Avalanche Killed Snowboarder on Paulina Peak, OR, Yesterday

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Paulina Peak, OR. Credit: SnowBrains

An avalanche killed a male snowboarder on Paulina Peak, OR, yesterday, Wednesday, 15th March 2023.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office reports three snowboarders approached the peak on snowmobiles and that one of the snowboarders triggered the avalanche.

“On March 15th, a snowboarder descending Paulina Peak triggered an avalanche. There were three members of the team. One sustained fatal injuries despite hours of resuscitation efforts. The other two members of the party were unharmed. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (DCSOSAR) was notified of the accident and is conducting recovery efforts. COAC will be conducting an Avalanche Accident Report that will be forthcoming. Our sincere condolences go out to the family, friends and community of all involved.”

Central Oregon Avalanche Center

The group was snowboarding down the 7,984-foot peak east of La Pine and the highest point on the Newberry Volcano when the avalanche occurred. Despite hours of resuscitation efforts, one of the snowboarders died. The other two were unharmed.

Two SAR teams and an AirLink helicopter were called and spent much of the afternoon trying to reach the area.

Today’s forecast (3/16/23). Credit COAC

Today’s forecast says,Triggering an avalanche in wind deposited snow near and above treeline will be possible on Thursday. Avalanches could be large. Be cautious of cornice breaks at ridge tops in previously wind exposed areas. Evaluate wind loaded slopes before committing to consequential terrain. If you observe signs of unstable snow, previous avalanches, or if you have uncertainty in the stability of the snowpack, increase your safety margin by staying on slopes less than 30 degrees steep.”

The fatality is the second in Oregon this winter. Earlier this month, experienced backcountry skier Aaron Griffith of Bend was killed by an avalanche while skiing with a friend at Black Crater, north of the Three Sisters.

It is the 17th avalanche-related death in the US this winter and the 29th in North America.

Paulina Peak, OR.

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