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 Post subject: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:15 pm 
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I went for about a 1200' foot ride down TC yesterday morning. Below I listed my thoughts on the ordeal. I'll take all the criticism that comes my way. I effed up but luckily no one died. Worst injury is my broken elbow and gashed forehead.

As I sit here and try to convey my thoughts about this accident, I am not sure where to begin. Mistakes were made and I can take full responsibility in my poor decisions. I have done various training from WFR to an Avy 2 to help prepare myself. I have had a healthy respect for avalanches, but at the same time I’ve always been intrigued by them.

On Saturday March 1, 2014, 3 guys, Myself, SW and RC setoff from the van around 7:30 under semi-poor visibility. After 10 minutes we saw the line of the day in Terminal Cancer. She is every bit as beautiful as one could imagine. Stoke was high as we crossed the creek. Skinning up the apron it was easy to tell the snowpack was thin, real thin. There was a lot more snow in the apron from the couloir cleaning herself out. Made a mental not of that and got over the two chokes.

After the chokes, I threw my verts on and could pretty much run up the couloir. While we were switching over, another group of 4 people were skinning up on the track I put up. Being from the Wasatch and having the go-go-go mentality, which probably played a role in the incident. The other two in my group were on boots so I went first and tried to put a pack in the stuck to the walls.

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Looking up TC


About halfway up the couloir there was a small 3” windslab I was noticing. I told my group what I was seeing, but continued going. A few more hundred vertical feet, I started to get cracking. I switched to skins at this point thinking it would help me climb faster and more efficiently. I communicated with my partners I was getting cracking. One asked me how do I feel. I remember thinking I want to turn around, but as I looked down I saw that group of 4. Not wanting to ski on top of them I only had 200 vert to go, I pressed on.

The skins started to fall off as the glue on them wasn’t very strong. After fixing this issue a couple times I decided the last 100 vert I would just boot up with the verts. I took my airbag pack off and a ski in order to attach it to the pack. I opened my pack for water as I hadn’t drank any at this point and the slope collapsed. I remember looking at the solid rock wall passing me. I screamed and then yelled “Avalanche”, to alert the people below me.

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Few hundred feet further up it broke. I stopped just short of those bushes.

Being under the snow and having a mouth full of it is something I’ll never forget. It felt like it was hours of sliding. I was thinking how this was going to be it for myself. Hoping I’m not let my family down. Then I was worried about the other guys. So many thoughts raced in my head. Then I slow down and can spit snow out of my mouth. As I’m doing this, another wave of snow came crashing into me. After it cleared, I was lucky to be on the surface.

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Looking back at the debris.

I had 1 glove and 1 ski on. The rest of my gear was gone. I stood up and noticed my elbow felt weird. I screamed for a response from the other 6 people. Nothing. I quickly throw my beacon to search mode and still, nothing. I make way to the toe of the debris and still do not pick up a signal. I run back up the debris searching with my beacon trying to holler out so someone might hear me.

At this point I am pretty sure it will be a 6 body recovery and I only have a glove and a ski. How was I going to do this without a shovel. I pushed the negative thoughts out and continued uphill. After climbing one of the rollers, I saw a person. I yelled at them if everyone has been accounted for. I got a yes back. Emotions over run me and I am relieved.

I go back to where I put my ski and gather my thoughts. There is blood everywhere I noticed. Then I walk back up to the hill and let the people know I am not in good shape. I tell them I have a possible broken elbow and my head is bleeding.

RC made his way down and couldn’t believe it was me as I was so much further below him. He said everyone wasn’t accounted for. My heart sank again. I quickly threw my beacon into search mode again without finding a signal. I went to around the bend of the couloir this time. SW came into site at this point and confirmed the party of 4 was together and safe.

Another party was booting up and we told them what happened. One guy put his skis on and went to have a sledder help us out. After walking back across the creek a sled was there waiting for me. I went to the hospital in Elko where I received 13 stitches to the head and stitches on my elbow. The CT scan came back negative while the x ray came back with the broken elbow news.

