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  1. #1
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    3 dead in Washington Cascades

    Reports are preliminary at this point

    https://nwac.us/
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  2. #2
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    AP Article

    Avalanche in Washington's Cascade Mountains kills 3
    Heavy snowfall and winds are keeping searchers from reaching a remote peak in Washington's Cascade Mountains, where an avalanche killed three people

    SEATTLE -- Heavy snowfall and high winds on Tuesday kept searchers away from a remote, jagged peak in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, where an avalanche killed three climbers from the northeastern U.S. over the weekend.

    The slide struck Sunday as a group of six climbers were ascending a steep, snow-packed gulley on the 8,705-foot (2,653 meters) Colchuck Peak, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) east of Seattle in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Chelan County sheriff's Sgt. Jason Reinfeld said Tuesday.

    Four of the climbers were swept about 500 feet (152 meters) down the slope. One of the four survived, a 56-year-old man from New York, and despite some injuries he was able to confirm that the other three were killed before working his way back to their base camp at Colchuck Lake, Reinfeld said.

    The two members of the climbing party who were not swept away did not immediately descend to base camp, but remained about two-thirds of the way up the gulley — called a couloir — and saw three additional avalanches come down, burying two of the deceased climbers.

    A seventh member of the group, one who remained at base camp rather than participate in Sunday's climb, hiked out to get help — an arduous overnight journey that included a descent of about 4,000 vertical feet (1,219 meters) over 8 miles (12.9 kilometers). He was able to contact the sheriff's office by 8 a.m. Monday to relay what had happened, Reinfeld said.

    A mountain rescue team reached the base camp early that afternoon but decided against venturing above the lake due to the avalanche risk.

    The searchers returned with the surviving climbers on Monday and declined to even attempt to reach the area on Tuesday amid a heavy snowstorm and wind gusts of up to 60 mph (96.6 kmh).

    Members of the Northwest Avalanche Center and mountain rescue crews planned to head back on Wednesday to assess the hazards at the scene, Reinfeld said.

    Those killed were identified as a 53-year-old man from Connecticut, a 60-year-old woman from New York and a 66-year-old man from New Jersey. Reinfeld said the group had some mountaineering experience, but he did not know the extent of it.

    The avalanche was the the deadliest in the U.S. since four backcountry skiers were killed in an avalanche in Utah two years ago.

  3. #3
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    Lots of unanswered questions here, like who were these people and what were they doing there. RIP

  4. #4
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    Really sad to hear. I was up in the same zone-ish (Rock Mtn) on Sat/Sun- lot of fat wind slabs forming up from the storm moving in. The greater than expected precip + high wind on Saturday night helped exacerbate the problem.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahman View Post
    Lots of unanswered questions here, like who were these people and what were they doing there. RIP
    They were 60 something year olds from Jersey. What could possibly go wrong?

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that a "trip of a lifetime" may have had something to do with their decision making on this one. Sort of like weekend warriors that decide to go into unfavorable conditions on Mount Washington in New Hampshire because it's the weekend damnit and they've been wanting to do this for years.
    dirtbag, not a dentist

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_prof View Post
    Really sad to hear. I was up in the same zone-ish (Rock Mtn) on Sat/Sun- lot of fat wind slabs forming up from the storm moving in. The greater than expected precip + high wind on Saturday night helped exacerbate the problem.
    Telemetry supports that. It also looks like they might have gotten sucked into a sucker hole in the weather. High winds early Sunday that dropped to nothing. The Observations from an area north of there on Friday showed several weak layers on top of the potential persistent weak layer problem that seems to be very Spanish Inquisition like in this zone. Avy forecast was yellow for Above Tree Line. I had been planning to go into an area north of there, but went mt biking instead based on the conditions report from the 18th.

    Likely some human factor issues that went against the "climb the conditions not the calendar" mantra.

  7. #7
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    https://www.adn.com/nation-world/202...limbing-party/
    from a New York climbing club. vibes to the family and friends.
    off your knees Louie

  8. #8
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    Think I heard one report that said they had no safety gear. So sad.
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    If I lived in WA, Oft would be my realtor. Seriously.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by oftpiste View Post
    Think I heard one report that said they had no safety gear. So sad.
    Dang. I just finished the most recent edition of "The Snowy Torrents" from '86 to '96 and it's amazing how often no one had safety gear back then. Seems very uncommon now.

    It didn't sound like anyone had an inreach or anything similar, either. That seemed odd to me with such a large group.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenboy View Post
    Dang. I just finished the most recent edition of "The Snowy Torrents" from '86 to '96 and it's amazing how often no one had safety gear back then. Seems very uncommon now.

    It didn't sound like anyone had an inreach or anything similar, either. That seemed odd to me with such a large group.

