How to Start an Avalanche

First, this isn’t quite a stupid as it looks. Kinda dumb though.

Dropping a cornice is a known way to test the avalanche conditions in the backcountry if you don’t have dynamite like ski patrol does. There are some safe ways to do it, including sawing through it with a knotted rope or cutting it with a snow saw on a ski pole. You can kick if off, but you should be on a roped belay because you can’t really be sure where it is going to break. In fact, I was clearly surprised when this one broke right at my foot.

However the consequences here where not going to be that great. Here is a shot an hour later near the top of Mt. Ralston, and I didn’t go anywhere near that cornice!

A Cornice I didn't kick off
A Cornice I didn’t kick off
You can see it really break right at the ski.
You can see it really did break right at the ski.
This illustrates Ande's intelligence is higher than mine.
We didn’t want Ande there, but once there he sat for photos.

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