telemark skiingbackcountry skiingPacific NorthwestWashington and Oregonweather linksThe Yuki AwardsMt. Rainier and Mt. Adams
Turns All Year
www.turns-all-year.com
  Help | Search | Login | Register
Turns All Year Trip Reports
Backcountry Skiing and Snowboarding

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
11/17/17, 12:54 PM

Become a TAY Sponsor!
 
Trip Reports Sponsor
Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
Turns All Year Trip Reports
(1) Viewing these pages constitutes your acceptance of the Terms of Use.
(2) Disclaimer: the accuracy of information here is unknown, use at your own risk.
(3) Trip Report monthly boards: only actual trip report starts a new thread.
(4) Keep it civil and constructive - that is the norm here.
 
FOAC Snow
Info Exchange


NWAC Avalanche
Forecast
+  Turns All Year Trip Reports
|-+  Hot Air
| |-+  Weak Layers: decision making in avalanche terrain
| | |-+  Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
:
« previous next »
Pages: 1 [2]  All | Go Down Print
Author Topic: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area  (Read 29410 times)
alecapone
Member
Offline

Posts: 805


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #25 on: 01/27/16, 05:17 AM »

fund

How horrific for all involved. Very sad.

Ryan. My theory, based on limited knowledge.

There is a moderate way down, behind widowmaker,(in the foreground), and stone man in the back from a peaklet just south of Herman propper. It drops to Bagley creek, but involves a couple skier right traverses. Perhaps this was their route. Not sure how exposed, or not, you can keep yourself.? 

« Last Edit: 01/27/16, 05:22 AM by alecapone » Logged

scott
Mattski
Member
Offline

Posts: 154


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #26 on: 01/27/16, 09:44 AM »

Out of respect to the victims, NWAC is not responsible for individual choices just providing a general forecast(Valley scale not slope scale). It is important to focus on the decision making that led them there so we can better understand how this happened.

Condolences to the family.
Logged
Lowell_Skoog
Member
Offline

Posts: 2056


WWW
Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #27 on: 01/27/16, 10:53 AM »

Quote from NWAC:

Quote
Two experienced skiers were hit by natural avalanches on the north side of Mt. Herman in the early afternoon on Sunday, January 24th 2016. One skier sustained a non-avalanche related injury. A call was placed to 911, initiating rescue. Both skiers continued descending the north side of Mt. Herman. A small, likely loose snow avalanche originating from steeper terrain above, caught and carried both skiers—no burials. The party then continued down-slope under their own power. A short time later, the party was struck by a secondary avalanche originating from a steep, isolated terrain feature above the party. After initial observations, the secondary slide appears to be a glide avalanche and not triggered by the party. The persistent slab problem is no longer suspected as a cause of this incident. Both skiers were caught, carried, and partially buried—one was injured and air lifted Sunday. The second skier sustained fatal traumatic injuries. His body was recovered on Monday, January 25th 2016. NWAC will be releasing the full incident report as soon as it is available.

The thing that hits me about this accident is that it was precipitated by a non-avalanche related injury. The party placed a call to 911 due to that injury and they were making their way as best they could back to safety. The avalanche occurred during that effort.

When you're hurting and already in an emergency, it's easy to imagine just trying to get home as quickly as you can. Taking the shortest and most direct route maybe. But that might not be the safest way to go. That seems to have been the case here.

In aviation, they talk about breaking the chain of events that leads to an accident. We haven't talked about that much in the context of avalanche safety, but this tragedy has me thinking maybe we should. A guick google search turns up lots of references related to the accident chain of events:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chain_of_events_%28aeronautics%29
http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/inst_reports2.cfm?article=4401
http://www1.northbrook28.net/~wconcklin/6th_eBook/Safety_%28In_Person_and_On-line%29_files/Accident%20Chain.pdf
http://www.amazon.com/Serious-Accidents-FactorsBreaking-Leading-Accident/dp/1563477459
Logged
Charlie Hagedorn
Member
Offline

Posts: 1817


WWW
Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #28 on: 01/27/16, 10:59 AM »

From the limited description of the injury available, a hasty retreat may have been the right, even if apparently risky, move. We'll have to wait for a comprehensive report, if one emerges.

