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Sad news - Skier killed by avalanche in Sierra Nevada

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Sad news - Skier killed by avalanche in Sierra Nevada

Postby copeg » Thu Feb 02, 2006 6:24 pm

Skier killed by avalanche in Sierra Nevada, two survive
-
Thursday, February 2, 2006

(02-02) 16:02 PST Bridgeport, Calif. (AP) --

An avalanche in the Sierra Nevada killed a skier and injured two others, authorities said Thursday.

A 31-year-old Mammoth Lakes woman with a broken back, broken leg and other injuries was pronounced dead Wednesday after being flown to a Fresno hospital, said Shannon Kendall, spokeswoman for the Mono County Sheriff's Department.

The victim's identity was not immediately released pending notification of relatives.

Joshua Feinburg, 30, and Christopher J. Pearson, 27, both of Mammoth Lakes, survived.

The three friends were skiing in the back country near Black Smith Canyon in the Twin Lakes area when they were caught in the avalanche, Kendall said.

"All three skiers were extremely experienced and carried avalanche beacons with them," Kendall said.

Pearson was able to hold on to a tree until it subsided, then dug his friends out of the snow and moved them to a safer location, she said.

Feinburg was not breathing but Pearson cleared his airway and he revived. He had a large cut to his jaw that was treated after his rescue.

The woman slipped in and out of consciousness, Kendall said.

Pearson skied about a half-hour to Mono Village and used a store telephone to call for help. Sheriff's deputies and more than a dozen members of the volunteer search and rescue team went to the remote area with snowmobiles, snowshoes and first aid equipment, Kendall said.

Bridgeport is 184 miles east of San Francisco.


URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f ... 243S96.DTL

My thoughts go out to the victims and their families.



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Postby Snow Nymph » Thu Feb 02, 2006 11:36 pm

They are all Mammoth ski patrollers. :( :( :(
RIP
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby SSSdave » Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:14 am

What a horrible tragedy! :( RIP

That area is of course a famous area for mountaineers. Extremely susceptible to avalanches because the quite gnarly sides of the small canyon are extremely steep with any snow coming off those steep sides tending to funnel into the narrow center of the canyon and then down its steep throat. This time of year there would doubtless be quite a lot of dry light powder snows at those 10k to 12k elevations so snow falling off any of those walls could be a disaster. ...David

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an updated story

Postby Snow Nymph » Fri Feb 03, 2006 1:53 pm

Covers Mammoth Like The Snow

Woman Ski Patroller Killed; Two Other Patrollers Hurt In Avalanche
by George Shirk
A woman was killed and two Mammoth men suffered injuries in an avalanche in the backcountry above Bridgeport on Wednesday, Feb. 1, a Mono County Sheriff's Department spokesperson said.

The woman was identified as Sara Johanna Carlsson, 31, of Mammoth.

Carlsson and both men were off-duty Ski Patrollers, according to Joani Lynch, communications director at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

Carlsson, a native of Sweden, was pronounced dead at University Hospital near Fresno, where she was airlifted from the scene of the accident.

"It should be noted that all three skiers were extremely experienced," said Shannon Kendall, the public information officer for the sheriff's department.

"It is likely that the warmer temperatures contributed to the avalanche."

Investigators said they were notified of the accident by Christopher J. (C.J.) Pearson, 27, of Mammoth, after the slide near Blacksmith Canyon in the Twin Lakes area.

He had been skiing with Carlsson and Joshua Feinburg, 30, also of Mammoth, when the slide broke loose. Pearson said he was able to hold onto a tree until the avalanche subsided, but the others were trapped.

Pearson told emergency rescue personnel that at first he could see neither Feinburg nor Carlsson, but on closer inspection he saw Feinburg to the left of the slide, his backpack exposed, and the Carlsson to the right of the slide, on top of the snow.

Pearson said Feinburg was not breathing when he first got to him, but was revived upon having his airway cleared.

Feinburg's most serious injury was a large cut to his lower jaw.

Carlsson suffered a broken femur, broken back and head contusions and was drifting in and out of consciousness.

Pearson managed to ski to the Mono Village store area to use a telephone and notify authorities.

Feinburg also got down the mountain by himself with an escort by search-and-rescue teams.

Unable to get Carlsson out on foot, she was airlifted by a helicopter crew from Mather Airfield, situated near Fresno.

Kendall said many law enforcement personnel from the Mono County Sheriff's Department, as well as at least 13 members from the volunteer Search and Rescue responded, bringing with them snowmobiles, snowshoes, skis, first aid supplies and life saving equipment.
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby copeg » Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:06 am

from http://esavalanche.org
Blacksmith Creek Avalanche Fatality: 1 triggered, 3 caught, 1 killed.

February 1, 2006.

Written by Sue Burak, Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center

SYNPOSIS

On Wednesday morning, three skiers were switch-backing up a 35-40 degree east-facing slope in route to Mt. Walt in the Blacksmith Creek drainage. Blacksmith Creek is west of Twin Lakes in the Bridgeport area. At an elevation of approximately 9,600 ft., the group stopped in a stand of whitebark pines. At this location, the slope angle was 40 degrees and the aspect changed from east to northeast in a shallow gully that was approximately 125 ft across. In order to attain the ridgeline, it was necessary to cross the gully had to be crossed.

Two skiers stayed in the whitebark pine glade as the other skier began to cross the slope. As the skier was crossing the slope, he triggered a small avalanche that propagated across the slope. This small avalanche resulted in a larger avalanche that propagated up and down under the ridgeline. The linear distance was about 400 vertical feet. All three were caught in the slide that released in the gully and above them. One skier managed to hold onto a tree until the avalanche stopped. The skier that triggered the slide was swept downslope approximately 800 vertical feet. The female skier was swept approximately 600 vertical feet through the whitebark pine glade and onto the open slope below. The male skier was partially buried in the main portion of the debris with his head below the snow surface and his pack on the snow surface. The female skier was on the snow surface on a separate lobe of avalanche debris.

The avalanche released on northeast to northwest aspects at 9,600 ft. The crown was not visible due to wind loading in the shallow gully. The avalanche ran 1,600 long, 900 ft vertical and was 50 feet across at the toe of the avalanche.

The slope failed on a 2 cm wind crust of knife hardness. Total depth was 215 cm.
Photos will be posted in the Gallery

Again, my condolences to the friends and family.
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