According to Japan Today, a 21-year-old student at the Tokyo Institute of Technology was struck and killed by an avalanche in the Northern Alps on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016. Shimon Hashimoto was climbing the 3,003-meter Mount Oyama, a peak in the Tateyama mountain range in the Toyama Prefecture town of Tateyama, with 5 friends when disaster struck. The avalanche was triggered on the north-facing slope of Mount Jodo, which is about 2,450 meters up on Mount Oyama according to Police.
The avalanche was the result of a recent snowfall layer that had slid down over old snow and resulted in a 20-30 meter wide slide. The group was scaling the mountain in a single file line when they were struck by an avalanche, which ended up burying the first 3 climbers. The 3 climbers that were not buried searched for the others using beacons. One of the buried students avoided injury by only being buried from the waste down. Hashimoto and the injured first-year student, however, were buried between 1 and 1.5 meters below the snow. The first-year student was pulled out about 14 minutes after the avalanche occurred.
The students set up base camp in Murododaira on November 26th and had been delayed on climbing the mountain due to nasty weather. Once the weather cleared, they attempted to climb the mountain on the 29th. One of the six members of the group called the police around 8:25 a.m. on the 29th to report that they had encountered an avalanche. Sadly, one climber did not make it and that is a sad reminder of why you need to always be cautious while venturing in avalanche-prone terrain.
“It’s heartbreaking that a promising student died without fulfilling his ambitions,” stated Yoshinao Mishima, the president of the Tokyo Institute of Technology.