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Boarder killed at Mt. Hood Meadows

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Authorities aren't releasing any details as of yet...

A boarder was killed today, at about 12:30, at Meadows. Other than that, they would only confirm that the boarder (gender not released) wasn't a local.
post #2 of 13
http://www.ktvz.com/Global/story.asp?S=7550077

Quote:
Chief Deputy Jerry Brown told The Oregonian that the death was an accident that did not involve a collision.


Weird, I wonder what happened.
post #3 of 13
http://www.katu.com/news/local/12871547.html
Quote:
Investigators said the man fell in a snow well at the base of a pole under a chairlift face first. Friends tried to pull him out of the well, authorities said, but he suffocated.


Man, that sucks. These type of accidents seem to be getting more and more common, although I'll admit this is the first I've heard of a chairlift well. I'm trying to think of what lift at meadows could have had that much uncompressed snow piled around it.
post #4 of 13
So sad. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post
http://www.katu.com/news/local/12871547.html


Man, that sucks. These type of accidents seem to be getting more and more common, although I'll admit this is the first I've heard of a chairlift well. I'm trying to think of what lift at meadows could have had that much uncompressed snow piled around it.
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The article seems to have said it was a tree well. Maybe it got edited after they got more info?

Quote:
Investigators said McConeghy fell face first into a snow well at the base of a tree. Ski Patrol members and friends of McConeghy tried to pull him out of the well, authorities said, but he suffocated.
CPR efforts went on for more than an hour before he was pronounced dead at the scene. A medical examiner said McConeghy suffered no broken bones or visible signs of trauma.
The Hood River Sheriff's Office said McConeghy made a small jump near the end a run and then fell head first into the deep powder snow in the tree well.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by num View Post
The article seems to have said it was a tree well. Maybe it got edited after they got more info?
Ah, yeah, they must have updated it, a tree well does make much more sense than a chairlift well.

Very sad indeed, and with the Revelstoke death, this makes 2 tree well deaths in the past week. Be careful out there everyone.
post #7 of 13
Do they make any kind of device that protects you from this??

My son likes to ski in the trees, the thought of this scares me to death.
post #8 of 13
This information was developed by the NW Avalanche Institute, Mt. Baker Ski Area, Crystal Mountain and Dr. Robert Cadman:http://www.treewelldeepsnowsafety.com/index.html
It's worth reading. Tree-well issues are most common with evergreen trees and deep snow off-trail or at the sides of trails.

In the PNW, tree-well incidences are not that uncommon and self-extracation is mostly unsuccessful since the victim usually goes in head first. The article points out that absent a air pocket, a person can die in a tree well about as quickly as a non-swimmer can drown.

There are artificial breathing devices such as the ava-lung. However, since self-extracation is mostly unsuccesful, using such a device may still not help much unless the victim is found fairly quickly.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
Do they make any kind of device that protects you from this??

My son likes to ski in the trees, the thought of this scares me to death.
A full face helmet can help protect against suffocation and impact in the trees, plus teenagers dig it .

Michael
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by pattongb View Post
Do they make any kind of device that protects you from this??

My son likes to ski in the trees, the thought of this scares me to death.
I had a bad experience in a tree well a few years ago. Was skiing with partners, beacon and avy gear. I got pitched into a well with my head lower than my hips and legs and the soft crystalline snow immediately filled my mouth and nose. It was as effective as putting a plastic bag tightly over your head. Of course with exertion and altitude the effect is immediate and panic inducing. I was fortunate to be able to clear a breathing space, but purchased a avalung shortly afterward (Black Diamond Covert backpack with avalung).

The snowboarder died in less than 15 minutes while being extricated. He did everything right skiing with partners, and was not killed by trauma. If he had an avalung in posiiton, the outcome would very likely have been different. If his tragic death can serve as a learning experience to save others, it is not in vain. Understand the hidden hazard of tree wells and deep unconsolidated snow. You can be immersed in deep snow from a fall in a drift, tree well, slough or slide. Take the simple precautions of skiing with partners and remember that an avalung is not just for avalanches.
post #11 of 13
Cirquerider, interesting comments. Glad you are still here. Apparently, the Avalung has allowed a user to survive up to 45 minutes in real life situations and up to an hour in tests. The key is for the person to have the breathing tube in their mouth before they are covered in snow since a person may well not be able to move at all once immersed.

Absent trauma, if the outright inability to breathe is not the danger, then Co2 poisoning becomes the greatest immediate threat to survival. The Avalung helps dissipate deadly Co2 (for maybe up to an hour, anyway) and helps the person avoid outright suffocation assuming the tube is in the person's mouth.

Among other information on the Internet about Avalung, I found this: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-gear.htm
post #12 of 13
The death of a Snowrider is always a wake up call. Vertigo also comes into play in these situations, at least for me. Yesterday I took a double ejection late in the day in the trees and when I tried to stand up the Snow was chest deep on a steep hill. Felt alittle uneasy at that moment. Had two friends on the next ridge watching. Believe in the buddy system.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostboy View Post
Cirquerider, interesting comments. Glad you are still here. Apparently, the Avalung has allowed a user to survive up to 45 minutes in real life situations and up to an hour in tests. The key is for the person to have the breathing tube in their mouth before they are covered in snow since a person may well not be able to move at all once immersed.

Absent trauma, if the outright inability to breathe is not the danger, then Co2 poisoning becomes the greatest immediate threat to survival. The Avalung helps dissipate deadly Co2 (for maybe up to an hour, anyway) and helps the person avoid outright suffocation assuming the tube is in the person's mouth.

Among other information on the Internet about Avalung, I found this: http://www.avalanche.org/~uac/ed-gear.htm
Not to detract from the tragedy of the loss, but what you say is true for avalanche immersion, but not necessarily for tree wells or unconsolidated snow immersion. Based on my experience, cold unconsolidated snow may look airy but is just like being submerged in water. It fills every breathing opening and no breath is possible, but movement is. If you can avoid panic and if the breathing tube is accessible, IMO you could effectively use it even though it was not in position before immersion. The challenge in that case is to eject the snow plug if you inhaled one. In a conventional avalanche movement may be impossible when the slide stops because snow heats up from friction and movement. Tree wells and unconsolidated snow are completely different in that you can move, but pushing snow away from your face is almost futile becuse it just fills back in. It doesn't pack, which is just the opposite of slides. I have no statistics, but I don't think most tree well deaths are CO2 poisoning but direct suffocation.

Slider, you are right about the wake up call. The backcountry should be completely avoided currently with the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (NWAC) declaring a high avalanche danger. When I had my incident I reported it to the Sierra Avalanche Center, and they added a tree well advisory to the forecast. Probably should be done by NWAC as well.

Quote:
OLYMPICS, MT HOOD AREA, WASHINGTON CASCADES NEAR AND WEST OF THE CREST- ...AVALANCHE WARNING FOR SUNDAY...
High avalanche danger below 7000 feet Sunday, with greatest danger on southeast through northeast exposures. Slowly decreasing danger expected later Sunday night and early Monday becoming high above 5 to 6000 feet and considerable below. Further gradually decreasing danger on Monday, becoming considerable below 7000 feet.
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