Crystalline Beauty, Terrifying Force of Nature, or Both

Jesse A. Logan

Easy access, by human power or snowmobile, to designated Wilderness from Cooke City, MT Is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is access to some of the most spectacular and wildest mountaineering opportunities (summer or winter) to be had anywhere. The curse is that easy access means less experienced, and perhaps naive, aspiring mountaineers are quickly into serious mountains where the wrong decisions hold serious consequences. Doug Chabot’s article, The Hidden Lessons of Avalanches, tells the fascinating story of one aspect of this dichotomy as it plays out in the Absaroka-Beartooth. The accompanying map points out the close proximity of truly wild country to Cooke, and it highlights one critical aspect of risk assessment, slope angle. The red areas on the map are “prime time” for avalanches. Doug’s article explores the “why and how” of the interaction of objective risk factors, like slope angle, and the ever-present “human factor” that can lead even experienced mountaineers down a dangerous, and potentially, catastrophic path.

About
Jesse A. Logan

Jesse A. Logan

Jesse Logan is Map Editor for Voices From Yellowstone's Capstone: Atlas of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness.