Two Killed by Large Slab Avalanche in Jasper National Park, Canada

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mount Andromeda, canada, jasper, alberta,
Mt. Andromeda, Columbia Icefields, Jasper National Park, Alberta. Credit: Edwina Podemski & Chris Wood

Two people were killed following an avalanche Sunday morning on Mount Andromeda near Jasper, Alberta. The avalanche occurred at around 7:45 am, reports the Jasper RCMP.

Another group of hikers in the area saw the avalanche and informed Parks Canada.

“When we got there we found that there had been an avalanche. It came down from about 3,000 metres right down to the valley bottom on Mount Andromeda and unfortunately, two people passed away as a result of the avalanche.

It’s basically like concrete. A big slab comes down. So it was a Size 3, so we’re talking a pretty sizeable chunk of snow.”

– Steve Young, a communications officer with Jasper National Park

avalanche, killed, mount Andromeda, jasper, Alberta, Canada,
Mount Andromeda, AB

Crews from the visitor safety team were dispatched to the area — one from Banff and two from Jasper — along with dogs, who located the victims. Three helicopters were scrambled but stood down when they were not medically required.

“We’ve had the back and forth temperature thing going on. So it’s still quite cold at night and then it warms up during the day and we had snow here last week. There’s still a lot of snow on the mountains for sure, even in the townsite let alone down on the icefields, which is at a higher elevation and obviously melts a lot slower. That usually can make things a little less stable than they normally would be.”

– Steve Young

No further information has been released about the two victims. The area, in the Columbia Icefield, is a popular climbing destination.

“Prepare before you even leave the house is the best thing you can do. Making sure you have the right equipment, like emergency beacon locators, all the avalanche safety equipment that’s available. Most of the adventurers that go out on places like that have all that equipment and it can still be a daunting experience and that’s with all the precautions.

“A guide can look over things, they know what to look for, those subtle things that Joe citizen would not pick up — that’s what they do and that’s why they’ve been accredited as mountain guides. So if you’re really looking for that kind of experience, a guide is a really good resource that you may want to consider before you head out.”

– Steve Young


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