Location: Kebler Pass Area
Date of Observation: 12/06/2018
Subject: Human Triggered Avalanche
Human Triggered Avalanche. 2 caught and carried, none buried.
Weather: Temps were in the mid 20’s, predominately OVC skies, at the time of the slide S-1 squalls where passing through, although about 20 min prior to activity there was a very brief, but noticeably warm break in the cloud cover. Creeper wind loading previous days with minimal new snow.
Snowpack: We had a skier triggered slide on 12/6 at 2:30 PM, west facing, ~11,000’, mid 30’s slope, Sunset Left/Outer Limits Interface. ASu-SS-R1-D2-O 125cm max crown height, ~25’ wide and ran ~200’ in a very narrow path thru a few woods at the start zone, max debris around 150cm. One guide was caught, lost gear and has a minor back injury, but able to work. We are grateful.
Control teams had been thru that zone (and surrounding runs) previous days with hand shots and 7lbAnfo Airblast shots (7lbs Info w 2lbs of Dyno) and singles. That morning, our Control team had been thru Sunset Left with hand shots. We also placed Anfo charges on adjacent slopes, at that same elevation, that produced no results. I personally skied just below the start zone that morning to check the area prior to sending packers in there.
Second lap, our team spread out a bit, Guide #1 went into an adjacent pocket. He noticed it was deeper then normal and proceeded to pull his shovel out to take a look at the structure. One packer followed him in and then Guide #2 skied in, they all felt a collapse and the pocket pulled out above Guide #2 who was slightly below the other 2 skiers. Guide 1 grabbed his pack to put back on, lost his shovel, but had eyes on the whole time. Guide 2 and packer were caught, packer was tangled for a moment but found edges and skied out. Guide 2 fell forward, grabbed a tree, but was pulled off and somersaulted a few times down the slope before landing up right facing downhill in the debris pile. He was buried to his knees, lost all ski gear, and at the time, felt shaken but injury free. He later has been dealing with a sore back.