Category Archive:Accidents

A brave dog, presumed dead in an avalanche in Colorado, was found alive several days later at a trailhead.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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An Aleutian avalanche woke three climbers on Easter morning. They found they were tumbling down the Neacola Mountains in Southwest Alaska. Their tents were propelled down Mount Neacola in Lake Clark National Park and Preserve by an air blast from an avalanche above them.

The climbers received a grant from the American Alpine Club to fund the north face attempt. The three have more than a decade of experience. Two work as avalanche instructors. They work together as climbing guides in New Hampshire. The team had traveled to Alaska planning to spend about 3 1/2 weeks on the mountain. They returned home to New Hampshire on Thursday but are keeping an eye on Alaska weather in hopes that conditions in the Neacola Mountains will improve enough in the next few weeks that they can return.

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Swiss avalanche deaths are up this season. Significantly more people have been killed than the latest 20-year average. The majority of victims were off-piste skiers or snowboarders. The grim statistics come in a report by the Swiss Institute for Snow & Avalanche Research (SLF) and cover the period from 1st October 2020 to 30th March 2021.

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A heli-ski avalanche near Matanuska Glacier killed a Fairbanks woman who was heli-skiing on Saturday. It was witnessed by four others in the group.

Erin Lee, 40, was rescued and taken to Mat-Su Regional Hospital and pronounced dead.Erin Lee, 40, was rescued and taken to Mat-Su Regional Hospital and pronounced dead.

She was part of a group heli-skiing about 7½ miles from the Glenn Highway east of the Matanuska Glacier, said Austin McDaniel, a spokesman for the Alaska state troopers. It wasn’t immediately clear which mountain the avalanche occurred on. Troopers have not visited the exact site. McDaniel also noted that another group was heli-skiing in the same area Saturday.

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A snow avalanche hit Washich village in Upper Chitral the other night. It crossed the Chitral River to Zang Lusht village on the other side.

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Avalanche investigators from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) must testify in the trial of Evan Hannibal and Tyler DeWitt according to Judge Casias. He dismissed a motion from the Attorney General’s Office to void subpoenas to keep them off the witness stand.

On March 25 DeWitt and Hannibal were snowboarding above the Loop Road at the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels. They triggered an avalanche. Nobody was injured but it covered more than 400 feet of the roadway up to 20 feet deep and damaged a remote avalanche-control installation.

The District Attorney charged both snowboarders with misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment.

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Avalanche

Avalanche testimony by Colorado Avalanche Information Center boss Ethan Green in a criminal case could hinder the function of the agency, according to the state Attorney General.

Evan Hannibal provided his helmet video of the avalanche he triggered above Interstate 70 last March. The avalanche buried a service road and destroyed an avalanche mitigation installation protecting I-70. He thought the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) would use his submission to help educate others.

But Summit County prosecutors used the video for a criminal case. They seek restitution for the damaged avalanche mitigation device.

Now Attorney General Weiser has stepped in, asking Judge Casias to reject having state employees testify. He cites several reasons, such as their busy winter work schedules.

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