Lost gear in Nambe

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Lost gear in Nambe

Postby Jasper » Wed May 30, 2007 3:44 pm

Anybody still out there skiing? If so I hope it is good. I am back up in the big sky state, but in mid winter I lost a bit of gear in the Nambe Chutes. I supppose it should be melting out about now. I was just hoping that if anybody finds any gear that looks a bit out of place at the bottom of the basin I would be glad if you could let me know. Thanks.

Jasper
Go when the going is good.
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Postby Bob » Wed May 30, 2007 8:33 pm

Jasper, did you lose an AT ski?
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Postby Jasper » Sun Jul 15, 2007 11:40 pm

Just wanted to say both skis were recovered thanks to some friendly folks as well as some of my own horse power. I found one of them in the chutes right were I thought it would be, and I even picked up some trash too. Thanks again and keep thinking about the snow for next year.
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Postby Bob » Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:47 am

I love a happy ending. I was wondering if you'd like to share a little about how you and the skis came to be separated, in the interest of avy education and all.
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Postby Jasper » Tue Sep 04, 2007 11:35 am

Back in NM after having spent the last few years, studying, traveling, and mostly skiing I was so excited to put some of my backcountry skills to the test in the Sangres. We had many succesful missions around the Nambe area and was having a great time exploring my home mountains. It was something like april 8th and a nice wet storm was moving in. I found myself alone on Deception one afternoon about six inches of new snow up there and probably some even deeper wind deposits and slabs. I threw some rocks and tried to put a bit of stress on some of the avalnche start zones. Soft wind slabs were easily releasing about a foot deep and I was having lots of fun watching from safe spots. That snow can do some crazy things. Unfortunatly or maybe fortunatly I was on my own and not about to head into that new pow pow. The next day the troops were rallied and me and a couple of budys went to check the chutes out again. We spent about an hour on the ridge line practicing with our beacons. We thought it best to ski our hike out chute first to give it a bit of a test and see how things were settling up. We threw some rocks and I did a few ski cuts. Things looked good even though the snow was still falling and the wind still ripping. After a nice pow run and three grinning boys in the Nambe it was time to hike out. There is a fairly safe spot I like to use were one can handrail some rocks and be protected by any avys from above and be at the top of anything that released below. On the way up gropel started to fall heavily and I began to worry about the added stress on the snow and the wind slabs still growing off the ridge. Time to hustle. We were just about out and there was one last pocket to cross. It didnt look like the place to be but being home free was so close. I had my partners wait behind in a safe spot while I walked across the one pocket of snow that hadnt recieved any of our bombardment. A little isolated chute about 30 feet wide 40 degress step and about 100 feet above me before the ridge line. I made a few steeps had my skis in my uphill hand as anchor and was just about home free when something didnt feel right. I looked up and saw a crack go shooting across the chute about 50 feet above. The word avalanche didnt come to my mouth but rather a few profanitys. I tried to brace myself like I have so many times before when the sluff becomes to strong. This was different though. It just swept me off my feet and down the mountain. Luckily it put me on my back feet first. I let go of my skis to work on my backstroke, but was really struggling with how I had tucked my ski poles between my back and my backpack they were twisting me up and trying to pull me down. I am so glad that I didnt have skis on my back. The situation could have turned out much differently had they been attached. AS I was sliding I thought could this be it, are my buddys going to be able to find me, and well at least I just saw that they are both proficent with there beacons. And then I was out on my feet. Some how spit out in some sort of eddy were the chute took a turn. On my feet I saw the snow still rolling down to the bottom and some still coming from above. I saw one ski settle on top of the debris but the other was no were to be seen. I only got carried maybe 300 feet but was still really shaken up at how powerless I was and a bit frustrated with my follishness. I wanted my skis back but figured it was best to leave them as I wanted to find some stable ground and also thought it could be a good offering for the powder gods how seemed a bit upset with me at the moment. The crown ended up being about 12 maybe 16 inches high at the most about 30 feet wide and ran to the bottom of the bowl. We made it safely back to the parking lot and were happy to find a group of lifties and other ski area vagabound drinking a keg of Santa fe Brewing Company beer. All in all it was a much more beneficial experience then detrimental. I got quite a rush, saw the power of the snow, I always think twice now, I never ski alone anymore (which used to be all to common), and I even had an excuss to ride a snowboard for the rest of the season which was actually alot of fun. It was also an eye opener for some of my beginer backcountry friends I was with. Just another learning experience that hopefully wont happen again. My advice always have a safe route out, it is much more dangerous hiking in avy terrain then it is skiing in the same spot. Also if you are hiking and feel at risk to a slide dont have your skis on your backpack have them in your hand so they can be let go of or if you are on skins be ready to kick them uff or try to ski out to safty. And always practice with your beacons. Sorry this got so wordy buit that is how I came to be separated from my skis, I am glad to have them back and am ready to get out there and do it again this winter. El Nino?
Go when the going is good.
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Postby mark » Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:23 pm

THAT is incredible. Thanks for sharing!

It's always a bit scarier to hear stories like this when they're in your backyard.
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Postby Matt » Mon Sep 17, 2007 4:41 pm

Thanks for sharing your story Jasper, certainly some good lessons in there.

I definitely agree that the route out is sometimes forgotten and overlooked. However, I would be interested to hear your assessment of conditions at the beginning of the day. For me, you described many observations that would have redlighted the Nambe chutes on that day: 12" soft slab releases the previous day, continuation of the storm from the previous day (assume greater snow weight and wind effect over 24 hrs.), current weather conditions (snow and high wind). It wouldn't have been a day I would have taken beginner friends out on.

But I also wasn't there, and only have my armchair position in the action. I'm interested in hearing what other forum readers think.

Thanks again for sharing Jasper, please don't take any of the above as criticism as it is not meant to be (we've all gotten ourselves into places we'd rather not be). It does however present a good learning experience as you noted in your account, and is one of the very few avy incidents that are reported in NM each year. I can only think of three that I know of from last year.

cheers
-Matt
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Postby Bob » Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:59 pm

Jasper, thanks for putting that up! I really appreciate the information and that's exactly the reason this board exists - to share information about NM bc avy conditions, even when the news isn't so good. Let me know when you're ready in Santa Fe and I'll buy you a beer or three for giving us so much to think about.

It's great that you got away pretty cleanly and that you got your skis back too.
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Postby Nuro305 » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:44 pm

HA !

Nice to see I'm not the only one who is starting to think of snow.... (it was 30 at my house this AM and I can feel the snow coming ;-)

Yea, it's great to read that story..... yes, most of have gotten into situations like that. I still have one video of a big slide from 2005 on the back of Deception Peak here: http://www.nuro.com/adventure/ Right-Click on the Santa Fe Avalanche file and save it to your hard drive for viewing, it's big. I was a bit cockey then... not now...

I was also re-reading another friend's post from a climb we did this spring in Taos here: http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.p ... irm_post=7

I look forward to getting together with more BC Ski Nut's this season ! Keep posting trip plans here so we can get together and may the snow gods smile on us again this year !
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