27 Dec 2011

Boxing Day brought us some fine powder skiing. Not many controlled avalanches but a few size 2's in the higher start zones with explosives and ski testing. At 06:00 this morning 12 cm of new was recorded at the pig alley weather station, Temperature is -7 at 2280 m  with strong southerly winds. Maximum gusts in the alpine up to 100 KPH. High humidity with strong winds could produce some good size slabs. Click here for:  Avalanche Advisory
In the background is Spearhead Peak, yesterday afternoon on a slope called Dont Swill  a female ski tourer with a party of 7 was involved in a size 2 avalanche which left her ski less. She entered the slope on the usual route and the rest of the party went down the steeper more challenging entrance. She cut out a size 2 which broke out above her and carried her a fair distance down the slope, she went under the snow a few times, lost her skis , kept swimming until she stopped, the avalanche kept running to the bottom of the run out zone. One of her party gave her a cell phone and she was instructed to climb back up the slope and egress the same way she had come. She had to climb over the 30 cm crown line to get to the top of  the shoulder.  Her party resumed skiing and she had a lonely hike out. She came across another group on her way out who gave her a light as the days are short. She kept walking out and came across another ski tourer who gave her words of encouragement and she phoned the patrol once in cellular range to report her predicament. A Blackcomb Patroller caught up with her at the top of the rescue road and gave her a snowmobile ride out the rest of the way. That's a long walk in ski boots?  Perhaps she should find different touring partners, companion rescue means someone is there to help you. In the mountains if something goes wrong someone should stay with the person who is having an issue. Play hard but play safe!!