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Thread: Missing Skier Found Dead In NH After Being Buried By Avalanche

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    Missing Skier Found Dead In NH After Being Buried By Avalanche

    A skier was located buried under 13-feet of snow after rescuers searched for the missing man in the Ammonoosuc Ravine in New Hampshire

    https://patch.com/new-hampshire/acro...uried-avalance

    https://www.unionleader.com/news/saf...3e5d190ca.html

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/04/us/ne...rnd/index.html

    Tim
    Last edited by bikehikeskifish; 02-04-2021 at 06:34 AM.
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    In a recent post peakbagger described how although we have not had a significant snowstorm north of the notches for some time, this area has been piling up snow bit by bit despite the frequent rain/thaws up to this point this winter. I have been curious about others snow totals in this region from the last storm that only brought us 4 or 5 inches (stretched over 72 hours or so ending early this morning) in my nearby neighborhood. I wanted to call a friend at the Cog yesterday to see how much they got with increased elevation and a similar cardinal orientation- but didn't get around to it.

    Yup they are real mountains, just like out west. Sorry for the victims.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish View Post
    A skier was located buried under 13-feet of snow after rescuers searched for the missing man in the Ammonoosuc Ravine in New Hampshire

    https://patch.com/new-hampshire/acro...uried-avalance

    https://www.unionleader.com/news/saf...3e5d190ca.html

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/04/us/ne...rnd/index.html

    Tim
    Wow, how awful.

    The reports above seem to imply that this skier was solo. They also say he was well prepared because he had a functioning avi transceiver.

    But what is the benefit of an avi transceiver to a solo skier when there is no one nearby to quickly locate and dig him out?

    Aside from making recovery of the body quicker and easier, does it also provide a false sense of security????
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    A tough one for the family. If I remember correctly there was a solo BC skier rescue during a weekday last year in Raymond Cataract area that was rescued by a backcountry ranger that happened to be somewhere in the area and heard a slide and decided to go check things out just in case. I cannot remember if the rescued skier had a beacon. I think the intent of beacons is they only work if the skier is in party that can respond quickly. Unlike the small area on Washington that is patrolled the rest of the whites are not.

    I do think that there are locals who ski backcountry areas during the weekday solo. Beyond wearing an airbag device or maybe a avy lung, not much a solo skier can do except avoid the temptation.

    I do not pretend to be an avalanche expert but when I look at my various snowpiles around the house I see a distinct layer cake structure of multiple recent storms. Temps have been borderline around freezing so I do not know if these layers have fused together or not. I have had a several day stretch where my plow guy was visiting once or twice a day to deal with snowfalls that were a result of the local mountains wringing out some moisture.

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    I was thinking/wondering if there would be a statement of evaluation of the snowpack that you usually get from the snow rangers when this happens in the drainages they patrol, I don't think the CO's have this training or ability with this but maybe from one of the highly trained/experienced rescuers team members?

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    Senior Member skiguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    A tough one for the family. If I remember correctly there was a solo BC skier rescue during a weekday last year in Raymond Cataract area that was rescued by a backcountry ranger that happened to be somewhere in the area and heard a slide and decided to go check things out just in case. I cannot remember if the rescued skier had a beacon. I think the intent of beacons is they only work if the skier is in party that can respond quickly. Unlike the small area on Washington that is patrolled the rest of the whites are not.

    I do think that there are locals who ski backcountry areas during the weekday solo. Beyond wearing an airbag device or maybe a avy lung, not much a solo skier can do except avoid the temptation.

    I do not pretend to be an avalanche expert but when I look at my various snowpiles around the house I see a distinct layer cake structure of multiple recent storms. Temps have been borderline around freezing so I do not know if these layers have fused together or not. I have had a several day stretch where my plow guy was visiting once or twice a day to deal with snowfalls that were a result of the local mountains wringing out some moisture.
    If this was the incident you are referring to it was also unfortunately a fatality. https://mountwashingtonavalanchecent...mond-cataract/
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    Thanks for the correction and the link.

    I think there is concerted effort not to comment on avalanche conditions outside the staffed USFS ravines.

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    This is sad to hear, at least they found him and the family will have closure. Having been in an avalanche myself, it is quite scary.

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    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    The skier was Ian Forgays, from Vermont's Mad River Valley, who was well-known in the Northeast ski community, and had a vast amount of experience skiing challenging terrain in the Greens, Whites, and Adirondacks. (Source: His friends' posts on the TGR Forum & Facebook.)
    Last edited by TEO; 02-04-2021 at 02:07 PM.

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    Senior Member DayTrip's Avatar
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    There have been a lot of posts about avalanche danger being very high in the region. The High Summits Forecast even led with an "avalanche warning" a day or two ago, which I took as an effort to reach a broader audience about the danger level and avoid incidents like this one. Been a lot of articles about unprepared hikers flocking to the bowls this season. I'm no expert either but the current types of conditions sound like classic high risk set ups. I haven't been up there in quite awhile but I know even in my yard shoveling yesterday the snow clumped and made natural blocks quite easily. If it's like that in the ravines I'd imagine it's nasty up there.
    “Sometimes when you’ve lost something in your life that matters, the only thing left to do is go and find it.” Renan Ozturk

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    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    Yes, this is a sad event. Condolences to those connected with the victim.

    Going alone into avy terrain is de facto being "unprepared." Yes, there are some new gizmos like floatation packs, etc., but the only real "preparation" for an avy incident is trained other members of your party to find you and dig you out, preferably really fast (like less than 30 minutes). If you are solo, the transceiver only supports body recovery.

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    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayTrip View Post
    There have been a lot of posts about avalanche danger being very high in the region. The High Summits Forecast even led with an "avalanche warning" a day or two ago, which I took as an effort to reach a broader audience about the danger level and avoid incidents like this one. Been a lot of articles about unprepared hikers flocking to the bowls this season. I'm no expert either but the current types of conditions sound like classic high risk set ups. I haven't been up there in quite awhile but I know even in my yard shoveling yesterday the snow clumped and made natural blocks quite easily. If it's like that in the ravines I'd imagine it's nasty up there.
    If the UL story is accurate and the poor guy was 13 feet deep in debris that was a BIG avalanche. Bigger than most that run on the east side .
    Nobody told me there'd be days like these
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    Could friends even dig you out of 13 feet of concrete avalanche snow?

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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NHClimber View Post
    Could friends even dig you out of 13 feet of concrete avalanche snow?
    Without probes and shovels, it would be a tall task.

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    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    Going alone into avy terrain is de facto being "unprepared."
    That is as subjective as saying that hiking alone is being unprepared, or bushwhacking, backcountry skiing, or backcountry skiing at night alone is being unprepared. Are the risks and consequences different? Absolutely. "De facto 'unprepared'"? Nonsense! While we don't know what mistakes Mr. Forgays made, I can assure you that he understood the risks and consequences of his actions, and the capabilities of his transceiver.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisB View Post
    If the UL story is accurate and the poor guy was 13 feet deep in debris that was a BIG avalanche. Bigger than most that run on the east side .
    While 13' is deep is deep, based on the geography of Ammonoosuc Ravine—while broad at the top, it funnels down to a narrow drainage—I'm not surprised. I could see the debris pile from a bigger avalanche in Tucks or Gos not being nearly as deep.

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