Avalanche Video

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Kyle Miller recently posted a video on his website: Where Is Kyle Miller? featuring Crystal’s backcountry. While the first six minutes or so showcase lovely powder turns, with face shots clouding the lens, it’s the last few seconds of the video that I find worth watching. The camera captures a rider dropping into a chute off the backside of Crystal and cutting off a large, cohesive slab. Fortunately neither of the riders were caught in the slide, but the debris piling up against the trees at the bottom demonstrates the danger of this slide.

I’ve heard a few skiers calling the backcountry conditions “solid” lately. They are anything but. Huge slab avalanches have occurred in the b.c. around Mt. Hood Meadows, Mt. Baker Ski Area and Crystal Mountain. Avalanche hunters beware.

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3 responses »

  1. I feel very fortunate/lucky that I was able to get out of that slide path unharmed. It was the final run of the day and because we hadn’t seen any stability issues we let our guard down. We felt confident in the slope after ski cutting it but should have known better.

    The scary thing is that it wasn’t the first turn that triggered the slide but rather the second turn midway down the slope.

    Kim is right about the current avalanche conditions and the trend seems to be on slopes of every angle. Reports have come in of slab avalanches with crowns ranging from 6 feet (East Peak) to 23 feet (Shuksan Arm) and have been reported all across the state.

    While I can’t and won’t tell people to stay out of the backcounty please use cation when deciding where to put in a skin track and where to ski out.

    A split second mistake is all it takes.

    • Thanks Kyle for your explanation of the event. It’s so true about the big slides happening out there. I noticed in your video that you mostly stayed in the trees–usually the safest route in higher hazard. But one trip out to an open, wind-loaded slope and bam! We obviously have some deeper layers of instability. Those big slides you mentioned have released on various crusts, probably some buried surface hoar and everything in between. When we get as much snow as we have in recent weeks, it takes time for the snowpack to adjust. In a maritime snowpack such as ours, where weak layers are buried and usually forgotten, we need to remember that any heavy load can overpower the strength of the bond. So glad you made it out okay from this one!

  2. Kim

    I would also like to remind your readers and bc adventurers of how easy it is to die in even small sluffs–just 23 days ago ( 2/29/11 ) an off duty patroller at Meadows nearly died in a very small slide. Read the story at NWAC/Accidents.

You people are amazing. Thanks for commenting.

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