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Old 02-07-2011, 03:03 PM   #1
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Dix skiers forced to bivouac

Check out this post for a neat photo of Colden caretaker Nate Jeffrey skiing with his dog in his backpack. Also, you'll find a link to a story about two skiers forced to bivouac in the Dix Mt. Wilderness.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:25 PM   #2
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Great story. We so often hear of these stories when they don't turn out so well. Its nice to see that these two skiers were prepared with the skills (and I assume the supplies) to spend the night. Makes one think of the recent tragedies who's outcomes would have been different if the victims had been equipped with a few extra pounds of gear and the knowledge to survive.

BTW...that dog isn't leashed.
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:55 PM   #3
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How do ya know?
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:45 AM   #4
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They had the skills and supplies to spend the night, but just as importantly, they left their trip info with a friend who was able to report them as missing when they didn't arrive home by whatever time they agreed upon. Good to see people planning ahead. Kudos to them. They'll have a cool story to tell their friends and family for years.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:58 AM   #5
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Without blasting these guys, who made out quite well, how do you think they came to go down the wrong side of the mountain and how could they (and hypothetically, in the future, we) have avoided that from happening?
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:13 PM   #6
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Compass.

From reading the article, the "wrong side of the mountain" description is a little unfair, as it suggests these guys went in the opposite direction from where they wanted to go. Actually, it's apparent that they got on the wrong side of Dix's NNE ridge, and descended NE in to the S Fork, rather than N into the N Fork. This is apparent from the "3 miles from their trailhead" info, indicating that the trailhead in question was Round Pond, and that they intended to ski the N facing slides.

It's easy when going down a ridge to slide off to one side, so it's a little understandable. It's a common mistake for people unused to off trail travel. But a periodic glance at a compass would have immediately clued them in to the mistake early enough to fix it.

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Old 02-08-2011, 01:33 PM   #7
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TCD,

I took a look at the map and reading along with your post would say they went more like SE instead of NW. Earlier, I wondered if they skied down the Beckhorn slide, which would be an amazing feat with the 45 degree headwall!

Just this fall I went up the NW slides, crossed the ridge and descended the other side before heading up the Beckhorn slide and I can just imagine the unconsolidated snow depth and cripplebush they would have encountered, on skis.

Like you said, a compass. If they were in whiteout conditions then a GPS plus a compass would have been a lot better than a compass by itself. One could add that the snow conditions might have been a deterrant for attempting that route. Avvy danger on the slide would have been high to boot although that's unrelated.
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Old 02-08-2011, 01:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fvrwld View Post
BTW...that dog isn't leashed.
Dix Mountain Wilderness Area, not the High Peaks WA. No leash rule, yet, at least.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:02 PM   #9
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Dix Mountain Wilderness Area, not the High Peaks WA. No leash rule, yet, at least.
She is pointing out the picture in the link of Nate with the dog in his pack. It looks like Marcy Dam which would make sense for where Nate's area is.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fvrwld View Post

BTW...that dog isn't leashed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teleskier View Post
Dix Mountain Wilderness Area, not the High Peaks WA. No leash rule, yet, at least.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory D View Post
She is pointing out the picture in the link of Nate with the dog in his pack. It looks like Marcy Dam which would make sense for where Nate's area is.
I think we need a full-blown governmental commission to investigate into this matter. NYS can afford it, Aristotle said so!
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:20 PM   #11
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I basically agree with TCD but have my own variation. When climbing Dix from 73, once at the slide you get the idea from a look up that you are going to curve around to the right then follow that like an arc to the summit. Once there if you just drop down to your now "left" you should be skiing into the slide bowl.

Now take a look at the map. Once your on the summit ridge and traverse towards the Beckhorn or even the true summit that "left" is now into the cirque of the valley split by the lower NNE ridge TCU pointing out. The directions even if using a compass there without a view can fall bewteen East and North, they could of easily done say 10 to 70 degree figuring the lay of the land would just turn a little and put them on the right track.

It's always getting off the top that ends up being the hardest with navigation.
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Old 02-08-2011, 03:40 PM   #12
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Now take a look at the map. Once your on the summit ridge and traverse towards the Beckhorn or even the true summit that "left" is now into the cirque of the valley split by the lower NNE ridge TCU pointing out.
Interesting, and very plausible.

Definitely something to think about and watch out for.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:14 PM   #13
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Yes, you have to be very careful when using terrain features.

>Navigating down a ridge, or up a drainage, you have to monitor bearings very closely.

>Navigating up a ridge, or down a drainage, are far easier as "all roads lead to Rome" eventually.

>Many people forget that a mountain is essentially a cone, and tiny descisions at the top can result in large discrepancies further down, as Cory points out.

>It's easy to get WAY off track on skis, especially if the skiing is fun.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:40 AM   #14
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She is pointing out the picture in the link of Nate with the dog in his pack. It looks like Marcy Dam which would make sense for where Nate's area is.
Wait - you mean I have to read something thoroughly and understand the details before I comment on it? Damn, this changes my whole mindset on this forum...
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