A 32-year-old snowmobiler Daniel Sethness was killed by an avalanche yesterday near Crested Butte, CO. He was Colorado first avalanche fatality this winter.
The avalanche occurred near 11,000-feet on Ruby Mountain on an east, southeast face. The avalanche was 3-feet deep, 500-feet wide, and ran for 250-vertical-feet on a 32-42º slope.
According to the Crested Butte Avalanche Center, Daniel was extracted from being fully buried, resuscitated, and taken to the nearest hospital where he died last night.
“At approximately 13:45 [yesterday], two people riding “Canadian” on a snowmobile unintentionally triggered a large soft slab avalanche that failed in old snow layers. SS-AMu-R3-D2-O. One of the riders was buried in a tree well. Members of the group responded and extracted the victim. Irwin Guides responded shortly after and evacuated the victim while performing CPR. The crown was ~1 meter thick on average, and estimated 500 feet wide and ran 250 vertical feet. The slab failed on a layer of facets above a thin melt-freeze crust (Jan 14th crust). See profile. The slope was an ESE aspect near treeline at 11,000 feet. Above the burial location, the crown pulled back to 32 degrees, and the slope was as steep as 42 degrees along this vertical transect.” – Crested Butte Avalanche Center
Police spokeswoman Marjorie Trautman reports that Daniel was with 3 others when the avalanche happened.
“The group was reported to have been using a snowmobile to tow a snowboarder off of a jump when the slide broke loose.” police said in a news release.
Avalanche danger was rated at “Considerable” at the time of the avalanche yesterday. “Considerable” is the avalanche rating the most people die under.
Last winter, 12 people were caught in avalanches in CO and 3 of them were killed. 8 people have been caught in avalanches this winter in CO.
This was the first avalanche death of the winter in Colorado and the 9th in the USA this winter. That total may rise when missing the three missing currently people are determined to have died form avalanches. A doctor at Hatcher Pass AK, a ski instructor at Donner Pass, CA and now a hiker at St. Mary’s glacier, CO.