January 17, 2008

Telluride Poacher Video: ‘We Gotta Get Out of Here’

It's not exactly cutting-edge Gonzo filmmaking, but this helmet-cam video (edited by the Telluride Daily Planet) is certainly a poignant reminder that sometimes those annoying "cliff" signs really do mean...Cliff.

Earlier this season two young skiers from Texas decided to duck under the rope at the extreme west end of Telluride's Gold Hill, tempted by the sight of untracked powder. Being members of the tech generation, they naturally decided to video themselves, which was no doubt of great value to the sheriff's department. Both were subsequently charged with Reckless Endangerment.

The video does run on the long side, at eight-plus minutes, but the moment when they break through the trees to discover their line is completely cliffed-out is priceless. Soon after that, they trigger an avalanche that knocks one of them over the cliff (this part of the mountain is closed, after all, not only because of the cliffs but also the extremely high avalanche danger).

Incredibly, neither kid was seriously injured, though their effort remains a potent entry for this year's Darwin Awards.

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When there is snow, SierraDescents is Andy Lewicky's California backcountry skiing and mountaineering website. Without snow, sierradescents becomes an ill-tempered hiking and climbing blog.

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