Man Fully Buried in 4-Foot Deep Avalanche in Alaska Yesterday

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Avalanche that fully buried a snowmobiler in the Eastern Alaska Range, AK yesterday. photo: Eastern Alaska Range Avalanche Cetner
Avalanche that fully buried a snowmobiler in the Eastern Alaska Range, AK yesterday. photo: Eastern Alaska Range Avalanche Cetner

A 3-4 foot deep avalanche in the eastern Alaska Range fully buried a snowmobiler this weekend.

 The victim rode through the creek below Courage when the slope fractured on the bench a hundred yards above him. The 3-4 foot thick slab engulfed him at the bottom.” – Eastern Alaska Range Avalanche Center

Fortunately, when the avalanche came to rest, the buried man’s hand was sticking out of the snow and his friends were able to locate and extract him quickly.  This guy was very lucky.

  • Fully Buried = airway (nose & mouth) under snow
  • Partially Buried = airway above snow
Avalanche that fully buried a snowmobiler in the Eastern Alaska Range, AK yesterday. photo: Eastern Alaska Range Avalanche Cetner
Avalanche that fully buried a snowmobiler in the Eastern Alaska Range, AK yesterday. photo: Eastern Alaska Range Avalanche Cetner

The avalanche victim and his companions had avalanche transceivers and avalanche gear.

This avalanche was relatively small in size.  This is a great reminder that it doesn’t take much snow to bury and potentially kill a man.

This weekend, the Eastern Alaska Range narrowly avoided tragedy again when for the second time this month a snowmachiner was completely buried in an avalanche in the Summit Lake area. Thankfully, everyone made it out OK.

The avalanche was triggered approximately 100 yards above the snowmachiner as he drove along the base of the slope. He did not have time to deploy his airbag system before the slide enveloped him. Luckily, his hand remained above the surface enough to clear his face.

These may not have been huge “Hollywood” avalanches coursing down mountain sides, but they can be deadly. Even “small” slopes such as the ones in this accident should be treated carefully when the snowpack is unstable.

Stay safe out there folks!

Eastern Alaska Range Avalanche Center


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