Clariden Ski Tour – Lessons Learned

Clariden, a set on Flickr.

Skitouring, ski mountaineering is a risky business. It is great when everything goes according to plan but small mistakes can have dire consequences.
We decided last week that we would climb Clariden on Sunday. The weather forecast was good, avalanche risk low and we were in bed early on Saturday night sure that we would have a great following day.
A number of glitches altered our original plan to start our tour at 08:30. 1/2 of the group was arriving by Mobility and the entire Zurich fleet was out of service on Sunday morning meaning they had to look for alternative transport setting us back about 1.5 hours. The biggest mistake we made was not adjusting our expectations accordingly and cutting the tour short so we would be off the mountain by 14:00. Instead we carried on with our plan to summit and didnt realise how much danger we were putting ourselves in.
In the end, nothing happened, everyone got home safely – I am embarassed to say how late we actually got back at. We saw and heard avalanches but we were cautious and took our time to come down from what was quite a technical ridge to the safety of the valley.
I spent some time talking and thinking about the entire tour afterwards and wondering what made us not stop and think about what we were planning on doing that day. Often we are inclined to let others do the work, follow the leader and not take responsibility for ourselves. This is something I would like to improve in myself. I realise the need for more education when it comes to route planning and general mountain safety. One of my missions for next year can be self-development in this particular area.

Enjoy the pics.


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