Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Next Day... Reflections on Scary Time

Good morning! Yesterday was an interesting experience for me. As the day went on, I got a bit more rattled, distracted, and freaked out, and kept sort of "realizing" that the slide had happened. I was surprised all day at how strongly I was reacting, because I didn't feel scared, I didn't think, while it was happening.

I got a call from Angela, who sort of debriefed me on what had happened and talked me through it, and that helped a lot. I was feeling really confused about what I could have done differently, and really freaked out at having made a potentially fatal bad decision, and that that decision had put Jill in danger.

So, things to learn and take away from this situation: FIRST, it had been raining for the last five days in the Bridgers up at 8000 feet, and so the 2' or so of new snow that had fallen did not bond well to the relatively bomber snowpack below.

NEXT, when we were skinning up and my binding was punching through and my poles were sinking in, I should have listened to my gut and decided not to ski. I do know that those are wet slide conditions, and I said it out loud a few times, and Angela reiterated that I should ALWAYS listen to that little inner voice. Better to be TOO conservative than buried in a slide, yes?

NEXT, we should have skied a lower angle, like Bronco face, but Angela said that pretty much ANYTHING on that mountain at ANY aspect is prone to slide right now because of all the rain, so the snowpack is relatively rotten. LOW ANGLE, not ASPECT. Aspect, when snow is rotten, doesn't matter quite as much.

NEXT, I should have done a more aggressive ski cut, and done it two or three times.

SO. Thats a lot of things to learn. One good thing that I learned is that the "what to do if you are swept into one" list was in my head and functioning properly. Too bad that I got an opportunity to learn that and practice those skills, but its a bit relieving to know that they are in there.

The last thing is, you can bet that Avalung Tube is gonna be in front of my mouth when I ski in the back country from now on! WOW!

Thank you, guys for helping me out yesterday afternoon while I sort of processed what happened. I'm feeling great today, ready to get back at it, and really grateful for the terrific, patient, and knowledgeable support group!


Liat said...

I'm so glad you are feeling better. I was thinking about you a lot yesterday, and what a roller coaster you must have been feeling- having a life-jarring experience and then re-entering "normal" life like everything's fine- making the kids' lunch, etc. I hope you felt snuggled and safe at the end of the day.

a said...

Thanks, Liat. It was a funky day. It was weird, because I didn't feel rattled, or freaked out or scared like I did after we had our epic lost in the wilderness hike of doom last year... so it kind of crept up on me, because I didn't really realize that I had been afraid.

I think that was what was strange, I thought I was fine with it, Jill and I were talking and laughing on the way back to the car after we talked through it, and I pretty much thought, well, that's that!

But it came on over the course of the day, and Tom made a good point that because it was SO scary, I probably just sort of shut down the "this is scary" part of my brain so I could cope with what was happening, so all the dealing with how scary it was in the moment happened much later, over the course of the rest of the day, right up to bed time.

But this morning, I feel great, and I feel well processed, and good to go.

Thanks so much for your thoughts!!