|Snow Drift on the Road to San Luis Peak|
The next day I tried to do Sunshine Peak after camping just south of Lake City. (I had a electrically heated blanket in the Sequoia and a -20F sleeping bag so the -4F temperatures overnight weren't too bad, I just had a sore throat the next morning.)
I followed tracks up to treeline at 11,800 feet, and then there was a small slope to cross, maybe 25 degrees steep, which is not very steep, and pretty low for avalanche danger. However, there was about a foot of moderately consolidated snow over a very weak layer at least six inches thick. Prime slab avalanche conditions. There was no sign of avalanche in the trees below me, however, the two people I was with at the moment did not have snow shoes or skis like I did, so I would have had to go on alone. It's not worth it. I skied up maybe 50 feet to a bit of whomp, whomp, whomp from the upper layer collapsing the lower layer, and my skis still sinking in six inches. Avalanches creep me out. So I headed down.
In Pakistan in 2009 I really liked how everyone was rather cooperative. After a snow storm we would wait one or two days for the snow to settle and avalanches to clear themselves. Everest is a little more hurried, people will climb the day after a snow storm instead of wait for the avalanches to clear. People die in avalanches every year. As frustrated as I get about failing to summit a mountain, I get even more frustrated when people take risks that seem excessive to me. There is always risk, and avalanche risk is a huge part of mountaineering, and the reason I will never try Annapurna.
Point being, stay safe people. The mountain will be there in the future, will you?
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