Backcountry: the Post-Mortem

This is the post-mortem retrospective accompanying my story: ‘Backcountry’.

Things that went poorly:

  • I snowboarded alone
  • I asked no one to check in with me regularly
  • I didn’t read the entire ski boundary sign, which amounts to having ignored it entirely
  • I didn’t consult a map before venturing into unfamiliar terrain
  • I entered backcountry without training or equipment
  • I entered backcountry without assessing avalanche danger
  • I didn’t bring water or emergency rations.

Things that went well

  • I brought a spare battery pack
  • I traversed through loose snow before, and had enough experience + strength to climb up steep slopes in the loose snow
  • I recognized the need to call for help

Things where I got lucky

  • Didn’t encounter an avalanche
  • Didn’t encounter wild animals
  • Didn’t sustain any injuries
  • Google Maps’ offline cache of the region displayed enough granularity to include the road. Without this, I’d be lost crawling in the snow
  • Happened to stumble upon a small pocket in the valley where enough reception was available to complete a call to 911
  • Timing: had I dropped into the lines a few hours later, I might’ve been stuck overnight
  • Cross-country tracks along the center of the road made the route much more hike-friendly than in the valley below