April 3, 2011

Hatch Peak Avalanche March 19, 2011

It's hard not to think about the recent avalanche that killed Jim Helling on March 19, 2011, may he rest in peace, and may his family and his ski buddy find solace.

A tragic turn of bad luck and really not predictable with precision, the slide that killed Mr. Helling was a slab of a few feet at its crown.  Skiers and riders were venturing into seemingly more dangerous terrain; several had earlier skied the same slope that slid and caught Mr. Helling and his partner.  We can only hope others may learn a lesson from this sad episode.
Highlighted Fracture Line of 19-Mar-2011 Hatch Peak Slide
Fracture Line of 19-Mar-2011 Hatch Peak Slide

Hatch Peak 19-Mar-2011 Runout Zone
The slide funneled into a narrow ravine where the avalanche material accumulated.  News media reported that Mr. Helling was found beneath 14 to 16 feet of avalanche rubble.  The slide started above Mr. Helling and apparently pulled him into the ravine. 

There were tracks that crossed the starting zone and several ski tracks parallel to the slide path.  A report is posted here with close up pictures and a technical description of the slide.

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