View of the Gray Creek Pass area in summer. photo: Jager/advrider.com
On Tuesday March 11, a snowmobiler was killed while riding in the Gray Creek Pass area of the Kootenays. Neither snowmobilers were equipped with any avalanche gear, making partner rescue a shot in the dark.
The other party member, the victim’s 53 year old father in law was able to escape the slide. The man called Search and Rescue around 2:30pm. Both Nelson and Kimberly Search and Rescue launched helicopters and responded to the call. The buried victim was located and recovered 3-4 hours after Search and Rescue arrived on the scene. Resuscitation was attempted and the man was flown to a waiting ambulance, but was pronounced dead on arrival.
The town of Gray Creek is flagged, slide was in terrain to the East, no specific location has been published. photo: Google Maps
At the time of the slide the victim was on a logging road when the slide released above him and buried him. On the 11th the avalanche danger was listed as considerable, with the chance of rider triggered avalanches stepping down to persistent weak layers. Both snowmobilers are from Crawford Bay, B.C. and were riding together at the time of the avalanche.
The Gray Creek Pass area is located on the East shore of Kootenay Lake, approximately 20 miles East of Nelson. This is the second avalanche fatality in the Kootenays in as many weeks, after a 27 year old Nelson man was killed in a backcountry skiing on Februay 23 on Kootenay Pass. This season’s total in Canada reported by the Canadian Avalanche Center indicates 6 killed in avalanches, but this most recent event will bring that number to 7.