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Eavesdropping before the snow drops

A slide triggered by explosives rolls down the slope at Tree Chutes, a section of terrain on the far north end of the East Wall at Arapahoe Basin.
Phil Lindeman / plindeman@summitdaily.com |

I recently overheard a conversation about the backcountry and avalanches. I’m no expert but everything they said was Wrong! Very wrong. In the future should I speak up and tell the Yahoos? Or should I leave it to search and rescue?

Thank you,

Eavesdropper

We’ve all been there. Living in a mountain town where there is always a new newbie who can’t wait to hit the slopes. You are at a bar or in a waiting room, and you can’t help but overhear the over-zealous daredevil spewing words of wisdom, passed down from someone who must not have liked the guy very much.

Over the years I’ve heard some doozies from the backcountry beginners: Avys don’t happen after March, they only happen if it’s sunny, no there won’t be an avalanche if the snow has already baked onto the mountain. Disclaimer: None of this is true, and it is all horrible advice, erase from your memory before you are the one to send a newb’ to their doom.

Regardless, this brings up the age-old question: When does someone else’s stupidity become your problem? That’s the trouble with bad advice: it can soon become bad action that forces others to get involved. So before a whole slab of stupidity becomes a search-and-rescue team’s problem, a word of caution can sometimes stem the flow. Fair warning though, it is not always wanted, nor appreciated. Gauge the situation before sticking your nose in someone else’s adventures, but if it sounds like a good chance someone could get killed it might be worth mentioning a few resources.

You don’t have to be mean — I would be — but you could mention that the Colorado Avalanche Information Center has tons of resources for would-be adventurers, or that the ski resorts have resources and classes or even that groomed terrain is lovely. If that sage advice doesn’t sink in, or get you in a fight, as you leave you might want to ask if they have their beacons — and can turn them on.

Can residents have motorized vehicles on any part of the recpath?

Yes, apologies for the exclusion in last week’s answer, but there are certain areas on the recpath where homeowners may make tracks on the path to get to their abodes. These areas include the section of path on Temple Trail where Bill’s Ranch residents can cruise, between the western town limits of Frisco and the Copper Mountain Trailhead for Ten Mile Canyon property owners and by all on Miner’s Creek Road from Peak One Drive (CR 1004) to the Rainbow Lake Road intersection to access the National Forest area. For the full rules and regulations on the recpath visit http://www.co.summit.co.us/index.aspx?NID=433.

Quandary, an old and wise mountain goat, has been around Summit County for ages, and has the answers to any question about life, love and laws in the High Country. Have a question for Quandary? Send an email to quandary@summitdaily.com


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