity (I skied this slope under similar conditions last year right around this time)
C- Commitment (I was very goal-oriented to ski steeper north and east-facing slopes)
E- Expert Halo (over-confident in my decision making skills to think I knew exactly what was going on with the snowpack)
T- Tracks, or social facilitation
S- Scarcity (bluebird, Spring, powder days are rare, this was an example of trying to ski soft powder before the April sun changed the snow)
- I did not see previous avalanche activity on the adjacent slope
- Traveling solo into steep, avalanche terrain. I was pushing too hard for solo travel that day
- I assessed snowpack stability previous to the avalanche but that was done on different aspects