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12/16/18, 05:34 AM

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NWAC Avalanche
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| |-+  Weak Layers: decision making in avalanche terrain
| | |-+  Avalanche fatal incident, March 4, 2018
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Author Topic: Avalanche fatal incident, March 4, 2018  (Read 1981 times)
Charlie Hagedorn

Posts: 1891

Avalanche fatal incident, March 4, 2018
« on: 03/05/18, 01:10 PM »

Edit: Thanks to snoqpass for posting -- I made a separate thread to keep the accidents better-delineated.

More articles:

As always, our thoughts and hearts go out to those experiencing a sudden and unexpected loss.
« Last Edit: 03/05/18, 02:17 PM by Charlie Hagedorn » Logged


Posts: 160

Re: Avalanche fatal incident, March 4, 2018
« Reply #1 on: 03/13/18, 01:34 PM »

An updated and much more though description of events.

Posts: 37

Re: Avalanche fatal incident, March 4, 2018
« Reply #2 on: 03/14/18, 02:13 PM »

This, like all other avalanche deaths, is tragic.

As a backcountry traveler who has lost too many friends, acquaintances, and friends of friends to mountain accidents over the years, I don't love the write-up. The common refrain is that an "experienced group took standard safety precautions." Sadly though, those semantics aren't very helpful in conveying the event to the larger community who could learn from it as they make decisions moving forward.

I appreciate that newspapers are charitable in times of tragedy and don't generally say things like, "Experienced skiers may have been complacent with past decision-making in similar situations, pushed limits of day's snow stability for a given avalanche problem, resulting in avalanche fatality."

An uncommon avalanche problem for this maritime snowpack (persistent slab; persistent deep slab) has had people overplaying their hand this year. Terrain management is the only reliable way to stave off the adverse consequences of low probability, high consequence avalanches. A test result in a pit is not a prescription for safety. Shallower snow below treeline is not always safe snow. Treed slopes can have ridge-spanning slab avalanches that kill people.

NWAC isn't exaggerating when they forecast slides like this: It was considerable hazard that day with potential persistent slab avalanches named as a problem at that aspect and elevation. Numerous observations in the days prior, including near-miss avalanches, illustrated the problem across the eastern Cascades.

My thoughts go out to all of those affected by this and all avalanche incidents this year. The mountains will still be there next year. Play it cool, friends.
ron j
TAY Moderator

Posts: 2600

Re: Avalanche fatal incident, March 4, 2018
« Reply #3 on: 03/15/18, 08:32 AM »

The information by Tim and Forest in the blog linked above is extremely valuable... potential life-saving.

To best get one's mind around how to deal with these conditions it would pay one huge dividends to watch (or re-watch) the extremely well-produced video A Dozen More Turns.
I really like the comment of Doug Chabot, Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, at the beginning of the video:
“The bottom line though is that if an avalanche happens, a mistake has been made… you blew it.”


"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
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