Friday, April 2, 2010

Western Montana avalanche deaths

As has been the case most of this winter, the snowpack in Montana continues to be a problem. There is a lot of variability of the snowpack structure and the surface hoar layer we've been dealing with all winter is still there. It looks like this weather pattern might keep adding some big loads to it, be careful.

Two young men have lost their lives this week to avalanches in Western Montana. These are terrible losses to the community, not to mention their families.

Glacier releases details on avalanche that killed backcountry snowboarder Wright

Video from the GNP avalanche site -

Idaho snowmobiler dies in avalanche in mountains west of Superior

From the Missoula Avalanche center avy report: "The accident at Missoula Lake happened Saturday on a sunny day prior to the current storm cycle and involved the buried surface hoar layer we have been describing for several weeks. Lookout and Lolo Pass SNOTEL sites recorded about an inch to an 1.5 inches of SWE respectively and just a few inches of new snow. The weight of the water is what we are concerned about. As far as the area around Hoodoo, which is about 6 miles south of the accident site, 3.7 inches of SWE is HUGE."

Looking uphill from the debris field. Person in the center of the shot is standing where the snowmobile was found. TJ was found about 70 feet uphill from the sled against a small group of trees.
View of the crown. It is possible the fracture initiated from the small group of trees next to the snowmobile track at the top of the path. This is a 35 degree slope overall, steeper at the ridgeline.

No comments: