Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lacelle Avalanche Video Analysis



Doug Chabot, director of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, prepared this excellent video analysis and reconstruction of the avalanche accident that claimed the life of the great Canadian ice climber Guy Lacelle last Thursday in Montana's Hyalite Canyon. This tragic incident and Doug's timely video are sobering reminders of the dangers that lurk in seemingly innocuous terrain. You just can never let down your guard—ever.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Something irks me about this video. I would not call this an excellent video reconstruction by any stretch.... It doesn't take much to sweep a man off of his feet. This video seems morbidly opportunistic. Just my 2¢

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of us were wanting more information about this tragic accident and the video really did provide this. It's good as a reminder that avalanche awareness in the mountains, is so vital, and windslabs are insidious, and not always obvious.

Anonymous said...

I agree. This video provided a very informative analysis of the incident and is yet another reminder of the lurking danger of wind-loading and terrain-traps. I had been wondering if the party above Lacelle were taking snow-conditions into consideration when they were ascending the gully, and they obviously were.

kelly said...

indeed i think it's a valuable video, allowing us to see the scenario -- shit, how many of us have been in nearly identical situations thinking them benign? reminders like this remain crucial and sobering, i think, and serve an important purpose. the first commenter, geez, opportunistic? are you serious? a horrible tragedy indeed, and Guy was so well loved, but to put your head in the sand and not learn from it seems completely foolish. and then to call it opportunistic...well, as you said, just your 2 cents.

James said...

Personally I have to agree with the first comment made here after watching this video. Anyone who has knowledge of snow science and physics realizes that it does not take but a tiny slab or pillow to cause an accident. If you are alpine climbing and you need to be reminded of this, then you might want to re-consider your latest recreational endeavor. I think a more refined video would have been more appropriate. You don't see the guys from the CAIC putting themselves front and center of each and every accident scenario that they review now do you?

Anonymous said...

No we don't see the CAIC guys posting video analysis of incidents in CO, but maybe we should.

Anonymous said...

If this was a one-off video then I could see it being seen as opportunistic. Looks like they set out with a goal of doing these as a campaign to create awareness about the snow pack and this accident happened. I'm glad that they chose not ignore it and did this

Spiny Norman said...

Add me to the list of people who see this as valuable and not as opportunistic. It is very easy to find real opportunism on the web. The video linked from this page is no more exploitative than, say, this.

david said...

I have recently moved to mt from id, and found the avalanche reporting here a different style since then. I had a hard time adjusting to the more personal and widespread coverage of avalanche reporting than what they put out in the BTNF forecast which now seems to me less useful. The snowpack here is f-ing terrible! It has been all year, and even an amateur forecaster might have been able to tell you since the significant october snowfall that it was going to be a bad year! I am not sure how avalanche preparation if any the ice fest took if any! but it was a super tragic accident! the first in north america this year, last year was a new record at 56. I want to say that I think Doug Chabot and the GFNAC crew do a fantastic job! I have the greatest respect for them, and there intentions of educating the public, and in no way wish to exploit any accident! They consistently perform this reports at every accident death or not year after year, and I and I think many others do as well. so back off! on your bullshit stab and it being opportunistic and morbid! they are just doing their job!