Today we rode up Red Meadow Cr. to take a look at the reported skier triggered avalanche from 2/20.
On this slope, snowfall from the last few weeks and recent winds formed a 1F hard slab over a persistent weak layer that formed in early February (i.e. persistent slab). The reporting skier was ascending the slope solo and triggered the avalanche approximately 25 feet from below the crown line. He triggered the slide from a convex rollover on the slope and close to the bottom of the cliff band. He was carried downhill and to the skiers right as the avalanche failed; he was strained into some moderately spaced trees and came to rest on top of the snow unharmed. The avalanche debris continued to run another ~800 feet downslope and was large enough to snap trees. He was wearing an avalanche transceiver and airbag, however the airbag was not deployed.
Narration from skier who was caught in the slide:
"Hey folks so I did something dumb today please learn from my stupidity. Took a tour up the south “face” of the ridge leading to Nasukoin. I read the reports about reactive windslabs , looked at my approach it appeared to have minimal winds effect. I was lying to myself I knew that this was 5ish inches of fresh pow on top of days old wind effect. But hey gotta shred that wide open pow field right. My approach was pretty much straight up the face because I wanted to get there quick before the arctic silliness rolled in:( . During my approach I felt my pole popping threw a soft punchy layer a few inches down. Eh just a soft slab that’ll if anything break below me :(:(. This was my only sign of instability. No cracks whumps nothing. The slope began to steepen just below a cliff band. The layer I was feeling became more pronounced and hollow feeling. Should I be on this no you idiot but come on it’s just 30 more feet to the safe zone and then I’d be 20 minuets from topping out. Totally worth it:(:(:( 2 minutes later heard a rumble to my right wich continued uphill left and broke about 20 feet above me. Keeping my skis downhill of me allowed them to deflect me off trees and nasty stuff. Tried to slow my self down keep my head above water and swim cross current as uphill as possible towards the lesser propagated side Looking at the pics got taken for about a .400 ft ride (sorry for the exaggeration FAC). The slide appears to have propagated bout 300 ft ran 1200 . The crown appeared to be in 3ft range. I wrote this hoping this was a good example of what not to do in a situation that’s we often find ourselves in. I’ve got 2 seasons worth of solid touring experience, winter dirt bag lots of touring time .Rode some decent stuff. Thought I was bulletproof and new it all. Just enough tools in the belt to really get in over my head. Please listen to that little voice in your head when it’s screaming at you"
The avalanche occured approximately 1.5 miles east of Red Meadow Lake. We ascended the debris from the road.
Forecast Hotline: 406.257.8402
Call or text an observation: 406.66AVYOB