Detailed Accident Report
Submitted By: Sun Valley Avalanche Center
Place: Smokey Mountains, near Sun Valley
Summary: 1 skier caught, totally buried, recovered with beacon
We had a live beacon recovery of a totally buried skier in alpine terrain
1/28/00, 1:15PM. The skier was uncovered in less than 5 minutes thanks to
the quick thinking, safe travel techniques and training of the partners.
Correction to earlier posting-Buried 15" (head & pack)to approximately 30"
deep(feet w/ skis on). Lying on side, face slightly up.
HS-AS-2-O. ESE facing aspect near 9000ft elevation. Knife hard wind slab on
near surface facets. Approximately 150 ft wide, 150-200ft long, ran
aprx.400ft. Crown intermittent and variable due to connecting with some
rock outcroppings and variability of wind slab: 6" to 18" deep. Crown slope
angle 30degrees to nearing 50degrees where furthest point it propagated to.
Skier was third person to cross/traverse slope (one at a time) on
approximate bottom 3rd of 30-32degree slope which fractured and propagated
above/beyond them to steeper area. Rode/swam slide till near bottom when
upper slope overran them. Cold temps the prior 2 days appeared to have
promoted facet growth as well as brittleness and propagation capability of
wind slab. Toe of debris approximately 4ft deep.
Location 11 miles into Smokey Mtns. from Baker Creek trailhead (10 miles
north of Ketchum) in a popular snowmobile highmarking area. Blaine County,
Sun Valley Avalanche Center