Avalanche - Colorado - West Willow drainage, Snowmass sidecountry
No beacon and traveling solo....:confused: Lets play it smart boys....
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.
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.
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.
The skier self rescued.
The buried skier carried no avalanche beacon, shovel, or probe.
This dude is about the luckiest son of a bitch I've heard of...
Geez. Lot of activity lately. :eek:
Glad the guy made it out okay.
As far as the no beacon thing, if you're traveling solo in the backcountry, the beacon is basically just going to make the body recovery easier.
But, in the case of sidecountry, he should've been carrying gear and teamed up with some others hitting the slopes.
Holy Crap! I am with Killclimbz what a lucky SOB. Could have been much worse.
We are on the tail end of a pretty big avalanche cycle that started MLK Monday when the snowboarder was killed at Berthoud. Add to the fact that we still have some deep slab instabilities lurking out there, it has been an interesting and scary year to say the least.
I didn't post this incident up because of the fact that he got super lucky. 99 times out of 100 he would of needed a rescue or would have been dead. Again, he is a lucky son of a bitch for being a complete idiot. No terrain management, avy sense, or anything. Yet Jeff, who was trying to stay off of avalanche slopes gets killed and this jackass gets away unscathed...
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