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  1. #1
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    Box Elder Peak 2/11/06 TR

    So as much as I would have liked to ski soli and meet and put a few faces to the maggot handles. When your first steady touring partner asks you to tour on his b/day I'm there. We had tried to summit Box Elder Pk a year ago from Dry Creek before weather turned crappy. Josh another rock solid partner and my wife arrived at Tibble Creek ~ 8:00 the temp was ~ 5. In the parking lot we ran into a party of 3 one who had patroled w/ my friend James. P,T and a splitboarder whos name I can't recall, who were planning on skiing Box Elder. They started first and tried skinning the SE facing hiking trail and soon bailed due to boilerplate ice.
    gearing up

    Timp o the morning


    Sloggin out the skin


    The second group would catch up as we would leaving breaks.
    After ~5 1/2 hours we gained the Dry/Deer creek ridgeline.From there we continued up though the protected trees above the shotgun chutes.

    Looking NW from saddle

    The last 1000' the skin track got ugly and icey

    We bootered in a few spots and eventually all gained the summit.
    While chillin up top a party of two came up (from dry creek) making 9.
    Some summit shots



    And one for the guy making the snow and getting to it more enjoyable hope your not still stuck in Quebec

    So the now 7 in our party decided to not ski from the summit but down a few 100' feet James Josh and P got ready to drop in James cut 1st and Josh cut the slope above him. Splitter stayed on the ridge above watching My wife has a fear of exposures and was pretty scetched and near tears as we worked down the ridgeline to access the low cut/traverse James had put in.T was working his way down w/ us.
    Bam shit hits the fan James had skiied down to the top of the gully and Josh was skiers right and above in a safe zone of trees. P made about 6 turns before he released a wind loaded hard slab and started on the avvy ride. I was back of the ridge helping the wife booter down and wondering if I had got her in terrain above her ability. Splitter witnessed the slide from above and J&J were watching from their safe zones. I rushed to the edge in time to see the last 1000' of a 3000' slide . Kind of like watching shit on the discovery channel. So now it stops I cant see or hear anyone below. I call out and no one answers.things kind of go into slow mo from here. I want to drop in and find out if every one is ok, but I am unable to see the top of the slide path and have no idea if there is hang fire or wher my partners are. T decides to call 911 as we have cell sevice on the ridge but will not as soon as we drop in. This was a good call as it would not be right to set off a slide of that magnitude and not report it till later. It was late in the day and no one could say with certainty there was no one on the skin track below us. My Wfe tried to call J&J to no avail. I decided to drop in on their ski cuts and was able to call out to Josh who thankfully let me know that P had gone for a long ride(~1500') lost a ski and poles and had injured his knee. I relayed this info to Split T and Pam still on the ridge. The two others skied down and talked to T who was still on the phone w/ SAR. josh skied down the slide path to P and they were able to spot his ski and direct me to it . The rest of the crew took turns skiing down from safe zone to safe zone until we all converged and took stock of the situation. P was alright shaken upnd complaining of knee pain. we gave him some poles and decided that the 5 of them should start to ski out the slide path and Josh and I would hang back and sweep the slide path with our beacons recieving. . I probably shouldn't have been still taking pics butthings seemed alright so here are a few.
    Looking down from the top of the slide

    I belive the slide statred just below the trees in the foreground Josh was skiers right in the lower trees.
    Another

    Looking back up @ the crown

    For the most part the crowns were 1-2' as the snow ripped down the gulliy it would tear out crowns in this range
    P skiing down

    a few more shots of the slide path.


    Josh sweeping the bottom

    The disposition zone at the bottom of the slide
    By this time SAR had a plane in the air and were sooned joined by lifeflight. We tried to signal to them using the patting of the head and thumbsup that we were all ok, they landed and talked to one of us concerning the other party of Two who dropped back into Dry Creek (Alpine).
    .
    We get down to the trailhead to find a full SAR callout. We tell our story and do a breifing . The Fox news van shows up and since They "got change for a nickel" I gave em a few sound bites and a big thanks to SAR alhough they editted the change for a nickel comments and refered to BC skiing as cheating death they did a nice blurb .
    A few obs Snow stability was checked on test slopes and discussed several times. We all felt conditoins were safe that day. Low don't mean no. I had left my avalung home that day, which I won't do again. I am not a big fan of portable radios (beater phones) but they would have come in handy in this situation. The addition of 3 to our group changed things and I trusted J&Js & Ps judgement as to where they dropped in, But we didn't have a solid plan as to what and where we were all going to ski. I was concerned with my wife and the situation I had put her in so I may have missed this discussion.
    I'm just glad P was alright and we all learned a lot this tour.
    Last edited by skifishbum; 02-14-2006 at 10:57 AM.
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
    ski on in eternal peace

  2. #2
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    Shit man glad you guys got out fairly unscathed.
    Believe.

  3. #3
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    Glad everything turned out relatively ok. Scary!

