30 Oct 2012

From the Gallatin National Forest Service A reminder that with thin snow pack avalanches , if you are taken for a ride over rocks it is going to inflict some damage.

Temperature at 2260 meters this morning as of 06:30 was -2, at 1860 meters it was -1. Possibility of some breaks in the weather today.

Practical risk assessment and decision making in Avalanche Terrain: Swiss Tools & Concepts

Article by Pascal Haegeli on Balloon Packs in the Canadian Professional Avalanche Community, this topic is important as some people may be expected to wear them in the future: Air Bags

Long line rescue program through SAR groups shut down: SAR teams left hanging

From Unofficial networks, story about an avalanche in the Andes: Grant Gary

From the Gallatin National Forest Service: Photos of Bridger Range Avalanche

Manaslu Final Update

Such a sad season on the world’s 8th highest peak. The death toll is now 12 from the September 23 avalanche. One more died in the hospital.
The avalanche was caused by a large serac releasing above Camp 3 at 7,400m. This triggered a slab avalanche which hit Camp 3 directly and impacted Camp 2 with a severe wind blast. It appears that many of the 12 killed were in their tents, most sleeping, at Camp 3 around 4:45AM Sunday September 23, 2012 Nepal time.
The avalanche debris was spread from 7,400m to 6,300m. Rescue efforts started immediately with teams climbing up from Camps 1 and 2. Russell Brice reports on his recent blog post that he became a defacto rescue co-coordinator and called Kathmandu for helicopter assistance. A B3 high altitude helicopter from Simrik Air arrived at 9:45 and began evacuation of the injured climbers. There were 18 total flights that day with 14 evacuations. 31 people were caught in the avalanche. 8 bodies were recovered and 3 are listed as missing and presumed dead.
The severity of the avalanche was driven by heavy snow the previous week, some reports put the snow depth at 6 feet of fresh powder.
Almost all the teams left feeling it was not a good year to climb Manaslu. But a few teams remained on the mountain after the avalanche and their efforts payed off with summits from Himex (20) and Altitude Junkies (15) and a couple others. One of the most impressive summits however was by Benedikt Böhm who climbed alone to the summit and skied back without supplemental O’s. EpicTv has a nice story on his achievement.