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5 Die In Snowboarding Avalanche @ Loveland Pass


Original Post
Tom-onator · · trollfreesociety · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 790

Avy Danger is Moderate to Considerable in most of the high country per CAIC.
Be Careful out there!

google.com/url?sa=t&;rct=j&q=snowboarders%20die&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CDcQqQIwAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.denverpost.com%2Fbreakingnews%2Fci_23070812%2Favalanche-kills-five-snowboarders-near-u-s-6&ei=GudzUc3BBtGGqwGX9IDYAQ&usg=AFQjCNFRVKyqgmrypLjFMIhWXyqGS57dQA&bvm=bv.45512109,d.aWM

Condolences for friends and family.

Ben Brotelho · · Albany, NY · Joined May 2011 · Points: 520

I heard. Very sad.

Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 370
Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,332

Wow, that looks like a prime avalanche slope. That was massive, a 10 feet thick slab. Definitely, check the conditions before venturing on or below that slope. Too bad about the victims. RIP

Jon Zucco · · Denver, CO · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 245

Yikes

AndyMac · · Center, CO · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 601

My condolences to everyone with a stake in this. When I read this I had to wonder, how was it 5? The article says they were all nearing the bottom of the slope when the avalanche happened. Sounds like everyone got excited and forgot about the basic practices.

ErikaNW · · Golden, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 145

From the article it sounds like they had skins on. Very experienced group. Certainly would not be questioning their decision making without having been there. Condolences to their families and friends. I knew Rick from taking an Avy 1 class he was co-teaching, and he was a super nice, energetic, happy and funny guy.

denverpost.com/breakingnews…

jmeizis · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 225

This is really unfortunate and some of the comments on the article linked are very lacking in tact to say the least. These were all people in the outdoor industry so it's likely they have friends or family who post here. Something to keep in mind.

As more information comes to light hopefully we can all at least gain some knowledge from this tragic accident.

One of the first things that raised a red flag for me was that everyone was caught. I thought I'd be reading an article about a bunch of inexperienced people without proper training or equipment. So I was surprised to read that it was very experienced people but I think there are some social factors that made me wonder about the interaction of the group. I've been part of a group before where I felt like I should say something but because of my own relative inexperience decided to shut up. I wonder if there was any of that as an influencing factor here.

We've got a pretty large group of relatively young males. Some of them professionals. They're their for what is essentially a celebration so a pretty jovial atmosphere. Any of those things could of led to people missing a piece of the puzzle and I'd argue we're all susceptible to some of those same influences or other influences that can put us where we don't want to be.

As someone who would identify themselves as a beginner backcountry skier I think avalanche terrain is the most difficult to deal with because it isn't so obviously menacing like the other kinds of backcountry hazards we deal with in climbing and their are so many influencing factors and pieces to the puzzle.

Dave Hurst · · somewhat near Boulder CO · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 5

Ironically, this avalanche occurred while a sponsored snowboard event to benefit the Colorado Avalanche Information Center was underway at Loveland Valley. I don't know if the snowboarders involved in the avalanche were participants, or sales reps, etc.:
snowboardmag.com/stories/do…

Another 10-20" of snow forecast up there for Mon-Tues.

RockyMtnTed · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 0
Paul-B wrote: +1 Really sad that EVERYONE was caught, should have only had one person in the zone at a time. I am worried that perhaps 4/20 festivities may have clouded some judgement? A sobering reminder that no matter what experience you have someone will make a mistake. Speak up if you feel uncomfortable. I once failed to speak up when I did not feel comfortable with my belayer's technique, I decked....I was lucky to learn that lesson with minor injuries.
With all due respect you really dont know what the fuck you are talking about.... But feel free to keep talking out of your ass!

Sounds like they were all experienced and sometimes its impossible to keep everyone out of a dangerous zone. It sounds like it was a massive avalanche, someone above mentioned one of the victims was teaching a avy 1 class. I suppose you know more than someone in that position? Arm chair quarterbacks are great...

Also 4/20 festivities? Really? Are you seriously that dumb or naive? I take it you have never been high before.... If anything it would make you more cautious but to suggest they were all high and thats why they died in an avalanche is just rediculous. Get your head out of your ass buddy, its clear you dont know what youre talking about.
OldManRiver · · Cottonwood Heights, UT · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 95

They were part of that snowboarding festival, were ascending and got swept away by about the worst type of slide that slope could generate..

Very sad that experience was not enough to prevent this... They could have thought they were in a safe zone on the edge of the path but the slide was exceptionally large = end result. Backcountry travel involves an amount of risk that cannot be mitigated, this is a tragic example. Had the slide been 1' deep, not propagated as much or released earlier in the storm cycle this could just be another close call and everyone would praise the judgement that led the group to a safe zone.

I rely a lot on advisories for warnings on potential slide size, depth, propensity to propagate, etc. and route find based on those factors. Bottom line is these guys encountered an awful event that could and would extinguish a lot of people on this forum, me being one.

