Lake Louise Avalanche Takes The Lives of 2 Boston Snowshoers

Chris Wallner | Post Tag for BackcountryBackcountry | Post Tag for AvalancheAvalanche
2 individuals snowshoeing in Lake Louise, Alberta. Image: Banff Lake Louise

At around 10:30am on Friday, March 17th, 2017, the bodies of two Boston snowshoers were recovered after being buried by an avalanche 20 minutes north of Lake Louise. The victims were a 32-year-old male and female from Boston, MA. It is believed that the two individuals were caught in an avalanche on Sunday, March 12th, 2017 as they were last seen at breakfast at their hotel on Saturday Morning.

“The RCMP has been in regular contact with the families of the deceased since we began our investigation on Tuesday and on behalf of the RCMP, I want to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends who lost their loved ones,” said Cpl. Curtis Peters.

Avalanche details. Image: Parks Canada

It was initially reported on Tuesday that the individuals hadn’t returned to their hotel and that they were snowshoers. Around 3pm that day, search crews located the vehicle of the missing backcountry recreationalists. A helicopter was dispatched to the area and shortly after arriving, they encountered an avalanche and observed that there was a person slightly buried on the top of it. Crews were unable to access the area Wednesday and Thursday due to high avalanche danger.

“We saw avalanches in many areas, running beyond historical boundaries of the avalanche path,” stated Grant Statham, the incident commander for Parks Canada for the recovery operation. “So we were unable to access the site on both days.”

Red Pin= Mount Hector, which is just north of Lake Louise. Image: Google

Just before exiting the area on Tuesday, rescue crews were able to pick up a signal from a transceiver, which revealed that the victims were wearing avalanche beacons. At around 8:30am on Friday, rescue crews were able to access the area thanks to extensive avalanche mitigation. Within 10 minutes into being on site, rescue crews located both victims. Just 20 minutes later, the bodies of both victims had been recovered. This event is another sobering reminder of the dangers of backcountry travel. Our thoughts are with the victims’ family and friends.

“I would like to offer our condolences to all the friends and family of the deceased on behalf of Parks Canada,” Statham said.

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