Results 1 to 13 of 13
02-21-2005, 09:36 PM #1
Granite Canyon (Jackson Hole) slide 2-21-05
By Michael Pearlman and Rebecca Huntington
JACKSON HOLE DAILY
A helicopter plucked an injured skier from Granite Canyon on Monday after an avalanche swept him 2,000 feet down a popular out-of-bounds couloir adjacent to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Jackson resident Eric Rohr triggered the slide near the top of Mile Long Couloir, a north-facing chute in Grand Teton National Park, which skiers access from the resort. Rohr, who was said to be in his 30s, was at St. John's Medical Center on Monday night.
Rohr was with four other skiers, who planned to carve turns down the more than 2,000-foot couloir, which is pocked with rocks, according to park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs.
Rohr was the first skier down the run and cut off a small slab as he entered the top of the couloir, Skaggs said Monday. He then traversed to the left side of the couloir, made two turns and triggered the slide, she said. About halfway down the couloir, he tumbled over a rock band, she said. He injured his leg and may have sustained other injuries, according to officials, who declined to give more details.
Rohr, who came to rest just 500 feet above Granite Creek, was not buried. A soft slab of snow measuring 15 to 20 inches deep at the crown of the slide released on a slick sun crust, Skaggs said.
Another skier, Ethan Valenstein, who was not with Rohr's party, saw the avalanche and called resort ski patrol. Five ski patrollers responded and alerted the National Park Service at 12:22 p.m.
While ski patrollers stabilized Rohr, a chopper carried two park rescue rangers to the scene.
The Teton County contract helicopter landed near Rohr, who was lowered on a backboard with climbing ropes to the chopper. He was flown to Teton Village and then taken by ambulance to St. John's Medical Center.
Bridger Teton National Forest avalanche forecasters rated the danger as "considerable" at high elevations Monday, meaning dangerous slabs existed and human-triggered slides were probable at elevations above 9,000 feet. Mile Long Couloir starts at roughly 9,600 feet.
"Current strong winds are moving new snow and building easily released slabs to eighteen inches in depth at the upper elevations," stated Monday's avalanche advisory. "Once triggered these slides could pull out deeper slabs from early February snows that lie upon hard slick crusts."
Avalanche forecaster Jim Springer, who wrote Monday's advisory, said that he wasn't surprised by the slide. Winds at 10,400 feet averaged 21 miles per hour out of the southwest, with gusts to 49 mph, which may have created additional loading on slopes.
"[The slide] pretty much cleaned out the couloir," said Springer. "Patrollers had no worries descending because they were on the bed surface of the slide."
Mountain resort ski patrollers triggered numerous avalanches during snow control work Monday morning, with slides releasing in Casper Bowl, the cliffs above Laramie Bowl and the Expert Chutes and other areas. According to Springer, all the slides ran on a well-developed sun crust, which formed before 2 feet of new snow fell over the past 10 days.
02-22-2005, 11:05 AM #2Registered User
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
i was 2 peeps behind him on the bootpack, but i was on my way to the headwall then work. As i was clinkin in i was thinkin damn Granite would be nice today, wish i had the time. Coulda been me.
02-22-2005, 08:40 PM #3
Wow, ultra sketch. A very lucky dude.
Hard to sneak safely into Mile long. At least endless has many trees on the left side.
What "rock band" did he go over? the nose between endless and mile long??
Bummer about that sun crust - it was there when I was there, when there was no snow falling for weeks.
Glad its snowing again, but how long til the snowpack heals?
Be careful out there.
At least his heli rescue was free (National Park). Not so for South of JH (National Forest).
02-22-2005, 08:57 PM #4
that is a long way to be flushed.
just for comformation is mile long skiers right of endless, or is it the other way around?
02-22-2005, 08:59 PM #5
I dunno what rock band. I'd assume somewhere about the same elevation as the crux of endless. The snowpack has definitely gotten touchier with each small storm since we were high and dry for three weeks. Sunday a snowboarder got swept over a 60 footer at the base of Glory and onto "the westbound lane of hwy 22." He was buried but rescued by passing motorists. As the paper put it, his dog "took a more conservative line" and was OK. This morning there was a big natural release in Cody beneath Four Shadows. By midafternoon everything in Cody was hammered anyway.
None of us were there to know for sure, but this quote got me thinking:
"Rohr was the first skier down the run and cut off a small slab as he entered the top of the couloir ... He then traversed to the left side of the couloir, made two turns and triggered the slide."
If you break something loose on your initial ski cut, is that always a sign to get the hell out, or might you think "Gee, that wasn't so big. Looks safe to me?"
02-22-2005, 09:08 PM #6Originally Posted by The Suit
with ski cuts you run the risk of something like that happening (slough or a small slab stepping down) that makes little things a lot less managable. usually you have an idea where your weak layers are and if they can step down on you. i don't know what actually went on here as far as slab size and snowpack knowlege goes but when i slope cut i usually let the sloughs and especially slabs run their course. that is the purpose of ski cutting. he may have just thought that he was going to ski some small windslab slough down. it is always a suprise when one steps down, even if you know it has the potential to. (by that i mean watching from your safe zone)
02-22-2005, 09:15 PM #7Originally Posted by basom
02-22-2005, 09:19 PM #8Originally Posted by AltaPowderDaze
02-23-2005, 02:29 AM #9
I found it interesting that the park spokesperson said the north facing couloir had a sun crust this time of year. I don't know anything about the slope, but it sounds like a nice shot.
02-23-2005, 05:42 AM #10
we skied it at the summit. that crust was there then. sherpastyle said the crust was from rain.
looking up from 1/4 of the way down.
looking down the bottom third.
(this bottom shot could be airforce 1, it would be the next one over from endless if thats the case. having a memory problem.)
02-23-2005, 08:20 AM #11
We were just there a few days ago and skied the flanking couliors, Airforce and ABC chutes. About half way down you could really feel the hard layer under the new snow. Top of Airforce also slid and took somebody for a ride about 5 days ago. I was hoping to ski Endless to Milelong but it looked pretty skied up so we took a pass - looks like a good decision. I had heard that it slid under the previous warm conditions and refroze with the cooler temps and new snow...stay safe.
02-23-2005, 10:09 AM #12Registered User
Originally Posted by ScottG
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
The slide would head right towards Basoms vantage point then dogleg left, wouldnt it? Or would the dogleg carry him far enough skiers left to put the crux of endless in play. I dunno.
As far as snowpack/terrain: At the very, very top of mile long it gets steeper as you go skiers left
02-23-2005, 02:30 PM #13
I hiked Glory before work that morning. Saw some serious wind loading/slabs on NE aspects I wouldn't have touched Granite or anything N-NE facing that day. We had two days of low density snow with the latest storm coming in wet with really strong winds. We were experiencing collapsing and fracturing just breaking the bootpack up Glory. First turn was pretty sick though. First faceshots I've gotten in a LONG time! I'm trying not to be judgemental about this groups decision, b/c I know Eric is an experienced bc skier and I've heard he is usually pretty safe. I guess its just a difference in opinion of acceptable risk."College degree. Good job. Big house. We all make mistakes..."