Scary shit. And it took what seems to be a good group of people that serve the bc community. A big smack in the face from Mother Nature.

And for the mmQBs in the room, you don't know where they were, what their spacing was, their knowledge of the slope, etc. it's incredibly selfish and premature to say the groups experience was not used 'properly' that afternoon, whatever that means..

EricSchmidt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 0
Paul-B wrote:I would not have expected a large group of people with that level of experience to get in a situation where all were at risk. I don't think any instructor out there would say that was good practice or unavoidable.
Again, do you know the area or the terrain they were in? Have you been backcountry skiing before? There are lots of times where the whole group is at risk of getting taken out by a huge 50 year avalanche type event. Its all just risk management, as a climber I would think you would get that.

You don't know the circumstances AT ALL so why would you comment that what they were doing was irresponsible or bad practice? No offense... I just dont get why you would throw your opinion out on something you have no clue about? I guess some people just like to hear themselves talk.
EricSchmidt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 0

"They could have thought they were in a safe zone on the edge of the path but the slide was exceptionally large = end result. Backcountry travel involves an amount of risk that cannot be mitigated, this is a tragic example.

And for the mmQBs in the room, you don't know where they were, what their spacing was, their knowledge of the slope, etc. it's incredibly selfish and premature to say the groups experience was not used 'properly' that afternoon, whatever that means.."

Again Paul-B read this guys^ comments as well....

GLD · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 89

That was avoidable, it was not a once in a 50year event. However, I probably would have been caught too. I obviously wasn't out there but I did check out the slide path today in person while coming down us6-you can easily stop at the switchback and walk out.

The point in accidents is learning from them and I think the big lesson here is continued conservatism even while ascending. Painting this as unavoidable and there was nothing these guys could have done better is atrocious.

EricSchmidt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 0
GLD wrote:That was avoidable, it was not a once in a 50year event.
I never said this slide was a 50 year slide so work on your reading skills a bit bud.

I was simply saying I dont think Paul-B knows all the facts so he shouldn't be throwing speculation out there. Either way the slide's size might not have been a 50 year slide but when was the last time 5 people died in one avalanche in Colorado.... Oh yeah, 50 years ago....
K Weber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 15

This incident is so sad and frustrating.

Avalanche training is dropping the ball on every level. The article is as much to blame for passing on bad info. "They had gear"

The most important tool to use in the backcountry is your BRAIN.

It is very obvious that they used poor judgment and did not use their expert knowledge.

GO or NO GO????

1) CAIC has been blinking RED all week for the front range.

2) Lots of new snow and WIND

3) "deep persistent slabs and fresh wind slabs" on the north, east and southeast aspects near and above tree line.

4) "With all the snow and wind we've had over the last couple of weeks, winds are really building that slab up, and it's really kind of reached the tipping point this last week,"

5) Avalanche with a fatality 2 days before

The right call would have been to "NOT TO GO".

How many clues do you need?!?!

All this emphasis on GEAR sucks and is getting people killed.

Gear doesn't not keep you from being pummeled to death by millions of pounds of snow.

People die in avalanches because of trauma and asphyxia. Gear helps that very little. Ever dig through feet of concrete like snow?

OldManRiver · · Cottonwood Heights, UT · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 95

Agree route finding is the takeaway, BUT.. What's the frequency that slope produces a slide with that much volume and force? I think it's infrequent enough to temper the blowhard routine.

EricSchmidt · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 0
K Weber wrote:People die in avalanches because of trauma and asphyxia. Gear helps that very little.
Bahaha not true at all. Have to disregard everything else you said after such a statement.
K Weber · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2011 · Points: 15
EricSchmidt wrote: Bahaha not true at all. Have to disregard everything else you said after such a statement.
Well, do enlighten us ERIC. How do avalanches kill people then?
OldManRiver · · Cottonwood Heights, UT · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 95
K Weber wrote:This incident is so sad and frustrating. Avalanche training is dropping the ball on every level. The article is as much to blame for passing on bad info. "They had gear" The most important tool to use in the backcountry is your BRAIN. The right call would have been to "NOT TO GO". How many clues do you need?!?! All this emphasis on GEAR sucks and is getting people killed. Ever dig through feet of concrete like snow?
This post has so much dung logic it's tough to read. I've stood speechless as limp bodies found by dogs were pulled from debris. The victims were being dumb and now they're not with us. This case is complex and not clear cut.

Persistent deep slabs are one of the worst dangers because they commonly exist in a low probability, high consequence capacity. This is no exception. It's perfectly reasonable to ask if they were even in a pre existing path or the slide ran big and captured th outside the normal zone. But we don't know the answer yet, so conclusions are a bit premature.

It took me a bit to get over the know it all attitude and recognize the similarities between risks I've taken and risks those in avy reports took. Have a little humility.
coppolillo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 70
OldManRiver wrote: Have a little humility.
+1
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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