Faith Base Skinning

| January 12, 2009 | 2 Comments
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 large avalanche covering some Faith Based Skinning tracks.  It appeared to be safe, but why not give it the benefit of doubt and go a bit wider?
A large avalanche covering some Faith Based Skinning tracks. It appeared to be safe, but why not give it the benefit of doubt and go a bit wider?
 
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. 
Faith Based Skiing gone awary.  Why tempt fate with an exposed line when other options are available?
Faith Based Skiing gone awry. Why tempt fate with an exposed line when other options are available?

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Category: 07 Avalanche Avoidance

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (2)

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  1. Shawn Carter says:

    Right on Andrew. There is a rumor going around that the FBS sect gets to meet their maker quicker than any other religion.

  2. doubleA says:

    FBS is indeed a very scary position to be in during a tour. Another scary position is “Faith Based Shitting.” This happens when you should take a dump before a tour, but don’t have to at the trailhead. It’s in the back of your head (amongst other places) the entire time.
    I personally practice LNT- leave no turds- in the backcountry.

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