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    50/50 chance there could have been one on one of the deceased
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by oftpiste View Post
    Think I heard one report that said they had no safety gear. So sad.
    Not clear how the safety gear would have helped. I assume you mean beacon, probe, shovel.
    More important than safety gear, imo, is knowing the snow conditions beforehand and verifying with snow pits. Even though when you climb a couloir, and it releases above you, even snow pits are not very useful.

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  12. #12
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    IMO, not wearing a beacon even when going solo is selfish and shortsighted. I imagine the loss that loved ones will feel is prolonged waiting for the body to melt out in the spring.
    Seeker of Truth. Dispenser of Wisdom. Protector of the Weak. Avenger of Evil.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patarero View Post
    Telemetry supports that. It also looks like they might have gotten sucked into a sucker hole in the weather. High winds early Sunday that dropped to nothing. The Observations from an area north of there on Friday showed several weak layers on top of the potential persistent weak layer problem that seems to be very Spanish Inquisition like in this zone. Avy forecast was yellow for Above Tree Line. I had been planning to go into an area north of there, but went mt biking instead based on the conditions report from the 18th.

    Likely some human factor issues that went against the "climb the conditions not the calendar" mantra.
    Article I read said the danger scale was high alpine, considerable at treeline, moderate lower. I'm not clear on what may have driven them to be in a coulier with those conditions but having traveled across the country to be there, they were probably very determined to do it and probably ignorant to proper assessment. Regardless, RIP to them.

  14. #14
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  15. #15
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    It was high the day after, but that day it was moderate moderate low, with "increasing danger" in the forecast. Nearby stevens was considerable. Still, as others said, not the day for it given snowpack structure

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post
    Not clear how the safety gear would have helped. I assume you mean beacon, probe, shovel.
    I do. Same report said there was still a possibility of more buried victims.
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    If I lived in WA, Oft would be my realtor. Seriously.

  17. #17
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    Such a tragedy. I think that some times people take the NWAC forecasts at face value and it's really not appropriate to do so. The forecast zone is so huge and the weather can be so uncertain, it really is more of a reference of expected conditions than anything. Forecasting moderate vs. considerable can be very hard.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cisco Kid View Post
    IMO, not wearing a beacon even when going solo is selfish and shortsighted. I imagine the loss that loved ones will feel is prolonged waiting for the body to melt out in the spring.
    Meh. I take a beacon with me when I'm solo. But that's in case I come across someone else in need, so it's not always turned on. When I'm solo I'm generally as far away from others as possible because dogs (mine) so having a beacon is unlikely to help me be found before the battery dies anyway. Why does it bother you how others interact (or don't) with their families?
    powdork.com - new and improved, with 20% more dork.

  19. #19
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    Lot at play here with a capital H. RE: Rescue gear. Lots of climbers don't carry a beacon, shovel & probe. Lighter=faster=safer, til its not.

    That Seattle Times article brutally summed it up.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post
    Article I read said the danger scale was high alpine, considerable at treeline, moderate lower. I'm not clear on what may have driven them to be in a coulier with those conditions but having traveled across the country to be there, they were probably very determined to do it and probably ignorant to proper assessment. Regardless, RIP to them.
    Archived avy forecast for the zone: https://nwac.us/avalanche-forecast/#/forecast/8/120025 NWAC forecast for Feb 19th issued at 6pm Feb 18.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patarero View Post
    Archived avy forecast for the zone: https://nwac.us/avalanche-forecast/#/forecast/8/120025 NWAC forecast for Feb 19th issued at 6pm Feb 18.
    Hmm... interesting. The report the Spokesman Review author referenced must have been the Monday forecast rather than the real time forecast for the day of the event. Regardless, it's not an exact science, rather a point of input to take into account for risk assessment.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post
    Not clear how the safety gear would have helped. I assume you mean beacon, probe, shovel.
    More important than safety gear, imo, is knowing the snow conditions beforehand and verifying with snow pits. Even though when you climb a couloir, and it releases above you, even snow pits are not very useful.
    It would not have helped at least two of them. From what I gather from the first story two were known to be dead and the third wasn't, and then three more slides came down and 'potentially' buried the two that were already known to have died from trauma. That says at least two of them were still on the surface after the first slide.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    Why does it bother you how others interact (or don't) with their families?
    It's how families react until the others melt out. Empathy I guess. Needless when it happens.
    Seeker of Truth. Dispenser of Wisdom. Protector of the Weak. Avenger of Evil.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by powdork View Post
    Meh. I take a beacon with me when I'm solo. But that's in case I come across someone else in need, so it's not always turned on. When I'm solo I'm generally as far away from others as possible because dogs (mine) so having a beacon is unlikely to help me be found before the battery dies anyway. Why does it bother you how others interact (or don't) with their families?
    why the fuck wouldn’t you turn a beacon on? sar/first responders will do a beacon search and find your dead body far faster with a beacon than via probe line.

  25. #25
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    I've always taught that if you ware a transceiver you turn it on.
    "True love is much easier to find with a helicopter"

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