Backcountry Skier Missing Since November Found Dead on Hatcher Pass, AK

AvyBrains | | AvalancheAvalanche
Dr. Liam Walsh in his element.
Dr. Liam Walsh in his element.

The body of what is thought to be the remains of 33-year-old backcountry skier Dr. Liam Walsh, missing since November 22nd, 2015, was found yesterday.

Liam went missing on Hatcher Pass during high avalanche danger and is presumed to have perished in an avalanche.  The Alaska Mountain Rescue group reported finding what they believe to be is Liam Walsh during a planned recovery search with Alaska Search and Rescue dogs.

An Alaska State Trooper helicopter was used to retrieve Liam’s body.  The State Medical Examiner will determine if this body is in fact Liam’s.

Dr. Liam Walsh.
Dr. Liam Walsh.

Liam had been living in Wasilla, AK and was last heard from on November 22nd, 2015 on the eve of a large storm and vicious avalanche cycle.  On November 24th, a large avalanche covered Hatcher Pass road in 14-feet of snow.  Hatcher Pass road was closed for over a week.

2 other skiers died in avalanches on Hatcher Pass this winter.

If counted as an avalanche death, this would be the 28th avalanche fatality this year in the USA and the 5th in Alaska.  27 people die in avalanche on average each year in the USA.

Liam is described as a scholar, athlete, and lover of the outdoors.

Snowbird Glacier, Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska. photo: mountain guide Joe Stock
Snowbird Glacier, Talkeetna Mountains, Alaska. photo: mountain guide Joe Stock

About Dr. Liam Walsh:

Just last year, Dr. Liam Walsh moved to Alaska with his father in search of a new life in the mountains and snow.  According to his father, Robert, Liam loved to ski, loved the outdoors, and moved to Alaska to pursue the outdoor lifestyle.

Liam’s life will be celebrated at a service in the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY on Sunday.  Liam grew up in New York and went to high school at Saratoga Springs High School.

Liam had been skiing since age 3, loved the outdoors, and moved to Alaska for the fishing, hunting, hiking, and skiing.

“He was always either outside or studying.”

“He’d do anything to be out there, and Alaska was the place of his dreams.” – Robert Walsh, Liam’s father

Liam Walsh worked at Alaska Regional Hospital in Wasilla and helped develop a part-time clinic in Juneau since moving to Alaska last year.

Dr. Liam Walsh.
Dr. Liam Walsh.

Liam played soccer in college at University of Albany and the Univerity of New Paltz.  He received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center and was a resident at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH.

Upon finishing his residency, Liam moved to Alaska.  Less than a year later, Liam is presumed dead by avalanche on Hatcher Pass, Alaska.  Liam was last seen climbing up slope off Hatcher Pass at 2pm on November 22nd, 2015.

“He did live a full life.  That’s what he was all about.” – Robert Walsh, Liam’s father

Pin = Hatcher Pass, AK
Pin = Hatcher Pass, AK

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