Hope everyone involved is healing; internet analysis will wait.
Logged

Lowell_Skoog
Member
Offline

Posts: 2056


WWW
Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #29 on: 01/27/16, 11:07 AM »

To be clear, I'm not casting any sort of judgement. I'm imagining myself doing the exact same thing.
Logged
Lowell_Skoog
Member
Offline

Posts: 2056


WWW
Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #30 on: 01/27/16, 11:09 AM »

Also, from experience, I can say that it's way too soon to be talking seriously about healing.
Logged
Charlie Hagedorn
Member
Offline

Posts: 1817


WWW
Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #31 on: 01/27/16, 11:44 AM »

Totally agreed. I know I'd feel pressured to chime in publicly if analysis were beginning regarding an accident in which I'd been involved. We can minimize that feeling for those involved.

With an accident in 2009, I didn't really understand the entire thing until after ~7-10 days of reflection. I wrote the story down in the Percocet haze, but waited to more than a month to speak out. (Afterward, Lowell's analysis was spot on.)

This accident is far more grave, and the impacts much greater.
Logged

Eckels
5Member
Offline

Posts: 62


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #32 on: 01/27/16, 07:19 PM »

This is tragic news to hear and very sobering as I ski in the same area frequently and given the whole circumstances of the event think I probably would have made the same decision as they did to traverse under widowmaker to get to the parking lot as quickly and easily as possible.

The image of widowmaker posted here likely shows where the avalanche started but one can't see the traverse they were most likely doing. It's steep and shitty but not nearly as steep as the spines of widowmaker you can see in the picture where the slide likely started. It all ends up in the bagley creek drainage which at that spot is a pretty major terrain trap.

I've done that traverse once before in locked up conditions. The only reason it's worth doing is because all other options that avoid going under widowmaker require at least 500 vert of additional skinning to get to the parking lot whereas that traverse puts you 100 vertical ft directly beneath the parking lot. In the case of an injury that warranted calling 911 I can certainly see myself choosing to go under widdowmaker in the conditions NWAC described for that day rather than adding an additional climb to get to medical attention.

Tragic situation. Condolences to those who knew the victim and are grieving.
Logged
lefty72
5Member
Offline

Posts: 8


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #33 on: 01/27/16, 07:40 PM »

Lowell, the basic name for the cascade of events that leads to a mishap is called the "swiss cheese" model.  It is not only an aviation reference.  The same analogy is also used in other professions like the medical field.  If you ever want to discuss let me know. 
Logged
Charlie Hagedorn
Member
Offline

Posts: 1817


WWW
Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #34 on: 01/28/16, 10:53 AM »

NAS Whidbey posted to Facebook regarding this incident. This link appears to work for me while signed in to Facebook, but not when I'm not Sad.

https://www.facebook.com/NASWhidbeyIsland/posts/942835245787456
Logged

Jason4
Member
Offline

Posts: 266


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #35 on: 01/28/16, 10:54 AM »

I was up there that day and saw the party ski by us in Corona Bowl.  To understand the reports it's important to know that most skiers local to Baker refer to the false summit as "Herman".  I suspect that a lot of them don't even realize that the true summit is across another bowl and up a ridge.  Skiers that are trying to look at a map and find the location based on the description seem to be confused.  The actual face that slid is lower down on the NE ridge that's coming off the false summit that is SE of the main summit. Here is a link that is centered on the slope.  Zoom out to orient yourself once you click the link.
https://goo.gl/maps/YpmpXEeAwE32

Lowell is spot on, there was more than one issue/mistake/failure in the process that occurred during their tour.  From what I was told on Sunday and what it says in the reports since then, they were dealing with an injury that might have distracted them from looking around and certainly hindered their travel.  From what I was told there was no way they were going to skin back up anything.  They also suffered from truly tragic timing as a glide avalanche is not very common and is very hard to predict timing with much certainty.  It's very different from a typical winter time slide.  That face has a history of similar slides but I don't think that would be very well known to most skiers in the area.

Alecapone, there is a more moderate ski line than is shown but there is no way to cross that slope without exposure to hazard.  Crossing that slope slowly increases the exposure to dangerous conditions.  It's not too different from crossing under a serac.

