While skinning up a steep, exposed slope today in a total white-out, it occurred to me that we were engaging in Faith Based Skinning. Faith Based Skinning (FBS) is when you feel nervous about a slope, but continue on anyway because, well, nothing bad has happened yet. This is not such a great idea. I consider snowpacks to be guilty until proven innocent and although I’m tempted to take shortcuts, it is surprising how many times I’ve avoided random avalanches by taking a safer route up, even if it was much longer.
A close cousin to Faith Base Skinning is Faith Based Skiing (also FBS). Faith Base Skiing often happens during periods of increasing stability when people (like me) are sick of skiing Geh Flat Powder and decide to ski a steeper line. This in itself isn’t so bad, but I try to ease into steeper skiing by nibbling around the edges of more protected terrain, rather than center-punching a slope based on nothing more than faith that it won’t slide.
Category: 07 Avalanche Avoidance