While roaming the internets this morning I came across this:
It really made me think, and memories from last february came back. Many key factors from the tragic accident in Montana were the same as we had. We also had a touchy snowpack, were in low angle terrain, and I too triggered an upwards propagation that ultimately fractured way above us and brought half the hillside down. Therefore, I can truly say that this last accident in Montana could very well have been me. I lucked out, and for that I am grateful. I am even more grateful that Andrea and Maria made it out in one (admittedly quite badly beaten up) piece.
Spending all autumn doing skids and wheelies in Spain gave me some time to reflect, both on that specific incident and on life in general. In my naiveness and hurry to get back on the horse I thought that after the first weeks of introspection I had found closure and I had learned my lesson from what happened. It turns out, not very surprising, that there will probably will always be reason to go back to what happened that day and learn new lessons.
For now, I have realised that we should not have been where we were, even if I still believe that given our being there, we did most things right until we let our guard down. However, by going on that exploratory mission we put ourselves in an unnecessarily difficult situation, calling upon acute on point observation and decision making. In effect, by going on exploration instead of just heading to known terrain when the snow was touchy and visibility was poor at best, we put all trust in our ability to make the exact right calls in spite of difficult circumstances.
A more conservative approach would have been to head over to more familiar terrain. If we knew every little cliff, dip and rise in our surroundings, our decision making would still be just as crucial, but much easier to execute.
With this in mind, I hope to never forget about that day, when I nearly lost two friends (and myself), and that I will still learn new things from that experience for a long time.
I can only begin to imagine the feeling of shoveling out your touring partner from almost 2m depth after seeing him or her getting swept, and my heart goes out to everyone involved in the accident at Henderson Mountain. I cannot exaggerate my selfish happiness and gratitude that when I was in that situation, my friends and partners Andrea and Maria made it out, thank you so much girls!