On Friday, the endless winter of 2013 continued. A couple of days back up in Eagle were spent riding dirt and pave and then it was time to head back to Denver for the weekend to work, announcing the Rocky Mountain Series opener at the Ridgeline Rampage. Of course I decided to stop at Arapahoe Basin, The Legend, on the way down the hill for some world class spring skiing. The snow is amazingly perfect up there these days. The decision was made to do a couple of hikes on the East side and ski North Pole Plunge and then hike the 539 stairs up Willie's before heading to the metro area. Two chairlift rides later I was on top of the world and had perfect steep skiing conditions....it starts with a ride up Pali.
"Shit for Brains" is filled wall to wall....just give it some time to consolidate if you are crazy enough.
The run that never fails, The Spine
Lower part of the hike to North Pole and other fun.
This douchenheiner would not let me pass him for about ten minutes,,,
Ready to drop Willies
On the way over Loveland Pass I decided to stop and walk into the sight of what is now the second most deadliest avalanche in Colorado history, the deadliest involving snow riders. I debated posting this struff, but it happened, and people are interested, and hopefully someone learns something from this. These images below are from the Steep Creek avalanche debris pile. It is huge. It is also very hard to understand the loss of life for five experienced backcountry enthusiasts. It's a creepy place to stand knowing that five people died here just a couple of days previous. So many bad decisions were made by this group, and with all due respect to the loss of life, it is hard to comprehend what they were thinking when you enter the site. It took me 2-3 minutes to walk across the path of the debris field, and all six people (one survived) were buried in this narrow gully. It is mind boggling to observe. I myself narrowly escaped death with two friends back in the early 90's because we did many things right that day, and I consider myself very lucky to be here today. That day ended my backcountry skiing adventures which took place for a dozen years or so. There was alot of disrespect for the terrain at this sight, especially considering what all of these people knew entering this area. It really makes no sense at all, it's tragic. This was the worst possible route selection during some incredibly unstable conditions....below I stand just a few feet from a spot where victims were recovered.
This picture shows the top of a hole where victims were dug out. The hole is fifteen feet deep. There was zero chance of survival. All of this snow in the background, as well as to the upper left of this photo is still hangfire in this area. Anything that slides above will end up in this gully as well. Just beyond this hole and to the left is the very small group of trees where more victims came to rest, as well as the survivor, who was trapped for four hours before being dug out, two of his friends passed just feet away from him. He is a very lucky guy.
Heartbreaking notes to the victims are on site in the debris pile..
This is the last view the group observed. Only a 60 second walk from the parking area, and another minute to the debris field which you can vaguely see just past the angled dead tree. The slide occurred from the slope to the right and traveled quickly downhill to the left crossing this opening in front of me. Very easy access, too easy. This area sits a couple of hundred yards above Loveland Ski Valley chairlift top.