A 28-year old Bozeman man died in a small avalanche Saturday afternoon, just north of Big Sky, Montana.
Jens Anderson, along with three friends, was skiing the Hanging Garden couloir on Beehive Peak. Anderson went first and triggered the slide. He was swept over a large rock face, and tragically died of trauma.
Madison County Sheriff Roger Thompson said Anderson’s brother, a physician, was one of the three men skiing along with him. Anderson’s brother pronounced him dead at the scene.
A member of the party made a long climb to a ridge top in order to make a cell phone call to 911. Rescuers were able to find a short window in the weather to access the site via helicopter to evacuate Mr. Anderson before wind and snow closed in.
According to GNFAC, the group of four had been watching the weather all week and reading the avalanche advisory in order to find the perfect conditions.
“They had done everything right,” says a representative from GNFAC. “They had reduced their risk as small as you possibly can on this terrain. The problem is, we can’t bring it down to zero.”
“They were an experienced group who all had avalanche training. The victim was a very conservative decision maker in terms of avalanches. The avalanche was a small wind slab that broke up to a foot deep and was at most 20 feet wide. They had not seen any signs of instability and to their best knowledge the couloir appeared to be free of any wind affected or wind deposited snow.”
Our thoughts are with the victim’s family and friends.