    Notice the choppers on scene were not the touted WPG heli's, but a well qualified, highly trained medical team.

  4. #4
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    Heard about this on the avalanche report this morning. Glad you're all ok, your friend didn't hurt his knee seriously right? Did they send life flight and get SAR out there automatically when you called 911, or did they try to figure out the situation before they did that?

  5. #5
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    Wow. Sketchy stuff. I too looked over the AVY forecast today and it seemed pretty bomber. I just ski "sidecountry" but that's sketchy stuff. How did your friend's knee turn out?

  6. #6
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    nice that everyonw is ok. i thought about a solo adventure this morning in the Wells to hit some lines I have yet to ski but after hearing about 3 avy's on a low danger day I quickly changed that thought since we are usually a day or two behind the Wahsatch.

    Thanks for the story and its amazing everybody 'cheated death.' How is the wife doing after all that?
    There's a world out there full of color, dreams, and imagination. What are you waiting for?

  7. #7
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    May 2002
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    "The Fox news van shows up and since They "got change for a nickel" I gave em a few sound bites"

    Now even though this was some serious shit - that is freakin hilarious.
    That gully could have been a nasty trap. That radio thought is so true.
    thanx for the pic, still in quebec, but we found the fresh.

  8. #8
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    Scary, but a good read.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by splat
    "The Fox news van shows up and since They "got change for a nickel" I gave em a few sound bites"
    Yeah, our reporter and photographer come back in and are like - "hey, some guy kept saying ask SB if he's got change for a nickel"...

    Unfortunately I couldn't edit the story in time to remove the "cheating death" reference. My favorite line was "they even had beacons" - like you shouldn't have. Glad to see you & everyone else is ok. As soon as I heard the SAR dispatch to Box Elder, I was like - oh shit, that's where SFB is today.

  10. #10
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    Wow, glad to hear you guys are ok. Stay safe.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
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    402
    Cross posted from ttips.


    Snow is once again starting to recrystalize, with sluffing minimal.
    Maybe a heads up if we see a good dose of snow in the near future as upper elevation rocky terrain is not without loose layering.
    I went to look at the skier triggered slide on Box Elder today.

    Box Elder northeast facing has steep chutes, shown in the middle of the picture.




    The skier came in from the side, apparently in the third group on the hill, made a couple of turns, triggering the slide.



    A zoomed view, with the slide seen middle right.



    Looking up from just below the first breakover.



    He took a good long ride. I measured the distance of the slide at about 2300 feet and the skier got spit out a little above that distance.



    The path was well greased, since a slide earlier this winter ran full track. In some places this second one ran to ground on the older bed surface.



    As it ran it pulled snow from both sides, making the original of around 80 feet over twice as wide before it was over.
    It continued to pull snow off the flanks, even near the bottom and a lower slope angle.



    My guess is there may be a few more of those lurking.

    The depth of the crown, where triggered was only about six inches to a foot, however some of the flank was two feet +.
    Careful out there.
    Glad everyone’s okay.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for cross posting your pics and obs WRA. Hope you and BT got a few turns out of the tour.
    The skier that went for the ride ( he was spit out slightly above the last pic) is okay. The wife became a stronger touring partner which is a mutal desire.
    In hindsite I dont think calling SAR was necessary due to the semi remote location. SAR was told we were all okay yet they were concerned there could have been others involved. Altough once leaving the ridgeline cell phone service ends. I would have called the slide in after we were all down as I wouldn't want them out looking for unknown victims not knowing the details. I have always felt that less than 5 is the optimal touring group size and this incident confirms that in my mind. RB I guess hiking 8 hours to stand on a peak and ski down doesn't sound nearly as newsworthy as "cheating death".
    Be safe and try and make cautious decisions.
    I would be lying if I didn't say I really desired a pic of one of our group hucking big off a cornice at the peak w/ timp in the background.
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
    ski on in eternal peace

  13. #13
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    Geez Dibbs--
    Glad to hear you guys are safe.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the TR and the post hoc analysis SFB, and I'm very glad you and your party are safe. I always wear my avalung now, even on low hazard days, 'cause the one time I got caught I hadn't bothered to bring it, thinking the hazard would be low. Not that it would've saved me at the time, or that I ever expect it to, but it's just one more thing to marginally help out should things go wrong.

  15. #15
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    Holy terrain trap! Glad everyone involved is alright. This is why I am not a fan of large groups in the backcountry. Too many variables come into play and communication becomes difficult. I'm not trying to knock your decisions or anything. Seems like this situation could have been a lot worse. Thanks for posting your obs and thoughts. Hopefully some people will learn something from this thread.

  16. #16
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    Low danger don't mean no danger bump
    "When the child was a child it waited patiently for the first snow and it still does"- Van "The Man" Morrison
    "I find I have already had my reward, in the doing of the thing" - Buzz Holmstrom
    "THIS IS WHAT WE DO"-AML -
    ski on in eternal peace

  17. #17
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