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One killed in Vail Pass Avalanche

Threads related to Colorado mountaineering accidents but please keep it civil and respectful. Friends and relatives of fallen climbers will be reading these posts.
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Please be respectful when posting - family and friends of fallen climbers might be reading this forum.
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Re: Avalanche Fatality

Postby Tommy Dorr » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:23 pm

Damn, we were skiing Loveland today and saw the emergency vehicles. We had no idea til after we got back home. That really, really sucks.

Re: Avalanche Fatality

Postby bergsteigen » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:35 pm

paulie wrote:I wonder where on Sniktau the slide occurred. I've always thought of it as one of the safest winter 13ers in Colorado.


The ridge that hikers take up Sniktau is typically wind blown free of snow.

Too many accidents lately. The snowpack is still a winter one up north, not spring yet!
Last edited by bergsteigen on Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Avalanche Fatality

Postby nkan02 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:37 pm

Holy macro. I was skiing inbounds at Loveland on Wednesday and conditions looked spooky. There were numerous new layers with dust in-between and nothing seemed to hold it together. We were at the resort boundary by Chair 8 going for untracked runs and I just didn't get a good feeling about the snow stability and bailed from the run early. The dude who is a ski instructor there tried to convince me that it is my imagination, "they blast it", etc. Very, very sorry to hear about the accident.

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Re: Avalanche Fatality

Postby Dave B » Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:52 pm

screeman57 wrote:
paulie wrote:I wonder where on Sniktau the slide occurred. I've always thought of it as one of the safest winter 13ers in Colorado.


Preliminary CAIC report said North aspect near treeline.


We drove past the area the SAR and ambulances were congregating at around 2:45, must have been before they shut down the road.

I caught a glimpse of a large crown in a draw just east of the second hairpin turn (when driving up to the pass). So if this was the actual slide it is on Sniktau technically but it was really just right off the road.

We also had 4-5 more ambulances and several SAR vehicles pass us on HWY 6 and again when on I-70.

This is a horrible accident, I'm quite curious to know the situation that led to 6 people being caught in a single slide.
"There is no cheating in climbing, only lying." - Semi-Rad

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Re: Avalanche Fatality

Postby CoulKurt » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:08 pm

I believe that lower crown was already there near second hairpin. I dropped from ridge down to standard pickup spot around 130. Think I saw these 5 heading up toward steep area above Pass Lake or The Professor area. The timing makes me think it was them. RIP .
A little less conversation, a little more action. -Elvis

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Re: Avalanche Fatality

Postby atalarico » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:16 pm

This is so sad to read on so many levels. Why would anyone think to be riding anything close to steep terrain with the snowpack the way it is right now?

Kurt, I'm sorry you have to experience it like that too.

I was hoping to climb a couloir this weekend, but with the amount of snow we had in the last week, I decided against it yesterday. Reading this only reinforces that. Stick to safer aspects and ridgelines, friends. The mountains will be there tomorrow.

Re: Avalanche Fatality

Postby Nelson » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:28 pm

This is my worst nightmare, what I feared most. I feel like I was begging people to read the avy reports and accident reports.

May they rest in peace, may God comfort their families, may we all learn from this.

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Re: Avalanche Fatality

Postby globreal » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:37 pm

Nelson wrote:This is my worst nightmare, what I feared most. I feel like I was begging people to read the avy reports and accident reports.

May they rest in peace, may God comfort their families, may we all learn from this.


This is any parents worst nightmare. Wow...so sorry to hear this horrible news!

I can only guess...did they all descend together simultaneously? Hard to believe 5 in one slide.

As Nelson mentioned...may God comfort those close to them. Prayers going up for who knew them.
Luke 1:30 The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.

34 Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin ?"

37 "For nothing will be impossible with God."

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Re: Avalanche Fatality

Postby rijaca » Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:11 pm

CoulKurt wrote:I believe that lower crown was already there near second hairpin. I dropped from ridge down to standard pickup spot around 130. Think I saw these 5 heading up toward steep area above Pass Lake or The Professor area. The timing makes me think it was them. RIP .


CAIC is reporting the slide on the northeast slope of Sheep Creek (other side of the pass from the Professor). And six people were involved. Fortunately one survived.

A sad day.
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Spent a little time on the hill"

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Re: Avalanche Fatality

Postby dpk » Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:24 pm

Sending thoughts and prayers to the friends and family. . .
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Re: Vail Pass Avalanche Fatality

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:06 pm

Here's another look at the deadly avalanche on Ptarmigan's north slope:

Image Image

Updated CAIC report
Only SNOW will end the madness

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Re: One Killed in Vail Pass Avalanche

Postby dpk » Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:15 pm

Wow that looks gnarly. Thanks for the updated picture.
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