I'm glad a safe and fun trip was had by all. But being the very conservative avalanche fearing person that I am...I've always thought it was a bad idea to be hiking up/glissading down avalanche chutes. It seems that particular mountain catches people in avalanches almost every year. You really can't see what's above you when going up and it's impossible to safely assess the danger from below. To me it's a "best guess" and I just don't like playing with luck most of the time. Besides, there's a safer route, to the left of the chute. It's more work and not as fun going down, but definitely safer. And heads up to those going up in the spring...there will surely be some snow coming down then too. I do not mean to offend any of the highly experienced folks here that are excellent judges of these things, but I am concerned for the novices that visit this site and may think it's OK to just go hiking up an avalanche chute just because others have ...
That was what I was trying to say. You said it better. I'd rather live to hike another day and am not personally experienced enough to really know if it is safe or not (just because you see 20 people skiing down doesn't mean it is necessarily safe....). Better to err on the side of caution. I'm actually very interested in going up there, but have never been sure of a "safe" way to do it. The only time I have gone up there is in the summer or fall (when there was no appreciable snow).
On other thing about glissading. Before starting, make sure you know what's below. I don't think it's happened at Granite, but people have been killed on other peaks glissading off the edge of things or falling into holes over creeks while glissading. Make sure you can see where your glissade ends, and if it's slippery at all, make sure you have a good runout to land in at the end.
-------------- “As beacons mountains burned at evening.” J.R.R. Tolkien
I lost my ice axe the first time I tried to glissade also.
Hanging on is important, but holding the axe in the right position is also important. Make sure the pick is turned away from your body. Ice axe impalements while glissading are actually fairly common; I've seen it twice.
To avoid further confusion, it wasn't my first time and I didn't lose my ice axe. I let one hand go to grab my poles, then couldn't re-grab the axe with that hand because I was holing both poles in it. That was my point: don't let go of your axe just to grab some lousy trekking poles.
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