Avalanche Nearly Kills Snowmobiler

Avalanche in the Elk Mountains Leaves Snowmobiler Seriously Injured

DENVER, COLORADO – In a harrowing encounter with the power of nature, a snowmobiler was caught and buried by an avalanche on Wednesday, March 6, in the Elk Mountains, northeast of Lambertson Peak. The incident highlights the ever-present dangers lurking in Colorado’s picturesque winter landscapes.

The victim, whose identity has not been disclosed, suffered serious injuries in the ordeal. Quick action by his partners, who managed to extricate him from the snow’s grip, potentially saved his life. They performed CPR until the arrival of the Crested Butte Mountain Rescue and Western Mountain Rescue Team, who facilitated his evacuation to a waiting ambulance.

The snowmobiler was subsequently transferred to a hospital. The current condition of the victim remains unknown, but hopes for his full recovery are high. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) extends its thoughts to the snowmobiler, his friends, and family during this challenging time.

This season has seen a concerning number of avalanche incidents in Colorado. To date, 12 individuals have been caught in avalanches, four have been buried, and tragically, two have succumbed to their injuries.

The Elk Mountains, where this recent incident occurred, is notably marked by the CAIC as an area of ‘considerable danger,’ with a rating of 3 out of 5 on the avalanche danger scale, due to a persistent slab problem. This rating is expected to remain in place at least through Friday, signaling a higher risk of avalanche activity.

Avalanche Awareness and Safety Tips

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the risks associated with winter sports in avalanche-prone areas. Here are some crucial safety tips for enthusiasts venturing into the backcountry:

  1. Education is Key: Before heading out, familiarize yourself with avalanche safety courses. Knowledge of how to read the terrain and recognize warning signs is crucial.
  2. Check Avalanche Forecasts: Always consult the CAIC or local avalanche forecast centers before planning your trip. Understanding the current conditions can be lifesaving.
  3. Carry the Right Equipment: Ensure you and your party carry avalanche safety gear, including a beacon, probe, and shovel. Knowing how to use this equipment is just as important as having it.
  4. Stay Together: Maintain visual contact with your group members at all times. In case of an avalanche, quick response time is critical.
  5. Plan Your Route Wisely: Avoid areas known for avalanche risks, such as steep slopes, terrain traps, and areas beneath cornices.
  6. Learn Rescue Techniques: In the unfortunate event of an avalanche, knowing how to efficiently search for and dig out victims can make the difference between life and death.

 

The beauty of Colorado’s mountains can be as dangerous as it is breathtaking. As we continue to seek the thrill of winter sports, let’s not forget the importance of preparation, caution, and respect for the natural forces at play.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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