2019 avalanche fatality during Level 2 avy course

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RichH
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Re: 2019 avalanche fatality during Level 2 avy course

Post by RichH » Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:55 am

Somewhat of a Prick wrote:That will be a hefty lawsuit
I assume the person signed a waiver so unless they can prove negligance it might be hard to win.

This is a terrible trajedy but it isn't clear anyone is at fault.
Rich
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kingshimmers
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Re: 2019 avalanche fatality during Level 2 avy course

Post by kingshimmers » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:24 am

zackrobinson2 wrote:This reminds me a bit of the 2013 Loveland Pass slide that killed six experienced people with extensive avy knowledge. While I do think advanced avalanche courses are a good idea for people who travel in avy terrain, it is undeniable that such courses also make people more confident and lead to them taking risks they would not have taken without such knowledge.

I do believe the CAIC forecast for that day was "considerable," which is statistically the most deadly forecast level.

Edit: I just did some research and saw that the 2013 Loveland Pass slide was also on a "considerable" day. To me, these are the sorts of conditions where advanced avy knowledge can put someone into a dangerous situation. Less experienced people are more likely to just stay home.
Have you read Lou Dawsons site visit report form the 2013 Loveland Pass Slide (https://www.wildsnow.com/9980/sheep-cre ... ite-visit/)? I feel he does a very good job respectfully addressing both the environmental and potential human factors that contributed to that incident. I don't have any information on Saturday's accident and don't want to start a speculation-based debate, but I'd caution comparing these two.

My condolences to all involved in this accident.
"Be the beta you wish to find."
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Re: 2019 avalanche fatality during Level 2 avy course

Post by zackrobinson2 » Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:29 am

kingshimmers wrote:
zackrobinson2 wrote:This reminds me a bit of the 2013 Loveland Pass slide that killed six experienced people with extensive avy knowledge. While I do think advanced avalanche courses are a good idea for people who travel in avy terrain, it is undeniable that such courses also make people more confident and lead to them taking risks they would not have taken without such knowledge.

I do believe the CAIC forecast for that day was "considerable," which is statistically the most deadly forecast level.

Edit: I just did some research and saw that the 2013 Loveland Pass slide was also on a "considerable" day. To me, these are the sorts of conditions where advanced avy knowledge can put someone into a dangerous situation. Less experienced people are more likely to just stay home.
Have you read Lou Dawsons site visit report form the 2013 Loveland Pass Slide (https://www.wildsnow.com/9980/sheep-cre ... ite-visit/)? I feel he does a very good job respectfully addressing both the environmental and potential human factors that contributed to that incident. I don't have any information on Saturday's accident and don't want to start a speculation-based debate, but I'd caution comparing these two.

My condolences to all involved in this accident.
I have actually read it. There were significant lapses in judgment in the 2013 slide. When I first made the post here, I was confused about whether the incident occured on Saturday or Sunday, and the avy forecast was different on those two days. An above poster clarified that it was on Saturday, the forecast was moderate and the slope aspect was south. All of that adds up to, at least on paper, a pretty reasonable situation. So I agree, all of the big red flags from 2013 don't seem to be present here.
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Re: 2019 avalanche fatality during Level 2 avy course

Post by zackrobinson2 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:34 pm

The CAIC released their report on the incident. It's a worthwhile read: https://avalanche.state.co.us/caic/acc/ ... iew=public

There were a few things of note:

1. The regional avy forecast had been "considerable" from Dec 26-Jan 4. This incident happened on Jan 5, when the forecast was moderate.

2. The report emphasizes the importance of considering not just the regional forecast avalanche danger ratings, but also the summary and avalanche problems. On Jan 5, the summary stated:

Snow safety team triggered large avalanche breaking to the ground yesterday, and forecasters reported worrisome snowpack test results along the US 550 corridor. This provides clear evidence that you can trigger an avalanche breaking on buried weak layer today. You can trigger avalanches from the bottom of the slope, from adjacent slopes, or from a distance. Cracking, collapsing, and recent avalanches are all signs of a dangerous snowpack. The most dangerous slopes are steeper than around 35 degrees, face west to north through southeast.

The incident occurred very near US 550, and while the team thought they were on a ~29 degree slope, the CAIC investigators measured it at being around 34 degrees.

3. Rescue attempts were started immediately, and while it isn't clear from the report how long it took to get the airway clear, it took 50 minutes to get the victim's body out of the snow due to the large amount of snow over his limbs. The report does indicate that the airway was cleared prior to that, and they first reached the victim (uncovered his backpack) after about 25 minutes. It's probably noteworthy that the nearest person, and the first person to start the search, was the instructor.

4. The victim had an avy airbag on, but it was not deployed. It was tested and was working correctly. The instructor also had an avy airbag on, and while he had pulled the trigger, it didn't function correctly. He later determined that he had installed the trigger mechanism incorrectly.
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Nelson
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Re: 2019 avalanche fatality during Level 2 avy course

Post by Nelson » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:53 pm

Interestingly, sadly, there was a bad accident in Lech am Arlberg on this past Saturday. 4 experienced well equipped skiers died. All had airbags, all airbags deployed, all died.

Draw your own conclusions.

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Re: 2019 avalanche fatality during Level 2 avy course

Post by peter303 » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:07 pm

Another article that sounds like it might have been based on the CAIC report:

https://coloradosun.com/2019/01/16/aval ... ll-report/

The article mentions two avalanches in quick succession, a situation I havent really thought about.
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Re: 2019 avalanche fatality during Level 2 avy course

Post by Buckie06 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:49 am

peter303 wrote:Another article that sounds like it might have been based on the CAIC report:

https://coloradosun.com/2019/01/16/aval ... ll-report/

The article mentions two avalanches in quick succession, a situation I havent really thought about.
Certain avy beacons now have an "Auto Revert to Send Mode" feature. If you're in Search mode trying to find your friend and a second avalanche hits you & burries you, the beacon switches to Send mode after x minutes of no movement. This way you won't be burried in the second avalanche with your beacon on Search mode and people unable to find you.
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Re: 2019 avalanche fatality during Level 2 avy course

Post by SkaredShtles » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:57 am

peter303 wrote:Another article that sounds like it might have been based on the CAIC report:

https://coloradosun.com/2019/01/16/aval ... ll-report/

The article mentions two avalanches in quick succession, a situation I havent really thought about.
Sympathetic releases are not terribly rare. It's always good to keep it in mind...
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