5 die in CO avalanche - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-20-2013   #1
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5 die in CO avalanche

Bad news

Sheriff: 5 snowboarders killed in Colo. avalanche

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Old 04-20-2013   #2
 
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Thanks for posting this Dana. I drove over the pass this morning and can't help but wonder if any of the boarders I saw were among the victims. My condolences to the families and friends.
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Old 04-20-2013   #3
 
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Can someone explain why the deep weak layers broke only now and not earlier? Why didn't the deep layers firm up? Do they get weaker over the winter from transpiration that happens over the cold winter? Does the extra loading from recent storms just put too much weight on the layers?
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Old 04-21-2013   #4
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I've always been told Loveland Pass is 'safe' for the newbie backcountry boarder to earn some turns without avy gear. I've always known better, unfortunately this proves it.

My regards to the family and friends...
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Old 04-21-2013   #5
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Loveland Pass Avalanche Kills 5 Experienced Backcountry Snowboarders Mountain Weekly NewsMountain Weekly News

Mountain Weekly News is reporting that there were at least a couple well respected, highly trained backcountry boarders.
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Old 04-21-2013   #6
 
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this is super sad. I'm bet it wasn't the first rider or the first lap even. The reason the slope might have failed is because there was significant weight and energy added to the load resting on faceted snow. typical colo snowpack. slopes near and above tree line especially facing north haven't received enough warmth to settle creating significant hazard with the new snow. other aspects and elevations maybe more stable.
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Old 04-21-2013   #7
 
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Porkchop's right in describing a typical Colorado snowpack and the mechanisms that makes it so dangerous. The CAIC description in the article Tindel linked says a lot too. One thing a lot of folks forget is that the snowpack is dynamic and changes not only from day to day but from hour to hour, and even by the minute. For example, even if someone tracked a slope in the morning, later in the day warmer temperatures can cause melting at the surface resulting in percolation of water to weaker layers which primes them to fail. Even without percolation, slight warming can weaken the icy bonds between grains of snow and weaken the snowpack.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tindel View Post
I've always been told Loveland Pass is 'safe' for the newbie backcountry boarder to earn some turns without avy gear.
This is total BS - avalanches have killed skiers/boarders on Loveland Pass for decades that I can remember. Any slope that's steep enough to be challenging, deep enough to ski, and long enough to get more than a couple of turns on is steep enough, deep enough, and big enough to kill you. And if trees are spaced enough to ride through, the snow can avalanche. Yes, there are always exceptions to this depending on conditions and terrain, but it's still something a lot of folks don't consider or choose to ignore.

My heart aches for these boarders' community.

No turns are worth your life.

-AH
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Old 04-21-2013   #8
 
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victims identified

According to the updated Associated Press report:

The sheriff on Sunday identified the victims as

Christopher Peters, 32, of Lakewood;
Joseph Timlin, 32, of Gypsum;
Ryan Novack, 33, of Boulder;
Ian Lanphere, 36, of Crested Butte; and
Rick Gaukel, 33, of Estes Park.

Very sad.


EDIT - the survivor is Jerome Boulay
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Old 04-21-2013   #9
 
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a sobering report. Colorado authorities identify 5 riders killed in Loveland Pass avalanche - X Games

RIP brothers and condolences to all who lost.
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Old 04-23-2013   #10
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Rough year

I've recently seen photos of big slides at Jones, Loveland, and Snowmass going all the way to the ground. The weak base is losing the battle to the heavy spring load and more snow is coming.

The question I have is do you think runoff is slower in a slide area than where it would normally stay exposed over a larger area?
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