Description: Every year a multitude of people venture out into the snow to go snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling or climbing. Many are not fully informed of the dangers and the necessary risk management practices. This book sheds light on the fatalities that occurred last year and what went wrong in order to help others learn and improve their own margin of safety.
Even if you’re an expert, you can never be too safe in the backcountry. It’s something two avalanche Forest Service forecasters learned last week after they triggered a slide.
Last Friday two avalanche forecasters from the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center had a close call on Fisher Mountain.
The two forecasters had snowmobiled to an area on the mountain to dig snow pits. “One of them rode and then the second person came, and when the second person was coming, he triggered the avalanche from below.”
"It was a really close call because it was a big avalanche.”
A new avalanche backpack will increase a victim's survival window from 15 To 90 minutes.
Avalanche caused deaths don’t result from a lack of oxygen. Dense avalanche debris sits at around 60-70% air. Victims succumb to carbon dioxide poisoning as gas builds up in the snow around them. The SBX seeks to limit that carbon dioxide buildup by pumping oxygen into the snow surrounding one’s mouth while pushing away the built up carbon dioxide. In an avalanche a victims pull the t-shaped handle located on the shoulder strap. This activates a fan located in the SBX Clean Air Intake placed on one’s back. That fan pumps oxygen from an area lacking CO2 buildup to the Clean Air Outlets on the wearer’s shoulders.
Was the Uttarkashi avalanche triggered by an earthquake a couple days earlier? A 2.5 magnitude earthquake jolted the region on October 2. Just two days before the deadly avalanche hit the group from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) at Draupadi ka Danda. Sixteen bodies were recovered by Thursday afternoon, fifteen were still reported missing.
The earthquake epicenter was not far from the Uttarkashi avalanche site. Experienced mountaineers as well as locals are now speculating that the earthquake may have triggered the avalanche.
A training expedition in the Himalayas was hit by a massive avalanche on a steep range in northern India, killing at least 16 and leaving about 10 others still missing.
Indian Avalanche Survivor Aakash Lalwani, one of the rescued climbers, said the wall of snow took everyone down in a matter of seconds and threw them into a deep crevasse. “We were lucky that we could somehow breathe".
The family of Peter Marshall, who was killed in an avalanche during an AIARE advanced avalanche safety class with the Silverton Avalanche School, has dropped the school and teacher from their lawsuit. It appears that a settlement was reached. A complaint remains open against Backcountry Access, their owner K2 Sports, and K2 owner Kohlberg & Company.
Last month the family dropped its claims against the county, school and guide. Attorneys for the Marshall family have not returned calls or responded to emails and representatives from the county and school declined to comment, indicating a settlement amount was most likely agreed upon.
The family had argued that the school and guide had misled Marshall into taking the class by “falsely presenting” that school staff “possessed deep operational experience in avalanche terrain.” The family also claimed the school and guide displayed “gross negligence.”
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) report pointed to several mistakes during the advanced class, including a group of skiers gathered on a slope steep enough to slide, those skiers misjudging the steepness of that slope and a failure to recognize clear avalanche hazards. The guide triggered the first avalanche, which swept the whole group down the slope. A second avalanche buried Marshall under several feet of snow.
The family of the 40-year-old Longmont skier is still suing K2 Sports and its subsidiary Backcountry Access, which makes an air bag backpack that was not deployed when rescuers found Marshall buried in more than 8 feet of avalanche debris. “Peter Marshall attempted to trigger his Float 32 avalanche air bag system but it did not fully deploy or inflate,” according to the complaint filed in Boulder District Court.
A skier was killed in an avalanche Saturday, December 11, in Silver Basin, a closed area of Crystal Mountain, Washington, that ski patrol had not mitigated for avalanche hazard. Six skiers from the same party were caught in the slide. Four skiers were partially or fully buried, three of whom were successfully recovered. The fourth skier was found unconscious and did not respond to resuscitation efforts. All skiers involved were carrying avalanche equipment and several had taken a recent avalanche course.
A week from graduating high school, Alaska avalanche survivor Peter Schutt was physically on top of the world as he climbed Donoho Peak near the Alaska/Canada border.
Unfortunately, Schutt’s adventure took a dangerous turn when an avalanche struck. Snow that was once a fixture on the frigid face of the mountain suddenly cut loose and turned into a freight train of cold, sugary crystals stampeding in rapid, unstoppable motion.
The avalanche pitched him over a 75-foot cliff on his tumble down 2,500 feet of the jagged mountain face. He remembers covering his head as best he could to prevent further injury.
After the avalanche Schutt’s friend and partner made his way down, contacted National Park Service via cell phone and provided cell phone GPS coordinates to aid the rescue response.