All of the early talk about a possible persistent weak layer was misguided.  My experience in the backcountry on Sunday matched the NWAC report pretty spot on.  We saw lots of very active but very isolated small pockets of wind slab.  Most were ~10' round patches between wind scoured rain crust and the moving snow wouldn't have caused any issues on it's own but had the potential to knock someone down on the boot supporting crust.  If you had found yourself sliding on the crust a recovery would have been difficult but that's not specifically an avalanche problem.  We had actually discussed baling the way they did if we found the crust to be impossible to pass on our way to go out the way the party came in to the bowl where we crossed paths.  That said, I feel like NWAC has been generally posting danger ratings one level lower than what they describe in their "Bottomline" description.
« Last Edit: 01/28/16, 03:17 PM by Jason4 » Logged

Free your heel, free your mind.
Fix your heel, fix your problem.
- Pred, 2013
amandamark
1Member
Offline

Posts: 1


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #36 on: 01/28/16, 11:30 AM »

Craig Panthen composed himself to share the story of the events surrounding the avalanche that took his brother's, Mark Panthen's, life last Sunday. So many pieces of the story that made the news cycle missed what actually happened. Craig allows us the understanding of the sequence of events as they unfolded on the slopes of Mt Herman.

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=122397578143417&id=100011195260119&fref=nf&pnref=story

If you have not already done so and feel so compelled, please consider helping Mark's and Amanda Peart's family through the Mark Panthen Memorial Fund: www.youcaring.com/markpanthenmemorialfund

Thank you.
Logged
dberdinka
Member
Offline

Posts: 152


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #37 on: 01/28/16, 12:51 PM »

Additional Info.  Amazing effort by local SAR resources.

NAS Whidbey Island SAR Facebook Post
Logged
Lowell_Skoog
Member
Offline

Posts: 2056


WWW
Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #38 on: 01/28/16, 12:52 PM »

Craig Panthen composed himself to share the story of the events surrounding the avalanche that took his brother's, Mark Panthen's, life last Sunday. So many pieces of the story that made the news cycle missed what actually happened. Craig allows us the understanding of the sequence of events as they unfolded on the slopes of Mt Herman.

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=122397578143417&id=100011195260119&fref=nf&pnref=story

Thanks for posting this link. Such a difficult time.

The ice avalanche that hit them could not have been predicted well at all.

They were trying to self-rescue, and that is something I think we all regard as a virtue.

In addition to family and friends, I send my thoughts to the ski patrol and other rescuers whose efforts were stymied.
Logged
Jim Oker
TAY Moderator
Offline

Posts: 1511


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #39 on: 01/28/16, 01:36 PM »

Yes, thanks for posting, and ditto to the rest of what Lowell wrote. And good luck with the memorial fund, as well as with getting on with your suddenly-changed lives.

I'll be interested to read the report that I assume will eventually be posted by NWAC - if anything I'm not more confused than ever by the various descriptions, as the run down from Herman Saddle and the Mazama Bowl access notch is nowhere near nor in view of the parking lot (at least the features we've always used those names for) or what folks here have described as the Widowmaker run. But there's no rush and clear and carefully compiled facts beat internet speculation.
Logged
Jason4
Member
Offline

Posts: 266


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #40 on: 01/28/16, 02:03 PM »

I can't get onto FB from work so I don't know what the brother's account is but I was up there and saw them.

My best guess at their route that day:
Early start from the parking lot to Bagley Bowl and accessing Mazama Bowl somehow, probably the usual low point between Herman and Mazama Dome.
100% guess, too many other tracks to know which were theirs.
Skinned east out of Mazama Bowl to the high notch.
I believe this based on the fact that they had the only downhill tracks east of the high notch and we had the only skin track east of the high notch.  The party I was in had the only downhill tracks west of the high notch.  I saw a slightly snowed over skin track that was only a couple of hours old climbing from Mazama Bowl to the notch.  All of the other skiers in Mazama Bowl were farming turns in the north facing slope in the middle of the bowl.
Skied from the high notch to the moraine in Corona Bowl.
I know this because I watched them do it.  One of them caught some air on a wind lip near the moraine, maybe intentional, probably an accident in the flat light.  He fell and picked himself up while we were peeling skins on the false summit at ~1115.
They continued north east from there towards the entrance into the face that slid on them.  They were gone before we got to the moraine so we didn't talk at all but I watched them ski by.

