Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 11:41 am Posts: 244 Location: Altadena SoCal
"You need to Climb what you ski". There is just no better way to get an idea of the snow conditions than to be knee deep in it as you climb.
I've been pondering this for a bit too. For the most part, I agree. Plus, it's nice having a path you know leads home. However, this needs to be tempered with other considerations like exposure. There is something to be said about reducing hazard by minimizing time in the danger zone. For example, if your goal is a couloir with a cornice, cerac, or falling rocks, hazard would increase by choosing to ascend the couloir; and an argument could be made to find conditions on a similar elevation + aspect and approach the couloir from the top (if possible).
First off I would like to say thanks again for the kind comments. It was an honor to have a project like this and I am grateful that others could see my personality outside of a web forum.
On the note of climbing what you ski it can go both ways. I know there are routes in the PNW that people drop into from the summit all the time and to climb it would put you in all sorts of danger to sluffs (caused by others) and so forth. There is a level of confidence that one gets when they climb a route and know what to expect and where.
I believe it was the late Hans Saari who fell to his death after hitting a ice patch and loosing control. This stuff happens and I've been fortunate to survive situations I wouldn't have gotten into if I climb the peak instead of just dropping in.
We always joke there is a thin line between Badass and Dumbass