VIDEO: Dramatic Rescue Following Avalanche on Mount Whitney, CA

AvyBrains | | AvalancheAvalanche

This video was captured on April 22, 2017, and posted to YouTube on November 12, 2020.

I was not very experienced at the time, being that this was my second trip skiing in the backcountry, and I had just taken my AIARE 1 course a few months prior. I was always hesitant to post this video because I believe we could have done a better job with the rescue, and I didn’t want to get a bunch of flak on the internet.

Regardless, I think this is some pretty interesting footage and a good learning lesson for those going out into the mountains. The summary is that my buddy Matt and I were hiking up to ski the Mountaineers Couloir on Mt. Whitney, CA. Less than an hour into the approach, a wet avalanche (mainly ice and dense snow) was naturally triggered by the sun around noon. We were directly in the path of the slide and ran for cover behind a huge boulder about 30-feet away from us. The slide directly hit two men in front of us, and one was missing after we came out behind the boulder.

We found him partially buried under a refrigerator-sized block of ice after a brief search. We dug him out, search and rescue came, and he got helicoptered out due to an ankle or leg injury. Matt and I continued up, camped around 12,000 ft, summited the next day, and I skied the Couloir.

whitney, California
Mount Whitney, CA

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