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Revelstoke tragedy

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Up on the Durrand Glacier, 7? dead. Selkirk Mountain Experience www.couloirmag.com www.cbc.ca
post #2 of 14
I am saddened to hear this news. I was skiing in the area just last week. A couple of avalanches had occurred in the adjacent mountains but none affecting our groups. I wonder if the party was guided or on their own? It sounds like the group was just renting the aircraft.
post #3 of 14
As with all incidents of this type, they are tragic.

As far as I can figure out, it appears that there was no local guide in the group. They chartered the helicopter from one of the operators, and were using their lodge as a base for a week of back country skiing.
post #4 of 14
Although the CSAC reportalso does not indicate whether there was a guide with the group or not several reports point to Selkirk Mountain Experience as being the charter involved. The SME lodge also happens to house 20 people - the size of the group.

Being an el Nino year the snow pack in BC is fairly light this year (see the thread regarding snow report for Fernie). Light snow years seem to produce unstable snowpacks (gross generalization), at least in BC. Two years ago was also an el Nino and the BC snowpack was also unstable.
post #5 of 14
It was the SME standard two groups of 10 skiers each led by some combination of Ruedi and his certified mountain guides. (Earlier reports that they were heli skiing and/or unguided are incorrect.)
Although Ruedi has his detractors, everyone agrees that his avy assessment skills are unsurpassed, and ditto for his knowledge of the terrain in that area. Therefore, this is quite the shocker (and entirely unlike, for example, those morons in Tucks in December, or that idiot in Utah recently.)
post #6 of 14
This is vary sad news My prayers go out to the Family and friends of those who died in this Avalanch.
post #7 of 14
Very, very sad. I was up skiing the Durrand Glacier with SME 2 weeks ago. What a beautiful, professional operation. Each Saturday, a group of 20 skiers is helicoptered in for the entire week. Each group is then helicoptered out the next Sat AM as the next group is brought in. 2 groups of ten skiers are guided for the entire week. Ruedi Beglinger leads one group and either Ken or Darci (guides) lead the other. The first trip out on Sat AM is always Avy and beacon training. No one is allowed to ski without a guide.

The snowpack was unstable a portion of the time I was there. We skied exclusively tree runs during this time. As the snowpack improved we climbed and skied some faces although we were not able to access the glaciers. I was in awe of Ruedi's professionalism and knowledge as he would give a briefing on snow conditions every morning as a prelude to our tour. We climbed 5,000 ft/day, skied some of the sweetest powder runs of our lives and we enjoyed every minute of it.

I think we were cognizant of the fact that we were in a remote area, however we were skiing with one of the most experienced guides in the world. Ruedi was extremely conservative and cautious. In 15 + years of guiding, I do not believe there has every been a casualty at the Durrand Glacier. I can only imagine that this slide was huge and completely freakish in nature. We always skinned on steep slopes with plenty of spacing. My heart is heavy for the families, victims, and the SME family as well. I have not met a warmer, more gracious, humble, and genuine group of people in my life.
post #8 of 14
Very, very sad. I was up skiing on the Durrand Glacier with SME earlier this season as well. I can't say enough good things about the operation.
post #9 of 14
I guess we all know that nature decides what will be, no matter how well we plan and take precautions. CMH has had 8 avalanche accidents in over 35 years of operation, in which 23 people have died. This statistic covers 99,000 skier-weeks (mutliplied by +/- 7 to get the skier days).

My condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
post #10 of 14
Unfortunately, one of the vicitms in this accident was Craig Kelly. He was one of the revolutionaries of snowboarding and was a former world champion several times over. As much as some people around here hate snowboarders, he was an example of what that sport is truely all about. He worked closely with Burton to make snowboarding a mainstream sport. He was a guide with the group. R.I.P

[ January 21, 2003, 01:54 PM: Message edited by: crew cut ]
post #11 of 14
Craig Kelly will be missed. One of the first guys I saw rip it up on a board
post #12 of 14
post #13 of 14
God rest their souls and comfort their families and friends. Hopefully, none suffered for too long.

Many years ago I did my first CMH trip two weeks after they lost nine (if my memory serves me right) in one accident. I remember they had us doing a particular face one at a time. As the last two of us stood at the top waiting our turn, for some reason we could hear one of our transcievers beeping. We just silently looked at each other with the sobering realization, this was for real.
post #14 of 14
My heart goes out to all of thier families and those that know them. As I was watching the news and they said that the boarder was a pro and the one from Nelson a chill started to go over me as a knew that the name dropped would be a name that I knew.
You have one of the most catious guides with you on a 3/5 avy risk day and it still comes down to a roll of the dice. I hope that the feds will start putting money into avy research and warning.
A sad day but with an el'nimo year I think that this won't be the last.
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