Tag Archive: montana

An avalanche south of Cooke City carried three skiers down Republic Mountain, two were injured in the avalanche. One had to be evacuated by helicopter and another was temporarily unconscious and not breathing, according to a report.

In many ways, the skiers had done everything right. All six were carrying beacons and had rescue gear. They had radios to summons help.

However, they did not check the snowpack in the place they decided to ascend the mountain. They had dug a snowpit 2 meters deep to check the likelihood of an avalanche. But a hundred feet off to the side the snowpack changed, with much less snow, only three feet.

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“We have a block of harder snow over a section of weak sugary facets of the ground, so we have something over nothing," said Dave Zinn, avalanche expert. "This is the recipe for an avalanche, all you need now is a steep slope and a trigger.”

“Really watch out for those signs of instability -- like shooting cracks. Do some avalanche testing - dig stability tests, do an extended column test, see if you get stable results," said Zinn. "And if you don't see (stable results), find a different slope."

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