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On March 26, the Mt. Washington Avalanche Center team witnessed about a dozen long, uncontrolled falls in Tuckerman Ravine, New Hampshire. Multiple resulted in injuries. One person tumbled roughly 700-feet over a large cliff.
The MWAC reports that the falling skier in the video above lost a ski high in a zone called Chute due to a binding release on hard, chattery snow, causing a roughly 700′ fall down the slope and over a rocky buttress as seen here. The skier came to rest in the Chute runout. A fall in these conditions from the top of these terrain features is essentially impossible to stop or steer.
Snow rangers and patrollers assessed the skier, who remarkably was able to walk assisted out of the ravine with minor injuries, according to the MWAC. It is likely that this would’ve gone much differently had the person not been wearing a helmet—just check out the third photo in that Instagram post. The person in that video is incredibly lucky.
The MWAC wrote in the caption of the Instagram post:
We feel it important to share these videos because they highlight the reality of some of the hazards that we write about in our forecast. They are very real, and they can kill.
Additionally, it should be noted that during the assessment of this person, snow rangers were in the direct runout of Chute. Many skiers still decided to descend the line above us and many people did so at high speed, coming way too close to the rescue party. This significantly increased our hazard and exposure while trying to handle a serious situation. PLEASE think about those underneath you as you travel in this terrain. The only thing worse than one injured person is more injured people.
Tuckerman Ravine is big mountain terrain. It takes experience, knowledge, and training to safely ski and climb here. Think about your own skill set and what your abilities are and what risks you are willing to take on. If you want to expand this skillet and experience, consider going out with a guide or finding mentor to learn about how to manage some of these mountain hazards and your overall risk.
We encourage you to have a safe, thoughtful rest of the season.
Be safe out there in the backcountry everyone—and wear your helmet, please!