Drove back to Salt Lake after this and I immediately get taken to the hospital. Surgery was performed last night consisting of a plate 4 pins and a screw. I learned a lot through the entire ordeal. I now know to never be afraid of turning back. I am far more humble now than I was 2 days ago. I have learned I am not invincible like I thought. The mountains don’t care who you are or the training you have. If you play on them at the wrong time the dragon will come out.

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We called the Ruby Mountain heli ski service and gave them a report while driving. Not sure of crown size or anything. I was ahead of everyone when it broke and no one was up by the crown after it slid. In total 3 caught and carried. If you have any questions I’d be happy to answer them.

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:58 pm 
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Glad everyone is ok, aside from your injuries of course. And thanks for posting.


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 7:52 pm 
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Location: slc
Holy shit Logan. That really gives me serious goosebumps. I've been up that chute and I can't believe you're not worse off from that ride. It's a skinny chute, but thank god it's straight, huh? I'm so glad it wasn't worse for you and everyone else involved.

First time I went to that chute with Dan, we turned back about 2/3 of the way up, right before the upper skinny section, after we had a fair bit of discussion about the snow conditions. Your accident really puts that decision in perspective.

I'm glad that you're emphasizing, don't ever be hesitant to turn back from an objective in the backcountry if it doesn't seem right.

Most important I wish you a speedy recovery man! I look forward to riding again with you soon.


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:30 pm 
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Super scary! Glad you and everyone else is ok. Sure is a pretty line.


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:16 pm 
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Thanks for posting Logan. Takes a lot to go over what went wrong. So vey happy that you are alive to relate the experience to others.


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:32 pm 
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Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Glad you are ok Logan. That's scary. Thanks for paying for that lesson. Don't be too hard on yourself. I think we've all been in the same situation before and just got lucky. If I drove the 3.5 hours to ride that couloir, I think I might also try to convince my self that the red flags I was seeing weren't that bad. Its a good eye opener. Is your lost gear still up there? Season ender?


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:52 pm 
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scary stuff, glad you are ok. thanks for sharing your thoughts. heal up quick.

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:40 am 
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Location: san diego CA
Damn Logan

Thats a nice gash! Glad your safe......its a strange feeling being in one eh? Glad no one is was hurt. Heal up and get back on the horse.


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 11:55 am
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Location: Wasatch
buckchow wrote:

First time I went to that chute with Dan, we turned back about 2/3 of the way up, right before the upper skinny section, after we had a fair bit of discussion about the snow conditions. Your accident really puts that decision in perspective.



haha that's exactly what I told Logan when I first head about the accident. I am really happy you encouraged us to bail, and after three years I finally feel at peace with the decision.

Logan thanks for sharing. Heal up quick! I might be speculating but I feel like that chute really has the potential to cause a lot of accidents in the future. It's becoming really popular, there is virtually no approach if the road is open/10min if it's gated, and it only takes about 1-1.5 hours for an average person to get up. It seems that if you don't hit it right after a storm it gets completely hacked up as anymore than 2 users destroy that upper section. And the two times i've ridden it there is never a lack of evidence of past and frequent slides. I am slightly surprised you triggered that in the narrow section, I always thought of that as the "safer" zone and thought all of the serious risk is the big face/cliff lookers left and the steep face lookers right that sheds a lot of snow just below the chute. This is a great example of me needing to re-evaluate my terrain perception.

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:12 am 
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Yikes, glad it ended up OK. Problems with lines like these is there isn't really another option than booting it. Looking back, aside from not doing it at all, do you think you would pick a different strategy as far as transitions and taking off your pack in exposed terrain? It's something I often think about. One reason I got a chest pack for my camera so I wouldn't have to take off my pack. Did you recover your gear? Thats a nice reminder you got on your forehead there. Get well soon!

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:08 pm 
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Location: Colorado
Very glad you made it out in one piece (mostly). Thanks for the report. Take care and get better soon! :drinks:

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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:33 pm
Posts: 39
Wow! Really glad you all came out alive!

What was the avy danger rating that day? Did you observe any other slides or just the cracks?

I'd be interested in your reflection back on the slide and what lead to your decisions. Thanks for sharing what you have, I imagine the entire thing has been difficult.


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 Post subject: Re: Avalanche in Terminal Cancer
PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:27 pm 
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posted my account here viewtopic.php?f=6&t=16688


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