Avalanche death on Mt. Washington NH

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by LiquidFeet, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. LiquidFeet

    LiquidFeet Out on the slopes Instructor

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    Yesterday a man died in an avalanche in Ramond Cataract near Tuckerman Ravine. Raymond Cataract is located northeast of Tuckerman Ravine and is between it and Huntington Ravine.

    Longtime Mount Washington Valley climbing guide Rick Wilcox:
    "Raymond Cataract is a very narrow ravine, he said. Historically, it does not have avalanches “unless we have a major snow year like this year.”
    In most years, Raymond Cataract sees few skiers, he said. Most trek up Tuckerman Ravine or Huntington Ravine, said Wilcox, “but with snow like they have this year, people are skiing lots of places we don’t normally ski.”

    Tuckerman Ravine on the left, Huntington Ravine on the right, Raymond Cataract in the middle
    [​IMG]

    https://www.wmur.com/article/fatal-avalanche-tuckerman-ravine/27117823
    https://www.unionleader.com/news/en...cle_9adae2ad-7f7e-5ab0-80ca-5841aa82def5.html
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  2. skix

    skix Getting on the lift Skier

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    What struck me about the report is it was such a tiny avalanche compared to the ones that have caused deaths out west. Only 75 feet wide. Looking at the photo though it's clear any slide down that chute would have a possibility of being fatal.

    https://www.boston.com/news/skiing/2019/04/12/skier-killed-mount-washington-avalanche

    Evan Burks, public affairs officer for the White Mountains National Forest, told Boston.com it is believed that the incident was a human-triggered avalanche in the Raymond Cataract area. ... According to Burks, the man was discovered about one meter under the surface. The avalanche was about 75 feet wide, he said.

    R.I.P.
     
  3. raisingarizona

    raisingarizona Getting off the lift Skier

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    75 feet is still a pretty big rug to get yanked out from under your feet. Most of the east coast, alpine terrain has all kinds of exposure below it so Small, steep pockets can be very deadly.

    Edit: I just read that article......Fook. Poor guy was buried from 1.5 to 2 hours and was still breathing when they got to him. That’s absolutely terrifying and an awful way to go.

    I hope the group that reported the incident made an effort to try and find someone.

    RIP and shred the sky.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
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  4. karlo

    karlo Out on the slopes Skier

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    Would love to read a avy report.
     
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  5. Tricia

    Tricia The Velvet Hammer Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    25th avalanche death this season :(
     


  6. raisingarizona

    raisingarizona Getting off the lift Skier

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    For sure. I really want to know how the reporting party handled the situation. They must have not had any beacons?
     
  7. nemesis256

    nemesis256 Patrick Skier

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    That actually sounds very wide. I've never been in that area but I would guess that's the width of the crown. In the Northeast terrain traps are what will hurt or kill you. Airbags aren't very common here for that reason. These videos from the lead snow ranger gives you an idea of where it happened.


    For an idea of a pretty massive avalanche that's possible in the area, take a look at this:
    https://mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org/mwac-observations/entry/1586/

    He did have a beacon. That's maybe how they found him, but the rangers also did have their dog with them. I've read this was the first time ever that someone on Mt Washington was fully buried while wearing a beacon.
     
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  8. raisingarizona

    raisingarizona Getting off the lift Skier

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    I read there was a group that reported the slide . I was wondering how that group reacted and if they tried to find the victim. My post does clearly point that out.
     
  9. nemesis256

    nemesis256 Patrick Skier

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    Oh sorry, misread your post, thought you were referring to the person buried.

    I heard someone was hiking/skinning up and saw the slide or result of it from one small section of trail you can see that part of the mountain. This person alerted the rangers at the caretaker's cabin and I think they went out there "as a precaution".

    Edit: here it is, from today's avalanche forecast. "A skier on the Tuckerman Ravine trail reported seeing the crown to avalanche center employees who then responded to the scene. "
     
  10. raisingarizona

    raisingarizona Getting off the lift Skier

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    Oh ok. Then that makes sense.
     
  11. x10003q

    x10003q Getting off the lift Skier

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    elemmac, LiquidFeet and skix like this.
  12. skix

    skix Getting on the lift Skier

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    That was indeed an excellent report. Thank you for the link. Sadly, one of his touring partners that day was friends with the victim of the Raymond Cataract avalanche.

    Benny was worried it was a friend of his who hadn’t checked in yet and was suspected of touring in the area of the incident. Then, after 10 PM, I receive a text from Benny. With a heavy heart we learned the victim was indeed his friend. ​
     
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  13. nemesis256

    nemesis256 Patrick Skier

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    The author of that post was one of my instructors in the AIARE 1 class I took about a month ago. Pretty cool guy, really passionate about snow and avalanches and teaching it to others. He also had a close call 2 months ago where he was carried but not buried. Pretty crazy.
     
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  14. EBG18T

    EBG18T Eric Skier

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  15. nemesis256

    nemesis256 Patrick Skier

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  16. onstar1

    onstar1 Booting up Skier

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    Is the the North East less prone to avalanches?
     
  17. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

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    The North East is dominated by OLD mountains with rounded features and few extended steeps.

    Mount Washington is our exception. The East side is everything that can produce snow hazards.
    Corice, slide prone (Gulf of Slides) and crevasse.

    So NO, It is the West that has the avalanches, but......stuff happens
     
  18. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator Team Gathermeister

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    Yes... smaller mountains, less slopes of the right steepness, less very high snow totals to pile up, heavier more consolidated snow with rain events in between... I'd imagine these all contribute to less avalanches. I can't find stats on avalanche numbers, but if you look at avalanche deaths you can see it :

    [​IMG]

    Ideally you'd take those number and normalize them against how many people use the mountains. But I'd guess the northeast has plenty of users. I'm a little surprised that Oregon is so low.
     
  19. CalG

    CalG Out on the slopes Skier

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    Data prior to the "back country movement" perhaps,
     
  20. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    Plus when and where in the northeast do you get 2-3 ft wind slab?
     

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