Sign In:

×

Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!

×
×

Breaking News: Director of Oregon’s Wallowa Avalanche Center Killed In Avalanche

Chief Joseph Mountain, which overlooks the town of Joseph, Oregon. Wallowa Avalanche Center Director Kip Rand died skiing near there yesterday. Google Earth image.

According to the Joseph, Oregon-based Wallowa Avalanche Center, the Center's Director, Kip Rand, died tragically in an avalanche yesterday afternoon near Chief Joseph Mountain west of the town of Joseph. Kip was skiing backcountry with a friend visiting from out of town on a day off when, according to The Observer newspaper, an avalanche caught Kip at the top of a run while leaving his friend, Bill Vandenbos, unharmed. Kip was taken for approximately 600 vertical feet before coming to a stop. 

While details about his injuries are still unknown at this time, we do know that Kip died of his injuries before Wallowa County Search and Rescue staff were able to reach him. Search and rescue was alerted via a SPOT tracker 911 call at 4:30 PM, and their staff arrived on scene roughly five hours later, just behind a group of backcountry skiers who arrived to help.

The last avalanche advisory for the area, posted Sunday morning, March 7th by Kip himself mentioned three principal avalanche hazards in eastern Oregon: wet slides due to a rain-on-snow event that effected snow conditions above 7,000', an upside-down snowpack as freezing levels dropped after the rain, and wind slabs near ridgelines facing the northeast, north, and the northwest. Conditions were expected to stabilize during this week. 

Kip Rand Remembered As "Humble, Collected, and Thoughtful"

Kip Rand died tragically yesterday in the eastern Oregon backcountry. Photo via the Wallowa Avalanche Center

The Wallowa Avalanche Center, which had hired on Kip just this fall, remembered him as a dedicated and experienced avalanche professional who was humble, thoughtful, and set to grow the Center's program:

"Kip's commitment to the avalanche center and avalanche safety was immediately evident as he settled into his new position as Director of our organization in November of last year. He came to us with extensive avalanche training, many years of experience as a guide, avalanche educator and pro observer. Most of all, he came to us with a humble, collected and thoughtful demeanor as he spoke and shared his knowledge.

Kip was on a path to grow our non-agency, non-profit center and further increase avalanche awareness within our region. He continued our long standing policy of soliciting guidance from the National Avalanche Center, the American Avalanche Association and nearby larger established avalanche centers as we redesigned product and services to match our funding reserves and personnel.

We are humbled and appreciative of the support and encouragement received from the community and avalanche professionals around the nation."

Our thoughts and prayers are with Kip, his friends and family, and the Eastern Oregon backcountry community at this difficult hour. We will continue to update this story with relevant details as they become available. RIP, Kip!

Play
READ THE STORY
Wilderness First Responder: What It’s Like To Use It
Up Next Snowboard

Wilderness First Responder: What It’s Like To Use It

Wilderness First Responder: What It’s Like To Use It

I didn't notice that Jen was in this photo at the time that it was taken. If I had, maybe things would’ve played out differently.  On July 2nd, I woke up at 4a.m. in my hammock. I packed up my sleeping bag and quietly tossed it into my already loaded 4Runner, doing my best not to wake anyone else up. A few friends and I had been camping in the Popo Agie Wilderness outside of Lander, Wyoming near the Wind River Range. By 11a.m. I was putting on my snowboard boots on the side of the road on

Play
READ THE STORY
Outdoor Retailer Leaves Salt Lake City for Denver
Up Next News

Outdoor Retailer Leaves Salt Lake City for Denver

Outdoor Retailer Leaves Salt Lake City for Denver

DENVER — It looks like Outdoor Retailer’s move to Denver is about to become 100% legit. According to The Denver Post, Visit Denver has inked a deal that will bring the biannual Outdoor Retailer Show to the Colorado Convention Center for the next five years. The first of the Denver-hosted shows is scheduled for January, 2018, with the contract expected to run through 2023. Although an official statement hasn’t been made, Emerald Expositions — the parent company of the Outdoor Retailer shows

Play
READ THE STORY
Another Summer Superpark Closes Due To Climate Change
Up Next News

Another Summer Superpark Closes Due To Climate Change

Another Summer Superpark Closes Due To Climate Change

Remember a few weeks ago, when Whistler’s Camp of Champions announced a permanent closure due to lack of snow? Well, Austria’s Superpark Dachstein, a staple of the European park scene, has announced its closure for the same reasons. The glacier-based ski op offered year-round skiing for 15 years and hosted many memorable events such as the Superstar Sessions. From the operators of the park: “After many great years of Superpark on the Dachstein glacier, we’ve heavy-heartedly decided that we