Thought you guys might want to give a nod to these patrollers. Thanks.
On Thursday, April 6, 2006, four experienced Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrollers were inspecting the mountain after a series of heavy snowstorms. The patrollers were fencing off the fumarole, on Christmas Bowl run (east of Chair 3) when the snow around the vent collapsed. In this instance, the tremendous snowfall had temporarily blocked the vent and a build-up of gas occurred beneath the snowpack creating unstable conditions. Two patrollers fell into the approximately 6-ft hole, down 21 feet of snow to the earth. Two patrollers attempting to help descended into the hole. The two that fell and one who attempted to rescue them passed due to asphyxiation by the volcanic gasses.
Walter, James and Scotty, you're forever in our thoughts.
Charles Walter Rosenthal
Walter was a working scientist and dedicated member of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol. He held a master’s degree from The University of California Santa Barbara in geography and worked as a researcher for the Institute for Computational Earth System Science. He also worked as a teaching assistant in the Department of Geography at UCSB. He published numerous articles on remote sensing of snow and avalanche forecasting methods. In the summers, he worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory as a remote sensing expert.
On patrol, Walter was the Snow and Avalanche Analyst and served as the President of the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center which he helped to found. He was a friend and mentor to many. Walter is well known among climbers and skiers in California for his first ascents in Yosemite Valley and for his first ski descents in the High Sierra. He started working for Mammoth Mountain in 1972-73. He joined the ski patrol in 1981-82 season.
James was a trusted member of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol and adored his job, skiing and the Sierra Nevada. He joined the Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol in November of 2001.
James was born August 24, 1971. He lived in Southern CA during the off-season, and helped his father with his successful business of building swimming pools. He loved to surf and did so often. James was a voracious reader and loved to read history. He was extremely creative and had the ability not only to conceive of new ideas and projects but manufacture and engineer anything he imagined. He loved to work with leather, and you can see his handiwork in the work belts of many patrollers on the mountain. He was motivated by what was right and spoke passionately about what he believed in. He got down to business quickly when it was time to be serious, but he was mischievous, and loved to make others laugh. His boundless energy, determination and easy laugh are dearly missed.
John Scott McAndrews
Scotty, as he was known by his friends, joined the Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol in November of 2005 and died while attempting to make safe the mountains he loved so dearly. Scott’s life was a journey full of service to others. After graduating from Penn State University in 1991, he worked as an outdoor educator for the non-profit organization Outward Bound.
Although Scott returned to the East Coast to earn a master’s degree in Special Education, the pull of the mountains soon brought him back to the Eastern Sierra. Living in Bishop offered Scott every opportunity to ski, hike and climb with his many friends—the things that made him most happy.
Scott possessed a rare combination of work ethic, mental toughness, concern for his teammates, and a perpetually positive attitude. On avalanche control mornings, the patrol supervisors would arrive hours before dawn to find Scott fully dressed, ready for work, and shoveling the entryway to the patrol room. Scott’s peers voted him “Rookie of the Year,” an award he received just two days before his death.
A permanent stone monument sits at the summit of Mammoth Mountain in loving memory of Mammoth Ski Patrollers who lost their lives on the mountain April 6, 2006. The monument was designed by local artist Larry Walker and has been made possible by generous donations from many people. It is an amazing collaborative effort of Ski Patrol, the families and friends of the fallen patrollers and many others. Walter, James and Scott are memorialized in a location from which they can eternally overlook Mammoth Mountain and beyond, from the Minarets to Crowley Lake.