Climax Chutes

CB Avalanche Center 2015-16 Observations

Location: Crested Butte Area
Date of Observation: 03/28/2016
Subject: Climax Chutes
Aspect: North East
Elevation: 11,100′

Avalanches: R3-D3 avalanche sympathetically released 300′ above skier. Partner in safe zone felt a collapse as skier crossed gully from SE to NE aspect, likely at a shallow area around willows. Partners in safe zones were able to notify skier before he was caught. Take home point- don’t hoot and hollor when your friend is getting sweet face shots, it may be hard to distinguish from “AVALANCHE!”. It was super hard to see the crown as we didn’t see it from our safe zone and couldn’t see it until we looked back up from the Nordic trail at valley bottom. Best guess would be 18″ crown stepping down to the ground in some spots. I gave it the r3d3 because it ran 9/10ths of it’s path starting 300′ from the ridge and running ~2200′ entrenching an impressive amount of snow on the way and spilling over a cliff at the bottom. Probably about 200′ wide jagged crown, in the trees, quickly narrowing to the 25′ width of the chute it self. The first skier watching from the safe zone yelled to me, I looked up from my safe zone and saw the powder cloud and was able to yell to the man skiing. He pulled out to the right just in time…no big deal until we realized we weren’t in the exact shot we thought we were in and if he had taken the ride over the cliff face he wouldn’t have had much of a chance. I was thinking more d2 but it would have crushed a car for sure.  We made several decisions prior that kept us safest in the event of the worst BUT 1) I’m no longer gonna shoot with glee when face shots are had and save shouting for emergency situations only and 2) take way more photos before dropping into an area that’s new to me
Weather: Partly cloudy, no precip, temp in the 30’s, light winds out of the S/SW