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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    157

    Gunsight Mountain OR Fatality

    Avalanche Fatality on Gunsight Mountain in the Elkhorn Mountians on 3/6/24

    At approximately 4:37pm on Wednesday, March 6th, Union County dispatch received a 911 call of an avalanche accident occurring on the north side of Gunsight Mountain (8342') in the Elkhorn Mountains near Anthony Lakes. This incident involved two backcountry skiers. One of the skiers triggered an avalanche near the top of the peak while descending the steep and prominent north-facing couloir and was carried approximately 800 vertical feet. The victim inflated an airbag pack and was not buried, but sustained life-threatening injuries. The victim's partner had skied the slope first, set up position in a safe zone, and was not impacted by the avalanche. The partner initiated a rescue and called 911 for assistance. Baker County and Union County SAR teams responded. Unfortunately, the victim succumbed to his injuries at the avalanche site.

    A full investigation and report will be forthcoming in the coming days. Our backcountry community is small and we understand the tremendous grief many are experiencing. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all affected.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    14,937
    You look at that from the lift all day skiing there. It’s so close to the ski area


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    157
    "𝐆𝐮𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐌𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐀𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐦𝐬 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐁𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐲 𝐒𝐤𝐢𝐞𝐫

    BAKER COUNTY - (Release from the Baker County Sheriff's Office) On March 6, 2024 at approximately 4:38 p.m., Baker County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a report of an avalanche near Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort. The initial information indicated that two skiers were buried.
    Baker County Sheriff’s Deputies, Baker County Search and Rescue, Union County Search and Rescue, La Grande Fire Department, North Powder Rural Fire Protection District and Life Flight responded to the scene. When responders arrived, bystanders were performing CPR on Nicholas Scott Burks (37 yoa) of Wallowa, Oregon. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful, and Burks succumbed to his injuries. The other skier involved, identified as William Sterling Sloop (37 yoa) of Joseph, Oregon, was uninjured.
    During the investigation, it was determined that Sloop and Burks were skiing the chute on Gunsight Mountain. Both were experienced backcountry skiers and were equipped with avalanche air bags and beacons. Sloop was the first to arrive at the bottom and watched Burks begin to make his way down. An avalanche was triggered and overtook Burks. Sloop immediately turned on his transceiver and was able to locate Burks near a tree.
    A group of individuals at the lodge saw the avalanche occur and immediately notified first responders. The group made their way to the avalanche location and assisted with lifesaving efforts. We are grateful to those bystanders who immediately took action and performed CPR.
    Baker County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Union County Search and Rescue, La Grande Fire Department, North Powder Rural Fire Protection District, Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort, Life Flight and Baker County Search and Rescue."

    https://eaglecapmountainguides.com/our-guides/

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Up North
    Posts
    1,017
    Burks was one of my best friends and Willy is a very good friend of mine. They're professionals in every sense of the word and have spent their lives working in the mountains in every capacity. I read the information that's out there for the public and I have heard the first hand account of the entire day and the event that occurred from those involved. As an avalanche professional (not that it matters), if I were there, I would have made the same decision, and I would have skied it with them. None of that matters and it fucking sucks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Eugenio Oregón
    Posts
    8,449
    Quote Originally Posted by noparking View Post
    Burks was one of my best friends and Willy is a very good friend of mine.
    I’m so sorry about your friends and for your loss.

    I sent you a PM.
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    west tetons
    Posts
    2,107
    Quote Originally Posted by noparking View Post
    Burks was one of my best friends and Willy is a very good friend of mine. They're professionals in every sense of the word and have spent their lives working in the mountains in every capacity. I read the information that's out there for the public and I have heard the first hand account of the entire day and the event that occurred from those involved. As an avalanche professional (not that it matters), if I were there, I would have made the same decision, and I would have skied it with them. None of that matters and it fucking sucks.
    So so sorry friend.

    Sent from my SM-A536U using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Missoula, MT
    Posts
    22,527
    I'm sorry dude.
    No longer stuck.

    Quote Originally Posted by stuckathuntermtn View Post
    Just an uneducated guess.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Where the sheets have no stains
    Posts
    22,279
    Really sorry to hear. All avalanche deaths hit hard and especially hard for those who knew, loved and skied/recreated with those lost.


    ETA:
    https://behavioralscientist.org/beha...lanche-deaths/

    Long, but worthwhile.
    I have been in this State for 30 years and I am willing to admit that I am part of the problem.

