Ignoring Advice

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There are many times that ignored advice is the cause of an accident, a number of examples illustrate this fact

  • A group of ski mountaineers preferred to avoid a slope they considered dangerous?, but the first member of the party continued to climb on the small slope in spite of the cries from his buddies to come back. The slope broke into an avalanche killing the skier.
  • A guide asked his client to stick exactly to his tracks but the client made two extra turns outside of the guides tracks, the slope broke away, 1 death. This is perhaps a demonstration of the effect of spatial variability? on the snowpack.
  • A guide asked his two clients to keep a fixed distance behind him, but one of them caught him up. When an avalanche started from the ridge above they were both caught, the guide partially and the client completely, 1 death. In this case it is possible that the combined weight of the two skiers was sufficient to overload a fragile snowpack.
  • Skiing on the summer path that leads to the Cabane B├ętemps, two ski mountaineers who had already crossed the threatened area asked a third person to stay where she was; but she tried to cross to her husband. She was caught by an avalanche and killed after being swept over a cliff.

It can be seen that the advice needs to be clear and precise. The person in charge of a group needs to take care that they are understood and that the advice is acted upon scrupulously, otherwise they are wasting their breath. Its often a case of keeping sufficient gaps between skiers of some dozen meters or following the rule of only one skier moving at a time.

Categories: Snow Safety