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Avalanche death in Vail BC

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

https://avalanche.state.co.us/acc/acc_report.php?accfm=rep&acc_id=504

 

 

 

 

 

One dead.

 

Lets stay safe folks.  This was a massive Slab.   

post #2 of 14

wow and the cornice is still there!

No mention of the pitch but it looks pretty steep.

Appears the slope was called "Avalanche Bowl"

Quote:
The deep, persistent-slab avalanche is described at 10' deep and close to 300' wide. It broke trees 3-5" in diameter. It released on a north aspect in a near-treeline area.

 

Reefer Madness strikes again:

 

Sheriff says snowboarder who died in Vail Pass avalanche may have been smoking Dead-Head OG

By RealVail
Real VailApril 18, 2013
Quote:
http://www.realvail.com/article/1760/Sheriff-says-snowboarder-who-died-in-Vail-Pass-avalanche-may-have-been-smoking-Dead-Head-OG

Here's the full press release from the Eagle County Sheriff's Office:

 

On Thursday April 18, 2013, at approximately 1:30 p.m. the Vail Public Safety Communications Center received a 911 call reporting an avalanche at the Avalanche Bowl, South of Vail Pass.

 

It appears that the very large avalanche was triggered by two snowboarders who were dropped off at the top of the bowl by a friend on a snowmobile. The three individuals involved had been taking turns making runs down the Avalanche Bowl all day. Detectives with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office were informed that the parties involved were under the influence of Dead-Head OG (a strain of Marijuana) at the time of the incident.

 

One of the snowboarders was able to escape the avalanche. The other snowboarder became trapped. Friends were able to locate the victim using avalanche beacons however resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.

All three were experienced snowboarders and snowmobilers who are very familiar with the Avalanche Bowl area. They were all equipped with safety equipment.

 

Another shot from the CAIC:

https://avalanche.state.co.us/acc/acc_report.php?accfm=rep&acc_id=504

https://avalanche.state.co.us/media/full/acc_504_5057.jpg

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

FROM THE CAIC TODAY- 

 

 

Snow & Avalanche Discussion

Yesterday's fatal avalanche accident near Vail Pass and large natural avalanches near the Eisenhower Tunnel and Boreas Pass show that deep persistent slabs are reactive once again. Most of these slides were on north and northeast aspects near treeline, but large slides are possible wherever you find stiffer, wind-drifted snow over deeply buried weak layers. Significant snowfall and strong winds from multiple directions earlier this week overloaded very weak layers that formed near the bottom of the snowpack at the beginning of the season and have been intermittently sensitive to triggering since then. These weak layers remain the weakest and most problematic on north through northeast to east aspects near and above treeline where the snowpack is still cold and winter-like. It is easy to gain a false sense of confidence as many tracks are laid down on these deep persistent slabs without incident. You are most likely to trigger large slides from areas of shallow snow along the margins of thicker hard slabs today.

Fresh wind slabs up to 3 feet thick are another problem on north through east to southeast aspects near and above treeline. Strong south and southeast winds loaded snow into some atypical locations on Wednesday. Winds shifted to the northwest and will continue drifting new snow today. Look for fresh wind slabs that have formed below ridgelines and on cross-loaded terrain features like sub-ridges and gullies. Approach slopes steeper than 30 degrees with caution, especially if you find signs of instability like recent slide activity or propagating cracks.

3 to 13" of new snow that fell on top of a widespread dust layer on Wednesday. Expect small, wet loose avalanches and storm slabs to slide easily as strong solar radiation and warming temperatures moisten the new snow today. The storm snow bonded well to the underlying dusty crust initially, but may become more reactive as it moistens. These storm slabs are up to a foot thick where new snow accumulations were greatest in the Gore Range and west of Vail Pass. Use extra caution if you notice the snow becoming wet, especially on sun-exposed slopes near rocks and trees below treeline.   

post #4 of 14

Crazy snow patterns out there, huh? 

Just saw this one too. 

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2011/04/05/avalanche-kills-skier-at-aspen-highlands/


Edited by Trekchick - 4/19/13 at 10:05am
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 

Classic case of persistent slab from the beginning of the season and now with heavy load from wind deposited snow (slab), things start to break and slide. The Northern aspects are noted as being a higher risk as the southern storm blows snow (windward) and deposits it on the leeward sides; Northern aspects. When the wind loads like that, it picks the snow up and pulverizes the " flakes" into a dense sand-like consistency. Wind can deposit up to 10x the snow amount (than the snowfall totals) in these pockets creating very heavy loads on top of the weak layer.  This can cause direct and remote releases.  

post #6 of 14

"Detectives with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office were informed that the parties involved were under the influence of Dead-Head OG (a strain of Marijuana) at the time of the incident."

 

It's a good thing they specified the strain because if they just said they were under the influence of marijuana we'd all be like 'what strain??'

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

Crazy snow patterns out there, huh? 

Just saw this one too. 

http://denver.cbslocal.com/2011/04/05/avalanche-kills-skier-at-aspen-highlands/

 

That killed Adam two years ago!

post #8 of 14
Wtf ???
post #9 of 14

Judging by the damage to the trees, that was the biggest slide through that area in a long time!  Given the good bond between the recent layers, the snow probably seemed very stable until it wasn't.

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Wtf ???

Sorry ... that was not to shredhead -- it was, Who cares about what strain of whatever, and, TC... don't scare us like that, the article was from 4-5-11!!!!

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Sorry ... that was not to shredhead -- it was, Who cares about what strain of whatever, and, TC... don't scare us like that, the article was from 4-5-11!!!!

Dang. 

Sorry.  I saw that link next to a current photo of a slide -  Didn't check the date on the article but took it to be current. 

 

 

Maroon Bowl, a huge natural slide last night. One of the biggest slides you'll see. Look at all the fracture points. #scary

post #12 of 14

Still no final report from CAIC on the Vail Pass incident, but I found this article that has some more details about the slide and the victim:

 

From: http://business.transworld.net/127669/features/memorial-service-for-vail-pass-avalanche-victim-backcountry-legend-mark-mccarron-this-thursday/

 
Here are a few select quotes from the article:

(Mark) McCarron, 38, knew Vail Pass like the back of his hand and engineered his entire year around riding the backcountry according to longtime riding partner Damian Doucette.... McCarron had been riding at Vail Pass all day with friends Josh Wolf and James Brown, taking turns shuttling on a snowmobile, with one guy driving and the other two lapping what is known as Avalanche Bowl for obvious reasons..... The crew and their friends had been riding the same line for five days straight and had taken numerous laps on it last Thursday—this was to be their final run of the day.... “Mark’s been riding out there since the ’90s—everybody looked up to him and wanted to be with him there because he was so cautious,” 

 

They couldn't have know the spot any better, and they had been riding there for five days.  Then, last run of the fifth the day the entire mountain came down on them.  Sobering.

 

My condolences to Mark's family and friends.  I'm sorry I never had the pleasure of meeting him.   

post #13 of 14

Avalanches are sleeping giants.  When they are awaken, there is a mighty roar. 

 

Peace to those who've been touched by this. 

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post

Avalanches are sleeping giants.  When they are awaken, there is a mighty roar. 

 

Peace to those who've been touched by this. 

Almost every advanced chute or bowl in the West is an avalanche chute, because they are. 

 

If you want to see something scary look at a picture of Juneau AK from out in the bay.  There is a LOT of snow above that city and it has fallen down below, which means it will again. A very tough way to reduce the size of government.

 

 

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