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#163232 - 03/03/12 07:14 PM Another avalanche story
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2802
Loc: NorCal
We had another avalanche death in the Sierra--a skier. The narrative is not typical, as he was hit by a series of slides, not just one large one, and his friends watched the whole thing and responded quickly.

Quote:
Brackett then started to ski the slope. On his third turn, he triggered an avalanche about 1 foot deep. Brackett grabbed a tree and was able to stop himself from being swept into the slide.

But the avalanche then "stepped down" another 15 to 20 inches and pulled him away from his tree-hold and carried him down-slope into trees. His partners skied to the trees, where they saw a ski protruding from the snowpack and used their locator beacons to find Brackett.

His body was wrapped around a tree and buried 3 feet deep. It took three minutes for his ski partners to reach him. He suffered severe injuries, according to the avalanche center website, and he later died at a hospital in Truckee.


avalanche story

They were skiing on the heels of a big storm, which hit after a long dry spell. If I were to invent perfect avalanche conditions, I'd have had a hard time topping these.
_________________________
--Rick

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#163238 - 03/03/12 09:46 PM Re: Another avalanche story [Re: Rick_D]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I read an earlier account of this accident. Avalanche conditions are supposed to be very high due to the recent storm, as you said, but that doesn't seem to be deterring the BC skiers.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#163274 - 03/04/12 04:03 PM Re: Another avalanche story [Re: TomD]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
TomD

I remember when I learned that those really cool clear "skiing slopes" in the mountains were actually avolanche slopes or couloirs. Who knew? I am constantly amazed at the things that I survived without even knowing that I had been in that much danger.

Avolanches scare me real bad, as do snow bridges over streams and snow cornices. I think maybe anyone who plans to go out in the mountains off trail in the winter who isn't scared of those things should take the time to learn what an avolanche slope is - like almost anyplace steep enough to slide down, and learn some deeper respect before the "go for it" atitudes gets you killed.

This was a sad case and our condolences to his family.
BUT
Why was he skiing in those conditions? Was it a calculated risk or stupidity? And note - he died of blunt force trauma from being wrapped around a tree.

Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#163423 - 03/06/12 10:40 PM Re: Another avalanche story [Re: TomD]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Its not just the recent storm, its a combination of that and the weak base underlying the new stuff. I really am surprised these people aren't more aware.

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#163467 - 03/07/12 11:38 PM Re: Another avalanche story [Re: skcreidc]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
I know little about avalanches, but the one thing I do know is that it is the easier slopes that slide-the really steep ones don't because the snow tends to come off immediately as it accumulates, so that is the real danger-they just look safe. A recent slide in France took out a line of lift towers, but no one was injured. Saw the video online.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#163505 - 03/08/12 03:03 PM Re: Another avalanche story [Re: TomD]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Tom D, you are absolutely right! I saw that video too and it was on a fairly low slope. This is not a normal year in many respects.

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#163541 - 03/08/12 07:56 PM Re: Another avalanche story [Re: skcreidc]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Originally Posted By skcreidc
Tom D, you are absolutely right! I saw that video too and it was on a fairly low slope. This is not a normal year in many respects.


From what I have read, the ideal angle for an avalanche is anywhere between 25-55 degrees; some organizations say 25 to 45, others 35-55 so it's somewhere in that range-
http://avalanche.org/tutorial/tutorial.html. That is why some compasses have an inclinometer built into them. My Suunto MC-2G has one.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#163576 - 03/09/12 10:05 AM Re: Another avalanche story [Re: TomD]
skcreidc Offline
member

Registered: 08/16/10
Posts: 1590
Loc: San Diego CA
Tom D, Thanks for posting the link up.

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