January 22nd, 2009

Big Slide..Lucky Group!



I dont even know where to begin after what we witnessed today. Eight of us headed out today staging from Corbin. An experienced, avalanche wise group to enjoy some of the latest snow in the meadows and small slopes. We had witnessed sloughing right off the pipeline and the fact that we were within five miles of the most recent tragedy was a continual reminder. knowing the snow conditions we knew it would be simply idiotic to highmark. Late in the afternoon we were playing in the trees within sight of the Notch, a basin near Fernie. We were shocked to see four to five guys climbing below several over hanging cornices on the right hand side of the Notch. We just could not believe our eyes knowing how unstable the snow is. These boys were not just touching the slope they were running turbos, and modded machines to the top. In the two minutes we watched we saw these guys do absolutely everything you are not supposed to do. Two to three guys highmarking at once, guys highmarking above others that are stuck, sidehilling above others, these guys had a $%#@ death wish. One guy is on the slope and we here the rumble of an avalanche that we think is on the back side or an adjacent basin. Within about a minute one guy had just rode down the slope and not 100 feet from some of their highmarks the snowpack fractures just below the peak and the entire mountain comes down. The avalanche spanned about 500 yards and we suspect the fracture near the top was 15 feet deep. The trees were destroyed on that slope. Two of us rode over to make sure we could see all the riders. Two guys I spoke to were parked side by side with their machines off facing the mountain. They had saw the avalanche and were still parked directly under a section that had not slid. Two other guys were so consumed in their actions they had not even saw the avalanche. I dont know who these guys were but their actions show a complete lack of respect for the dangers out there and frankly the sledders we just lost. Guess who would have had to risk our lives to try and dig these guys out..”US”…the group had a Blue turbo Apex, a Mountain Cat 900 with a lexan Hood, a Summit, a HCR M8, and two Dragons…I have attached a number of photos where you can see the fracture line and maybe the highmarks beside it. I did not want to get any closer than that….sorry for the rant but we were pissed off. If you know who these guys are they need to be spoken to…

Seriously guy!  People need to be more aware of what’s going on out there, and the potential danger they are putting themselves and the rest of the group in.  Take a course, get the knowledge.