1 Killed and Multiple Burials After 3 Avalanches in British Columbia Backcountry

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Credit: Pemberton RCMP

On Saturday, February 5th, 2022, at approximately 1:20 pm Pemberton RCMP received multiple emergency rescue calls in a 10 minute period from the International Emergency Response Coordination Centre, In-Reach text messages, and calls from witnesses in the areas of Cassiope Peak area and Mount Cayley.

Witnesses in the area stated that three separate avalanches: two on Cassiope Peak and one on Mount Cayley had buried multiple skiers and snowmobile operators plus there were approximately a dozen people in the area that needed to be evacuated.  Pemberton SAR, Pemberton RCMP, Whistler RCMP, Whistler SAR, Blackcomb Helicopters, and BC EHS ground and air ambulance units responded to assist.

Pemberton SAR attended to the Cassiope area and discovered a large avalanche on the north face of Cassiope Peak where four skiers were caught – one had serious injuries, two were not injured and unfortunately, one was found deceased.

Information was received by Pemberton SAR that the second avalanche was on the Cassiope Trail Head where there had been an avalanche in the area that at least two people were caught in but were not injured and were making their way to safety.

Credit: Pemberton RCMP

The third backcountry incident was reported on Mount Cayley where a snowmobile operator had suffered serious injuries. Whistler SAR and North Shore Rescue were attending to that call in order to get the sledder out for medical treatment.

“There is no doubt that the snowpack remains unstable and information from Avalanche Canada and in consultation with Avalanche experts in our area shows there is an immense risk in the Sea to Sky backcountry at this stage. We are concerned for additional large avalanches in the coming weeks with the increase in temperatures and sunny conditions. Pemberton RCMP and Pemberton SAR are asking you to check avalanche ratings and plan your trips prior to heading out in our backcountry. We also want to thank all the bystanders and those involved who assisted today and to the Search and Rescue teams from Pemberton and Whistler who continue to rescue those in dangerous situations.  Our thoughts are with the family and friends of all who were involved today.”

– Staff Sergeant Sascha Banks

“Pemberton SAR responded with the assistance of Whistler SAR.  We deployed search teams, including 2 helicopters, avalanche dogs, and a long line rescue team. It is always difficult for our team when it is not always a positive outcome and our thoughts are with all the friends, families, and those involved today.”

– Pemberton SAR Manager David MacKenzie

Pemberton RCMP will work alongside the BC Coroners Service on this investigation. If anyone has any information they can contact the Pemberton RCMP at 604-894-6634.

Please check www.avalanche.ca for the Trip Planner and conditions prior to planning your adventure in the backcountry.

The death is the second avalanche death in Canada this winter, and the tenth in North America.

Pemberton, BC

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