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Old 12-06-2010, 04:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 1 dead, 1 injured in Loveland pass avalanche.

I know this is a bit of old news for some of us. Couldn't manage to find a thread anywhere on this particular site yet. For anyone that hasn't yet heard:

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Originally Posted by thedenverchannel.com
CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. -- A large avalanche killed one backcountry skier and injured another near Loveland Pass Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

The skier who died was identified as Kyle Shellberg, 32, of Golden, according to the Clear Creek County Sheriff's Office. The skier who survived, Justin Latici, 31, also of Golden, had minor leg injuries.

The two men were skiing about 1 p.m. in the popular Dry Gulch backcountry area north of Interstate 70 when they apparently triggered an avalanche that was about 500 feet wide, 15 feet deep and 600 feet long, said Bill Barwick of the Alpine Rescue Team.

Despite a leg injury, Latici was able to dig out his buried friend and attempted CPR for 45 minutes on Shellberg, Barwick said.

7NEWS Reporter Jaclyn Allen spoke to the first person to arrive in the avalanche's aftermath.

Dr. Rick Abbott said he was skiing, saw avalanche debris and stopped to take a cell phone photo.

Then he heard someone yelling for help. It was about an hour after the slide.

Abbott, a Boulder emergency room doctor, located Latici and Shellberg. The survivor told him he found Shellberg with an avalanche beacon, dug him out and gave him CPR until he was exhausted.

Abbott said he confirmed that Shellberg was dead. The doctor then skied until he got cell phone reception to call for help.

Abbott said Latici told him the pair knew it was a potentially unstable slope and took precautions. Skiing down one-at-a-time, Latici said the men tried to pick a safe route and avoid slide paths, Abbott recounted.

"They were quite aware of the danger, and it sounded like they knew what they were doing -- more so than I would have," Abbott said.

Barwick agreed that the men had proper avalanche safety equipment, including probe poles, shovels and avalanche beacons.

"They were doing everything they could possibly do to avoid having a problem," he said. "Even when you are prepared you can still get hurt."

While there was moderate avalanche danger predicted for the area Sunday, Barwcik stressed that "the report says triggered slides are possible…You put yourself in the wrong place at the right time, (an avalanche is) entirely possible."

This isn't the first avalanche fatality in the Dry Gulch area.

In February 2003, a mountain climber was killed by an avalanche there. His partner survived.

Shellberg is the second avalanche fatality in Colorado this season.

Less than two weeks ago, an avalanche killed the Wolf Creek Ski Area's ski patrol director as he was doing morning slide-mitigation work.
Definitely sucks. Everything I have heard is that they knew what they were doing, too. The guy that passed away was on ski patrol at Loveland also.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That's sobering, these guys knew their stuff...
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for posting it up. I have a few friends that knew Kyle. This one hits close to home no doubt. It's still early season out there and as evidenced by this slide things can go big. Even with low avy danger, if you hit that sweet spot it can be disastrous in a second.

I am not all that familiar with Dry Gulch, so I can't really comment on the terrain they were riding. The Video posted on the KMGH article is from one of my frequent BC partners Tom.
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Old 12-06-2010, 05:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Terrible to hear but that's the risk we take to do something we love.
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Ouch. That sucks. It's always unfortunate to hear of an avalanche injury or fatality, but it especially sucks when it's people who have done their due diligence. There are a ton of idiots out there, especially on Loveland Pass, so I assumed it was one of the uninfolast- not that it would necessarily make the situation any better. Just goes to show that bad things can happen to anyone, regardless of knowledge and experience. Any bad decision in the BC can be your last. What's even crazier is that there hasn't been any recent snow. The vast majority of avalanches that catch people come on the heels of a recent significant snowfall.

God speed to the deceased. At the very least at least his friends and family know he went doing something he loved. Many live being afraid to die, but the one who live well live life to the fullest.

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Old 12-07-2010, 03:06 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Damn that's awful, 2 patrollers are the first fatalities. My heart goes out to the family and friends of those men who gave so much to the mountains they loved. Rest in piece brothers.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The trail for Dry Gulch as right at the bottom of the Loveland Pass exit on the North Side. You'll see people skinning above the highway on occasion. It is definitely not the shit show that you see on Loveland Pass proper. Pretty much anyone going back to Dry Gulch has to have some sort of touring gear. 80-90% of your Loveland pass riders are just booting around up there. Which in reality is about the most effective way to get around on LL pass. I rarely skin anything when I do ride there. That is the main reason it's so popular.

Anyway, your average Dry Gulch rider is going to be a lot more knowledgeable than your LL pass rider. There are evidently some very serious terrain traps back there, that might not be that obvious until you are right in the middle of them. Plus the snow pack is thin. Though it was stabilized quite a bit, you still have those weak spots. They are probably easier to have propagate right now than say in late March.

RIP Kyle.
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:16 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My condolences to the family and friends of these two. Real tragedy this early in the season.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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RIP, fellow lovers of powder, RIP
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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RIP.

My prayers go out to the family.
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