30-year old Jamie Vinton-Boot was known in New Zealand as a hero as well as an impressive alpinist.
“When he [Jamie Vinton-Boot] was 21, he was part of a daring rescue in which he, his younger brother and a friend swum 300m out to sea in a strong rip to save a drowning man.
The trio were alerted to the Asian tourist’s plight by one of his relatives, and dived into the Christchurch surf immediately to spend 30 minutes cradling the semi-conscious man back to shore.
They were lauded with praise for their efforts in risking their own lives, and deemed “heroes of the highest degree”, by Constable Richard Scott, who arrived on the scene soon after.” – stuff.co.nz
Yesterday at 8:35am, Jamie was struck by an avalanche just beyond the boundaries of the Remarkables ski resort near Queensland, New Zealand. The avalanche was around 1 foot deep and only 12 feet wide. The small avalanche struck Jamie and caused him to fall 500 meters (1600 feet) down the mountainside.
Jamies companion wasn’t hit by the avalanche and was completely uninjured in the incident and was able to reach Jamie and call for help. Unfortunately Jamie was deceased by the time his buddy got to him.
Jamie was a very experienced climber. He’d started climbing at age 17 and had climbed at a vey high standard.
“Jamie Vinton-Boot is an outstanding climber of this generation and one of New Zealand’s most gifted alpinists.
He has completed numerous first ascents in New Zealand of an extremely high standard. These were often undertaken with his unique, self-imposed ‘the line of most resistance’ style and ethos.” – New Zealand Alpine Club general manager Sam Newton
The avalanche that swept Jamie away was a wind slab avalanche.
“We’ve got a very firm layer underneath and then a little bit of snow over the last 24 to 36 hours and a lot of wind associated with that means that the snow gets transported by the wind.
“That wind transported snow doesn’t bond very well to the layer below it, especially if the layer was a very firm layer which it was. So it doesn’t take a lot of weight on top of it to trigger an avalanche…especially with a steep gully.” – Andrew Hobman of the Mountain Safety Council told the New Zealand Herald
Of all the avalanche fatalities recorded in New Zealand in the past 100 years, 55% of them have been climbers.