Local Avalanche Incidents

A report about this accident can be found on the CAIC website, here.

There is something to learn from every accident. Perhaps the biggest take-away from this one is that large terrain can have serious consequences. A key here is that this terrain was not all that steep or extreme, but actually more manageable than some of the slopes that could have been ridden nearby. Sadly that fact did not reduce the danger in this case, as we have come to see through hindsight.

Human factors play a role in every avalanche incident, and this is no exception. The terrain, weather, and snowpack combine to create instability, but danger does not exist until you throw humans into the equation.

As we make decisions in the backcountry, it is important to remember our human factors and try to account for how they may influence our judgment and our risk perception. In the end, we can never eliminate risk entirely, only mitigate it to a satisfactory level. The best way to do this is to choose terrain carefully, assess the danger on each slope, and travel one-at-a-time through areas of risk.