Two skiers escape injury in avalanche

A pair of skiers were caught in a backcountry avalanche adjacent to Mount Washington Wednesday but managed to escape without injuries.

A pair of skiers were caught in a backcountry avalanche adjacent to Mount Washington Wednesday but managed to escape without injuries.

“One person was taken for a ride,” said Cliff Umpleby, a guide at Island Alpine Guides and a forecaster for the Avalanche Bulletin. “He lost some equipment. It was a near miss. Where the avalanche was going to take him was not a good place. He was very lucky.”

No rescue effort was needed as the skiers dealt with the situation themselves.

Umpleby notes the skiers were in “some pretty serious terrain” Wednesday when the avalanche rating hazard was high.

“The layer of concern that the avalanche initiated on was a layer identified as a weakness,” Umpleby said. “That was our main cause for the hazard, which is exactly what it failed on.”

While warm temperatures Wednesday and Thursday stabilized things, Umpleby said the “potential is still there to trigger something.

“It’s unfortunate that when the ratings are high, these things happen. It could have been totally unavoidable.”

Incident reports are listed at islandavalanchebulletin.com.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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