    "Happiest years of my life were earning < $8.00 and hour, collecting unemployment every spring and fall, no car, no debt and no responsibilities. 1984-1990 Park City UT"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wenatchee
    Posts
    14,937
    Quote Originally Posted by noparking View Post
    Burks was one of my best friends and Willy is a very good friend of mine. They're professionals in every sense of the word and have spent their lives working in the mountains in every capacity. I read the information that's out there for the public and I have heard the first hand account of the entire day and the event that occurred from those involved. As an avalanche professional (not that it matters), if I were there, I would have made the same decision, and I would have skied it with them. None of that matters and it fucking sucks.
    This is terrible, having made several trips with WAH, I know how tight your community is. Sorry for your loss


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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Salida, CO
    Posts
    1,989
    Oof that hurts. Bet that low lying fruit gets skiied a bit.
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    That looks like my kind of town.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Western Canada
    Posts
    109
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunion 2020 View Post
    Really sorry to hear. All avalanche deaths hit hard and especially hard for those who knew, loved and skied/recreated with those lost.


    ETA:
    https://behavioralscientist.org/beha...lanche-deaths/

    Long, but worthwhile.
    Very worthwhile. Thanks for the link.
    All conditions, all terrain.
    Expect nothing, don’t be disappointed.
    Too Old To Die Young (TOTDY)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Up North
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    1,017
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunion 2020 View Post
    Really sorry to hear. All avalanche deaths hit hard and especially hard for those who knew, loved and skied/recreated with those lost.


    ETA:
    https://behavioralscientist.org/beha...lanche-deaths/

    Long, but worthwhile.
    Thanks everyone for the kind words, the community lost a truly amazing person. I will take the time to read the article

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    idaho panhandle!
    Posts
    10,008
    Oh man. So sorry noparking. RIP to your buddy.


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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Funland
    Posts
    1,824
    big vibes to a small community. My heart goes out to the Wallowa county folk.

  15. #15
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    Dec 2005
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    15,938
    Oh jeez, I just now saw this. So sad.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    cb, co
    Posts
    5,063
    noparking- sorry for your loss

    Bunion- thanks for sharing a great article.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    11,327
    Vibes noparking. Losing a best friend in an accident is just terrible and tragic.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wenatchee
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    14,937
    I’m wondering if it was the PWL that’s lingering in the Elkhorn and Wallowa. We’re dealing with the same problem here in the Wenatchee Mountains and it’s tough. No signs of instabilities this week touring, just loose dry sloughing. Dragons are lurking a couple feet down.


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  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Up North
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnificentUnicorn View Post
    I’m wondering if it was the PWL that’s lingering in the Elkhorn and Wallowa. We’re dealing with the same problem here in the Wenatchee Mountains and it’s tough. No signs of instabilities this week touring, just loose dry sloughing. Dragons are lurking a couple feet down.


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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Wenatchee
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    14,937
    Is that bed crust from early February?


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  21. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Up North
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    Quote Originally Posted by MagnificentUnicorn View Post
    Is that bed crust from early February?


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Believe so, from talking with the folks who went to do the investigation.

  22. #22
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    Dec 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by noparking View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Jesus fuck.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dystopia
    Posts
    21,323
    Interesting link. Although I’m not sure heuristics did him in. Maybe. But most likely not. Also heuristical traps are the worst.

    RIP to a very seasoned professional.
    That thing was huge. No way you can expect a six foot rip unless it’s forecast as no fucking way. So sad. Vibes to the friends and family
    I’ve just decided to be a middle aged somewhat depressed somewhat anxious fucktard until the end.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Western Canada
    Posts
    109
    Quote Originally Posted by Core Shot View Post
    That thing was huge. No way you can expect a six foot rip unless it’s forecast as no fucking way. So sad. Vibes to the friends and family
    Look at the second picture. The one with the profile showing 70cm to where it failed.
    All conditions, all terrain.
    Expect nothing, don’t be disappointed.
    Too Old To Die Young (TOTDY)

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Dystopia
    Posts
    21,323
    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Jakal View Post
    Look at the second picture. The one with the profile showing 70cm to where it failed.
    Yes. Not throwing any shit.
    My point is here’s a very smart and experienced forecaster knowing there’s a deep pwl. But snow can bridge pwl.
    Until it doesn’t.
    Peace and powder days in Valhalla.
    I’ve just decided to be a middle aged somewhat depressed somewhat anxious fucktard until the end.

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