A rare East Coast avalanche burial happened Wednesday morning as a skier on Wildcat-B in Carter Notch in New Hampshire was caught in a slide. Mount Washington Avalanche Center reports the skier was carried about 500 feet before being “critically buried” for more than six minutes.
The buried skier was rescued by his friend after he spotted a hand visible above the snow line and was able to dig him out. The pair was able to self evacuate. The buried skier was not injured. Find the full incident report below:
Mount Washington Avalanche Center Report:
Skier-triggered avalanche; Wildcat B / Carter Notch; 03/15/2023
On Wednesday, March 15th 2023 at approximately 10:00 am, a skier unintentionally triggered a large avalanche on Wildcat B in Carter Notch. They were caught, carried, and critically buried for over 6 minutes before being extracted by a partner and found uninjured. The party of two was able to self-evacuate from the incident. This avalanche path is just 2.5 miles away from the Mount Washington Avalanche Center Presidential Range forecast area. The avalanche danger for the Presidential Range was rated HIGH at middle and upper elevations.
Early in the morning on March 15th, three skiers (Skier A, Skier B, and Skier C) ascended Wildcat Ski Area with the intent of continuing across Wildcat Ridge Trail to access a landslide terrain feature on the east side of Wildcat B in Carter Notch. At the top of Wildcat Ski Area, before continuing to the hiking trail, Skier A accessed the updated MWAC avalanche forecast and read the forecast aloud to the group. Skier A felt that the objective was too risky given the conditions and decided not to continue. Skier A encouraged Skier B and Skier C to reconsider the objective and descend Wildcat Ski Area as a safe alternative. Skier B and Skier C made the decision to continue on the ridge trail to Wildcat B to access the original objective without Skier A. Before splitting up, Skier A loaned their avalanche beacon to Skier B who forgot this piece of rescue equipment. At that point, Skiers B and C both had an avalanche rescue kit: beacon, shovel, and probe.
Once at the top of the intended ski objective, Skiers B and C decided to continue and ski one-at-a-time. Skier C began descending and triggered a large soft slab avalanche at the steepest part of the slope, in an area where a steep ice bulge often forms. They were caught in the moving debris and carried over 500 vertical feet down a narrow, constricting gully. They came to rest fully buried, except for their hand, and were trapped and unable to move under the avalanche debris.
Skier B took out the borrowed avalanche beacon and began a search for their missing partner descending the track of the avalanche. They did not acquire a signal. The reason for not acquiring a signal is unknown. As they approached the debris, they noticed Skier C’s hand visible above the surface of the snow. This clue allowed them to quickly pinpoint their partner’s location and begin digging. Skier B was able to successfully extract their buried partner, who was conscious and not injured. Skier C was completely buried for a total of 6.5 minutes, when Skier B uncovered and secured their airway. After a total of about 15 minutes, Skier C was fully extracted.
images from mwacenter instagram
This article was originally published by Unofficialnetworks.com. Read the original article here.