Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Skier killed outside Girdwood

Photo of Ragged Top from the CNF Avalanche Info Center

ADN reported today a skier was killed in an avalanche on Ragged Top mountain just outside Girdwood. His partner was able to locate him and dig him up using a beacon but he was already dead (not clear if from trauma or asphyxiation). The pair were experienced mountaineers and backcountry skiers, a fact that ironically put them in one of the highest risk groups for backcountry accidents. They were skiing a part of Ragged Top that had not been traveled on all season and the higher elevation they were traveling at created dramatically different conditions from those on the lower slopes. More than a reminder that the backcountry is not a safe place, its good to remember that even the most experienced backcountry travelers are not immune from disaster and even if you can locate someone quickly with a beacon, it may not be enough.


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