2nd Avalanche Death in North America 2015/16 | Missing AK Skier Presumed Dead in Avalanche

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Liam Walsh, 33, has been missing in the Hatcher Pass area since November 23rd, 2015.
Liam Walsh, 33, has been missing in the Hatcher Pass area since November 22nd, 2015.

Skier and anesthesiologist Dr. Liam T. Walsh, 33, has been missing on Hatcher Pass, Alaska since November 22nd.  Avalanche danger was high when Liam disappeared.  Two days after he went missing a large avalanche buried a 100-feet stretch of Hatcher Pass road under 14-feet deep of snow.

This is the 2nd avalanche death in North America this year after a UCLA student died in an avalanche while hiking in the Mt. Whitney, CA area in early November and was found on November 21st, 2015.

Search and rescue crews have been searching for Liam when avalanche conditions have allowed.  3 days were spent probing avalanche debris with no success.  25 days after his disappearance, it is presumed that Liam died in an avalanche in the Hatcher Pass area.

“It’s been really tough.  We spoke to the head of the volunteer rescue group up there, and he said in cases like this, we won’t see Liam until the summer, when the snow melts.” – Robert Walsh, Liam’s father, said today

Snowbird Glacier, Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska. photo: mountain guide Joe Stock
Snowbird Glacier, Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska. photo: mountain guide Joe Stock

Just last year, Dr. Liam Walsh moved to Alaska with his father in search of a new life in the mountains and snow.  According to his father, Robert, Liam loved to ski, loved the outdoors, and moved to Alaska to pursue the outdoor lifestyle.

Liam’s life will be celebrated at a service in the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY on Sunday.  Liam grew up in New York and went to high school at Saratoga Springs High School.

Liam had been skiing since age 3, loved the outdoors, and moved to Alaska for the fishing, hunting, hiking, and skiing.

“He was always either outside or studying.”

“He’d do anything to be out there, and Alaska was the place of his dreams.” – Robert Walsh

Liam Walsh worked at Alaska Regional Hospital in Wasilla and helped develop a part-time clinic in Juneau since moving to Alaska last year.

Hatcher Pass offers incredible views of whats left of the old mining operations.
Hatcher Pass offers incredible views of whats left of the old mining operations.

Liam played soccer in college at University of Albany and the Univerity of New Paltz.  He received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center and was a resident at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH.

Upon finishing his residency, Liam moved to Alaska.  Less than a year later, Liam is presumed dead by avalanche on Hatcher Pass, Alaska.  Liam was last seen climbing up slope off Hatcher Pass at 2pm on November 22nd, 2015.

“He did live a full life.  That’s what he was all about.” – Robert Walsh

Hatcher Pass has some amazing views in the southwest part of the Talkeetena Mountains, Alaska.
Hatcher Pass has some amazing views in the southwest part of the Talkeetena Mountains, Alaska.

 


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