Mountains Rescue Aspen Member Killed in Avalanche Just Outside Aspen Ski Resort, CO Yesterday

AvyBrains | BackcountryBackcountry | AvalancheAvalanche
Image of the deadly avalanche in Maroon Bowl near Aspen Highlands yesterday. image: caic

A current member of Mountain Rescue Aspen was killed in an avalanche while off duty in Maroon Bowl just west of Aspen Highlands ski resort, CO yesterday – April 8th, 2018.

He was killed after being “raked through the trees” while traveling in the avalanche.

This skier accessed Maroon Bowl with one ski partner via the Aspen Highlands lifts – ie sidecountry skiers.

Aspen Highlands ski patrollers witnessed the avalanche.

The two skiers were skinning uphill when the avalanche was triggered and came down on them.  The other skier was able to free himself from the avalanche and climb up to his friend  who had hit a tree.  CRP was administered unsuccessfully and the skier who hit the tree did not survive.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) had issued an Avalanche Warning for the Aspen, CO region from 6am on April 8th until 6am on April 9th (see below).

The body is scheduled to be recovered today, Monday, since the terrain was “deemed too unsafe to attempt a recovery effort on Sunday” by officials.

This was the 20th avalanche death in the USA this winter.

The USA averages 27 avalanche deaths per winter, according to the CAIC.

image: mountain rescue aspen

PITKIN COUNTRY SHERIFF’S OFFICE NEWS RELEASE:

Maroon Bowl Avalanche

Pitkin County, Colorado – 04/08/2018 – On April 8th, 2018 at approximately 1428 hours, a Search and Rescue call came into the Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center (Dispatch) from the Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol for an avalanche in the area of the Maroon Bowl. The call was for two skiers caught in an avalanche outside of the Aspen Highlands ski area boundary. The party consisted of two skiers skiing in the backcountry off of the top of Maroon Bowl which is located approximately 7 miles from the city of Aspen.

Aspen Highlands ski patrol members witnessed the slide and were able to confirm that there was movement at the tail end of the slide. After talking to the reporting party, it was learned that the skiers were skinning uphill on skis in the Maroon Bowl when the avalanche broke loose. Both skiers were caught in the avalanche and “raked through the trees”, according to the reporting party. Only one of the skiers exited the slide path, which is where Ski Patrol lost visual sight of the second skier.

The second skier was able to communicate with Ski Patrol via cell phone and was able to climb back up hill and reach the skier who had been caught in the avalanche. It appears that the skier caught in the slide hit a tree. Unfortunately, despite resuscitation efforts, the skier caught in the slide did not survive.

Mountain Rescue Aspen was notified of the avalanche/incident and promptly began to organize a search and rescue effort. Upon further investigation of the parties involved, it was tragically discovered that the deceased skier was a current member of Mountain Rescue Aspen.

The terrain and conditions were deemed too unsafe to attempt a recovery effort on Sunday. The second skier was able to slowly ski out downhill on his own after sustaining several non-life threatening injuries.

Recovery efforts will continue as soon as Monday if weather and safety conditions allow.

For more information contact:
Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office
970-920-5310

image: caic, yesterday

CAIC AVALANCHE WARNING:

An Avalanche Warning is in effect for the following zones:

-Aspen
-Gunnison

Issued: 04/8/2018 6:00 AM
Expires: 04/09/2018 6:00 AM

An unusually wet and warm weather system has produced very dangerous avalanche conditions in the Aspen and Gunnison zones. Large and very large natural and triggered avalanches are likely at all elevations. These may involve wet snow or fresh slabs of new and drifted snow, and they may break on old weak layers buried deep in the snowpack or near the ground. All slides have the potential to entrain dense, wet snow and be unusually destructive. Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended.

An Avalanche Watch is in effect for the following zone:

-Grand Mesa

Issued: 04/8/2018 6:00 AM
Expires: 04/09/2018 12:00 PM

A Special Avalanche Advisory is in effect for the following zones:

-Steamboat & Flat Tops
-Front Range
-Vail & Summit County
-Sawatch Range

Issued: 04/8/2018 6:00 AM
Expires: 04/09/2018 12:00 PM

image: CAIC

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