We continued out through Mazama Bowl and Bagley Bowl (where we saw the Navy SAR heli) back to the parking lot.  I talked to MSAR and patrol, told them that I saw the party and when and asked them what was going on.

It shook us up pretty good since we had talked about retreating out the same way if we couldn't get to the saddle into Mazama Bowl.

My sincerest condolences to the family and friends.
Logged

Free your heel, free your mind.
Fix your heel, fix your problem.
- Pred, 2013
Jason4
Member
Offline

Posts: 266


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #41 on: 01/28/16, 03:37 PM »

I'm waiting to see the official, properly informed, analysis, but curiosity's hard to quash entirely.

I've barely skied the Baker BC, just ~six trips or so, but from photos people have posted, it sounds like the slide path is where I've labelled "Spot 2" on this map. I've refrained from using the path name because it seems too apropos at present.

http://caltopo.com/m/5M86

The edit password is "TAY"; do feel free to improve the map however you wish. To edit, click on the "Read-only" link, and it'll let you enter a password.

I've made a few updates to the link that includes where I was standing when I saw the two skiers, where I saw tracks, and where the wind lip was that I saw one of them fall.  The shading on WM and the start points are close enough for the conversation here.
Logged

Free your heel, free your mind.
Fix your heel, fix your problem.
- Pred, 2013
Jim Oker
TAY Moderator
Offline

Posts: 1511


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #42 on: 01/28/16, 05:48 PM »

Thanks Jason - that FB description spoke of skiing out from "Herman Saddle" , getting injured below, and making their way back from there, which is what confused me. Your description and sketch seems more consistent with what eyewitnesses in parking lot shared in terms of locations.
Logged
discostew
5Member
Offline

Posts: 66


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #43 on: 01/28/16, 05:58 PM »

if anything I'm not more confused than ever by the various descriptions, as the run down from Herman Saddle and the Mazama Bowl access notch is nowhere near nor in view of the parking lot (at least the features we've always used those names for) or what folks here have described as the Widowmaker run.


I'm totally confused by this as well. Unless there's another "Herman saddle"? I await the NWAC report.

So sad for his family and especially his young kids.
Logged
peteyboy
Member
Offline

Posts: 286


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #44 on: 02/21/16, 08:38 PM »

The Canadian Avalanche Association Journal (I think in a 2012 or 2013 issue) has descriptions of the terrific prediction difficulty and massive destructive potential of glide slab avalanches from the director of the avalanche control program in Terrace, BC.  From an etiologic standpoint, glide slab seems to have relevance to this tragic accident though I certainly may be off the mark.
Logged
T_Scheib
5Member
Offline

Posts: 13


Re: Avalanche kills person near Mount Baker ski area
« Reply #45 on: 02/22/16, 01:37 PM »

http://media.nwac.us.s3.amazonaws.com/media/filer_public/a6/28/a62889ca-0f64-4cce-8011-7c84283d0c91/mt_herman_fatality_1-24-16.pdf

Full Accident report. Injuries were not due to burial, but trauma. Both victims sustained head injuries. I am curious to know if either victim had helmets on during the incident.
Logged
Pages: 1 [2]  All | Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Login with username, password and session length

Thank you to our sponsors!
click to visit our sponsor: Feathered Friends
Feathered Friends
click to visit our sponsor: Marmot Mountain Works
Marmot Mountain Works
click to visit our sponsor: Second Ascent
Second Ascent
click to visit our sponsor: American Alpine Institute
American Alpine Institute
click to visit our sponsor: Pro Guiding Service
Pro Guiding Service
Contact turns-all-year.com

Turns All Year Trip Reports ©2001-2010 Turns All Year LLC. All Rights Reserved

The opinions expressed in posts are those of the poster and do not necessarily
reflect the opinions of Trip Reports administrators or Turns All Year LLC


Turns All Year Trip Reports | Powered by SMF 1.0.6.
© 2001-2005, Lewis Media. All Rights Reserved.