March 14th, 2016

Joe Denney talks about avalanche that killed his friend

Alaska Dispatch News interviews Joe Denney, a survivor of a large avalanche near Eureka, AK on February 27, 2016. He tells the story of what happened that day, and the avalanche that took his riding partner of 11 years, Randy Pratt’s life.

The day started out with deep conditions as Denney’s crew of three worked their way up closer to the base of the Nelchina Glacier, where they group has ridden many times including just the week before.

They experienced no signs of snow instability, but as the group climbed higher up the mountains, a large avalanche was triggered that involved both Denny and Pratt.

This is his firsthand account of what happened and the effort made to save his friend.



What lessons can be learned from this tragedy? Denny talks about moving more slowly through terrain and testing it for instability as you go along, as well as being sure that all members of your group wear their transceivers on their body.

The full story can be found here.

Thanks Joe, for having the courage to speak about the loss of your friend. Hopefully your words will help others make smart decisions in the backcountry.


– MS