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Squamish/Whistler, B.C, Canada
This Blogtography is not a shameless self promotion but a way to keep in touch with folks and share my experiences of what I see and do through the eye of the lens. I feel fortunate to play a part in stoking people to get out and explore and find their own experiences no matter what they are. It really inspires me to capture a moment in time and tell a visual story. Quote- "If I only scrape a living at least it's a living worth scraping for ! " ( Dark Side Of The Lens)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Season Ender ! Could be worse....

My friends Jimmy's Martinello's Words--
Of Passion what it can hold, where love takes us, on what we feel at what cost. So truly we are blessed, tears shedding pulling out of the soul, why one might ask for reason know one will ever know. To give all your heart and soul, truly blessed to be alive, my friends my family my everything, to be gone to move on I ask for will we ever know. My only wish to father my chidren to see them grow old, to love my beautiful wife my wonderful family and friends, ocean of sadness pours out of me that it was almost stripped away, for thanks to nature and spirits watching out for us, we live on, blessed of our learning and everyday we grow stronger.
Confused step back, reflect, reflections of our desires.
All I know is that I love life and all of you that have crossed my path, Chris my soul brother I am so happy to have you here and that we are giving another chance and that we know we charish life and passion fills our souls.....
To living, loving and sharing happiness for all life......

Thank you everyone love to all of you......
Live on....................................from the heart...........

Jimmy Martinello
Chris Christie

Hopefully this incident write up can help people in decision making in the mountains-
Did a season ender on April 16- , appears to be a MCL and maybe meniscus. Could have been far worse so I’ll take it !

Myself and Jimmy Martinello were involved in a incident up in Pemberton Valley.
A group of 4 arrived at the base of the main North Face at 7am and we observed some recent slide activity on a North West Aspect, unsupported, rocky terrain.
That was enough for me to change objective so I opted for a Coulior that had a predominant sheltered North aspect.

Trajectory through the cliffs above me  ! Mach Schnell !
The group of 4 broke up into 2 groups of 2 in different zones.
Myself and partner started up the coulior, poking/prodding, a few quick shear tests. Nothing unusual found, confidence was high. foot Pen was deep- knee to thigh. 45 deg
We pulled a dogleg and I observed a cornice and then saw a safe secondary couloir with no hang-fire so we chose that route. the last 200m was approx 50deg, 

As we neared the exit we assessed the convexity and felt that the gradual roll was not really a concern.
 I stopped near the top of the couloir while my partner gained the final low angle 20 deg to ridge top. 

As soon as he stood on it he felt a large settlement and I saw cracking shooting up the ridge. I dove for the corner of the couloir but was dragged down the couloir head 1st, face down and knew I was going for the ride. My mouth was immediately packed with snow and I thought I would suffocate before coming to a stop. The next thing I recall was a surreal feel of freefalling. I have no clue if I was face up or down, all I can say is it was dream like in a weird way, waiting for some incredible impact that never happened. We figure we were sent off a 50ft cliff thankfully landing in the main gut of the steep coulior and continued cartwheeling at a ridiculous velocity towards the moraine below. Total slide path 1700 feet.

As I came to a stop I punched towards what I thought was up and was partially buried with 1 arm free. I slowly dug my face clear and was able to pull the snow out of my airway. I quickly realized I still could not breath because I couldn't expand my chest with the the snow packed so tight.  Our 2 friends had already skied their line and luckily were watching us so they got to us quickly. Jimmy was partially buried 50 feet away and I could hear his voice which allowed me to relax and shallow breath until I was free. Injuries sustained were knee damage, Jimmy had neck pain and I assessed as a stable injury in the field and we felt it was ok to move him out. We both had what felt like scratches on our eyeballs and airway's from snow being forced into every opening on our bodies.
X-ray's and ultra sound cleared us of fractures and internal injuries/
Looking back we feel we did most things correctly. we adjusted ambitions and went for the Coulior where we felt risk to objective hazard was substantially lower and easier to manage.
I believe the slight transition into the new aspect is what got us- there is a melt freeze and buried surface hoar layer from April 4th. I vaguely recall hearing jimmy's footsteps on firm bedsurface and he remembers thinking he was on solid bridged ground. The low angle of the terrain may have been a contributing factor in not doing further stability tests as we changed aspects. Time of day was 10:00 am with broken cloud so daytime heating was not a factor.
We do not have any real information on the snowpack where the the slide was triggered, only speculation based on advisories and surface conditions/aspect.
Both of us had ABS on but my 1st reaction was to get to the side and avoid the ride. I did reach for my trigger once committed to the slide but it was too violent, I was a simple rag-doll. The pack was ripped in half tho-- maybe saved me from some impacts.
We both Feel like we were in a car-Wreck and are super fortunate we can go home to our families/Friends with little damage.
1 broken ski,
4 lost ski poles
2 lost ice tools
1 destroyed ABS pack ( due to skis attached to pack during the fall )

Might take some time for mental healing !

2300m mark start point E-NE ridge top and we were dragged into main N facing coulior, full slide path 1700-1800 ft
I believe the current avalanche advisory reflects the highly variable unpredictable snowpack we have right now. There were other incidents the same day on the coast region. Some forecasters call it a 10yr anomaly, a bit rare for the coast range so heads up out there !
 (4 photos)