Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2009-10-25
Submitted By: CAIC
Place: Apache Peak, Indian Peaks
State: CO
Country: USA
Summary: 2 skiers caught, 1 completely buried and 1 partially buried

*** PRELIMINARY REPORT ***

While ascending two skiers triggered and were caught in a large avalanche on Apache Peak on October 25. They had skied the line the previous day. Disappointed they had not skied from the summit, they planned to ascend farther and ski a longer run on the 25th. They ascended into the narrow, 40 to 45 degree couloir. They became nervous when they found an 18 inch deep hardslab with a icy crust. In between was a thin layer of facets. They triggered the avalanche at that point. The avalanche caught both and carried them about 1000 vertical feet. One skier was completely buried, the second buried with just a hand free (partially buried critical). The second skier was able to clear the snow from his face and dig himself out. Battered and exhausted, he began a beacon search once free. He quickly located his partner and cleared the snow from his face. Both sustained minor injuries and returned to the trailhead on their own.