Wet loose on the fin

Wet loose on the fin


Our party (3) triggered a significant wet loose slide on the fin today. I, the first skier dropped in next to existing tracks from earlier in the morning. I made a couple of small turns in unskied snow to test it and decided that not much was moving. As I continued down the wet surface snow started to slide and accumulate. My partner called me on the radio to tell me a lot of snow was moving behind me and I cut left. I traversed hard to lower angle terrain until I felt I could safely descend the rest of the slope.  My partners descended the bed surface until they could traverse out. 

We made several key mistakes today.  We knew it would be warm and that we should be up and down early.  We left later than planned, moved slower than expected and failed to adjust our plan.  We mistook lack of wet loose activity on similar aspects and elevations on features we could see as sign of stability.  We failed to make a plan B or establish a turnaround time.  We interpreted a party ahead of us that skied the slope as a go ahead.  Another party approaching behind us added pressure to go. They also skied the slope after us in similar style to my partners.

In our favor, we communicated well, radios were key, stayed calm and we managed ourselves through the situation. I feel humbled and lucky to have gotten away with a free lesson.  One that I didn't think I should have needed.

Cooke City
Location (from list)
Republic Mountain