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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-24-2011, 04:38 PM Thread Starter
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Avalanche - Colorado - West Willow drainage, Snowmass sidecountry

No beacon and traveling solo.... Lets play it smart boys....

Avalanche Comments
At treeline elevations where the incident occurred, the forecast danger was CONSIDERABLE (Level 3) on all aspects. Avalanche danger on the day of the incident had increased to HIGH (Level 4) on slopes facing north, through east, through south above treeline due to recent snow and 36 hours of strong west and northwest winds.

Weather Summary
Sunday the 23rd of January was the first clear day after a storm on the 21st and 22nd. Storm snow totals at the adjacent Snowmass Ski area were 4.5 inches. Strong winds blew from the west and northwest for the 36 hours prior to this incident. Between the 17th and the 20th of January, Snowmass received around 10 inches of snow and a period of strong west and northwest winds as well.

Accident Summary
A solo backcountry skier triggered a soft slab avalanche in the West Willow drainage just outside the boundaries of the Snowmass Ski area. He was caught and fully buried in the avalanche. Another party in the area spotted the fresh avalanche and a moment later noticed this buried skier "pop up" out of the debris.

Rescue Summary
The skier self rescued.

The buried skier carried no avalanche beacon, shovel, or probe.
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