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comment by ButterflyEffect
ButterflyEffect  ·  89 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 13, 2021

So I didn't get myself totally lost, hurt, and killed this past Sunday. Which was nice. Clear weather, ski touring at Mount Rainier somewhat deep into the mountains. Clouds cleared up per weather forecast, and then...came back with full force, which wasn't in any of the three forecasts I had referenced before heading out. Total whiteout conditions with about 3,000 vertical feet to descend and ~4 miles back to the car. NOT GOOD. This is the kind of thing that does get people killed yearly on that mountain. Fortunately I had a great GPX track to follow, though it took two hours longer with maybe 50ft of visibility made it back safe.

But the sensations were otherwordly. I could not tell up from down, left from right. At one point I thought I was following the "fall line" but ended up totally stopped and facing back upslope on my skis. Whenever I would stop I nearly fell over due to vertigo sensations and being so disoriented that without the GPX track things would have been very, very bad...but that's why you do the prep work ahead of time to either know your route well, or be able to get down no matter. It was ultimately a confidence booster, albeit a bit of a scary one.

lil  ·  88 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Surely you weren't alone, were you?

Sounds fabulous to be out there, and terrifying.

goobster  ·  89 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Man, I know the experience. White-outs are no joke. Was hunting in Eastern Washington with a few people in the snow (looking for chucker/partridge), and we got into whiteout conditions. Eventually, three of us got out of the truck and walked with one hand on the hood, and one hand in front of us, as we inched forward at about 2 MPH.

The vertigo/disorientation is the strangest sensation... like you are standing on a platform with a gimbal, and it tilts any direction away from you at random...

Definitely makes you realize the limits of our human senses.