Saturday, June 11, 2011

Decision Making 101

A group of people I know - three of whom have CAA Level 1 avalanche certification - recently attempted to ski to the summit of a big peak in the Purcells with the aim of skiing a line down the steep south face on a hot sunny day in mid-April. What time did they leave? You might guess 4 or maybe even 5 am, but as sure as the Republican party spawned the Tea Party, you'd be unlikely to guess just shy of 11 am.

Now I really don't know what anyone is thinking - led alone any one with enough training to make better decisions than that - starting a ski day at 11.00 am in any season. In fact, I wouldn't even start out for the summit of a big peak at 11.00 am in mid-summer (think thunderstorms).

There are a few basic rules in mountaineering - ski or otherwise - that everyone (at least everyone with any sense) recognizes as unequivocal standard practice, and, probably the first of these is START EARLY. It doesn't get any simpler than that. 

You don't want to be under this 4 metre debris pile

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