Backcountry Education, Safety Are More Important Than Ever: ‘Solving for Z’ Explains Why

Patagonia ambassador and guide Zahan ‘Z’ Billimoria talks ski guiding, risk, and safety in Patagonia’s film ‘Solving for Z.’

After an accident on Mt. Moran that killed two partners, Zahan Billimoria committed himself to exploring the gap between what is known and unknown in the mountains and the risks that reside in that space. How much can we gain from the mountains? How much can we lose?

This 27-minute film explores the reality of the hazards in the backcountry. No matter how ominous that seems, it’s important for us to learn how to recognize risk and how we can prevent it. But we have to also recognize the element of uncertainty.

“Having knowledge of the backcountry — that can be dangerously empowering,” Billimoria said. It’s not a super-dark film, but it’s not lighthearted either.

“With the heart of winter upon us, the message behind this film is timely. The pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty around the operation of ski resorts. And as a result, we are sure to see more people than ever entering the backcountry,” wrote the Patagonia team. We couldn’t agree more with the timing of this film.

If Patagonia’s goal was to heighten public awareness of risk in the mountains, then they hit it spot on.

“Solving for Z” premiered yesterday. The film will also stream live on TGR TV starting on January 10, 2021.

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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