Full Break Down of Colorado Avalanche that Killed 5 | “Lessons Learned” by Outside Mag

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The avalanche'scrow
The deadly avalanche’s crown was 8 feet deep in spots.  photo:  CAIC

As the shock and remorse of the April 26th deadly Colorado avalanche tragedy wain, we begin our look into what happened and why.  We look at how this terrible incident could have been avoided and how we can learn from it to avoid such tragedies in the future.

Outside magazine has written an in-depth report about the April 26th avalanche in Colorado that took 5 lives.  It was deadliest avalanche in Colorado in over 50 years.  In the article, we learn that the victims were not beginners.  They were trained in backcountry travel and had decades of experience between them.

Read the full Outside Magazine report:  Colorado’s Loveland Pass Avalanche:  Lessons Learned

The avalache's
The avalanche’s crown with trigger points circled.  photo:  CAIC

“ON ANY GIVEN SATURDAY you might find dozens upon dozens of skiers and snowboarders on Loveland Pass, home to some of the most accessible backcountry terrain in the country. Plenty of those riders have little to no backcountry training or experience, and plenty of them ride with little to no backcountry equipment. The men who died in Saturday’s slide were not those guys.” 

- Colin Bane/outsidemagazine

“These weren’t just some yahoos throwing an event,” emphasizes David Carrier Porcheron, Joe Timlin’s brother-in-law and owner of YES Snowboards, where Timlin was transitioning to a new position as head engineer. “Joe was definitely aware of the dangers of backcountry snowboarding—he’d made it his life— and everyone in that crew was fully aware of the specific dangers that day. After assessing the risk, they opted to take a shorter hike they thought would be safer.” – Colin Bane/outsidemagazine

Full avalanche path
Full avalanche path.  photo:  CAIC

“SATURDAY’S DEATHS WILL BRING NEW SCRUTINY to the growing community of backcountry enthusiasts, and to the gear industry supporting their off-piste pursuits. And nagging questions surrounding the safety of backcountry skiing resurface: Is backcountry education able to mitigate the level of risk riders take on? Or even more unsettling, is backcountry awareness and the availability of new backcountry equipment fostering a false sense of security?”  

- Colin Bane/outsidemagazine

Read the full Outside Magazine report:  Colorado’s Loveland Pass Avalanche:  Lessons Learned

Lets all learn from this one and do everything we can to make sure that neither our friends nor ourselves end up in a situation like this.

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3 thoughts on “Full Break Down of Colorado Avalanche that Killed 5 | “Lessons Learned” by Outside Mag

  1. reading the ciac report, again I am stunned by the ambiguity of their reporting. first it says that the only way to avoid the danger of deep persistent slab avalanches is to ‘avoid areas that have the slab’. (this seems to be accurate) then it says the only way to avoid the danger is through ‘careful route finding’. horrible. how about the government hiring people who can clearly communicate what they know ?

    the other issue for me is that their rating sytem is ambiguous also. A ciac guy said that most people are killed during the “considerable” level of danger, a level of danger many people think they are willing to accept. what is the need for several designations for high danger? just muddies the waters.

    not blaming them directly, but suggest saving some tax money by firing all the policy making level people now and finding people who can accomplish goals, not just feather their own nest.

  2. I met joe at snowbasin and he was one rad dude but honestly going out that late in the season after it had warmed up was a truly poor decision by everyone involved. Sad, truly sad. Rip to all 5.

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