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Avalanche on Mount Washington

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darwined:
WMUR is reporting two people were hospitalized after an 800' long fall that occurred when they were caught in an avalanche.  Details anyone?

DLottmann:
This was mentioned briefly in today's bulletin which can be found here:

http://www.mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org/2013/12/29/

Specifically:

"Today we continue to have a combined avalanche problem of left over Storm Slabs and Wind Slabs.  Although many bed surfaces in our terrain are still broken up by rock cliffs, turf, and ice bulges limiting their size they are large enough to harbor unstable slabs sensitive to a human trigger.  This was tested last night when 2 hikers came down from summiting Washington and traveled into “the Lip” at dark and triggered an avalanche carrying them down to the floor of the Tuckerman Ravine.  They miraculously survived but sustained injuries requiring rescue during the overnight.  Through history there have been a number of very lucky people in the world, they are now 2 more of them.  More information will be posted in our accidents page later today."

As of right now an additional accident report is not up but I'll share it here when I see it. I have gathered this info, which has not been verified and is speculative:

They climbed up via Lions Head and intended to descend that route. Sometime after leaving the summit they got lost and ended up heading down into the Lip area of Tuckerman's.

The slab avalanche they triggered had a 2 meter crown line at it's highest and ran almost 120 meters horizontal. While those numbers are estimates (and not confirmed yet), they would indicate a F'ing big avalance that would be very unlikely to survive.

Some volunteer rescuers did not get home until 2am.

I'm hoping more details come soon, but preliminary info suggests the party probably started very late or moved very slow to be descending at 7pm. Navigational skills must have been minimal if their intended descent was Lion's Head. If they were planning on descending Lion's Head I find it very plausible they did not consult the avalanche bulletin or were un-aware of the risk they were taking descending the route they did...

Based on what I've heard of the slide it is pretty much a miracle they survived...

Everything other than what I quoted is speculative, and I hope we all get a better sense of what happened here over the next couple days...

Admin Al:
Wow...some lucky folks...

DLottmann:

--- Quote from: darwined on December 29, 2013, 07:49:25 PM ---WMUR is reporting two people were hospitalized after an 800' long fall that occurred when they were caught in an avalanche.  Details anyone?

--- End quote ---

One last point... media, and "us" need to stop saying "were caught in an avalanche".

This implies they did not choose to go there, or trigger it themselves, and it just "happened".

My driver's ed teacher in Highschool used to harp on how people who crashed their car would report it;

"The telephone pole was approaching fast..."

"The little old lady was all over the road before she went under my car"

My point is we use language that protects the victim by passing blame or indicating it was some kind of fluke accident...

They were not "caught" by some random act of nature... they triggered it by going to the wrong place at the wrong time, plain & simple.

lucky luke:

--- Quote from: darwined on December 29, 2013, 07:49:25 PM ---WMUR is reporting two people were hospitalized after an 800' long fall that occurred when they were caught in an avalanche.  Details anyone?

--- End quote ---

They said that: "Sunday’s advisory said that there was a moderate and low avalanche danger in Tuckerman Ravine and that human triggered avalanches were possible."

I think that it is not luck that save them. Climbing up hill in an avalanche slab and you have all the snow which burry you. Going down hill and just few feet of snow is over you if the crost broke at the top. I most say that the trail of Lyon head and lip is very similar. The difference is the cairn. when there is no cairn...it is a problem.

leadership: should we always keep the team together? It look like if the first group had wait for the slower one, even if they are not from the same party, they all had took the good trail. Also, if you are in a party, you most follow the leader. To be a good leader is very hard indeed. 

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