Avalanche buried a sledder who was rescued by friends in Elk Valley

A sledder was rescued by his two companions and escaped injury after being buried.

  • Jan. 12, 2012 5:00 a.m.

A sledder was rescued by his two companions and escaped injury after being buried in an avalanche for three minutes in the Flathead last weekend.

The incident is a timely reminder of the importance of making sure your backcountry trip companions could rescue you, according to the Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC), which holds its annual Avalanche Awareness Days next weekend.

According to an anonymous incident report sent to the CAC, the avalanche happened last Saturday in the Shepp Creek headwater area of the Flathead Valley, near Lodgepole creek, at 7,000 metres elevation.

The Free Press requested an interview with the sledders through the CAC, but they did not wish to comment.

The sledder, who was in a group of three, was on his first ride up a 200 metre, steep, lightly-treed slope with bare rock cliffs above, when a slab of snow let go above the sledder at the base of the cliffs.

The report says: “Snow knocked sledder downward. Sledder remained tangled with sled moving down slope approx. 30 metres while trapped underneath sled and snow, stopping against a tree.

“Handlebars and one hand of sledder remained exposed above snow. Sledder unable to move, dig out or create air pocket and lost conciousness approx one minute after burial.

“The two rescuers dug out the sledder who was found unconcious approx. three mins after burial.

“Shortly after exposure to air, sledder regained conciousness with no major injuries.”

A photo of the widespread avalanche debris was also sent to the CAC.

Forecasting manager at the CAC, Karl Klassen, said the incident is a good example of a successful companion rescue, which the centre encourages all backcountry users to be prepared to carry out.

“In Canada, most times if you have to call in a rescue team, especially to a remote place like the Flathead, it will take hours for them to get there.

“So the message we are constantly going on about is you need equipment, training and you need to practice a rescue response as a group before you set out.

“It looks like that’s what happened here and that’s why they were able to get this person out before it was too late.”

 

Just Posted

Sushi, sake and silk kimono

“The Kimono of Ichimaru” opening night at Fernie Museum attracts sellout crowd

Mexico-bound Tour Divide riders complete first day, pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody, 6 months since release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

New society to spearhead ramp building project in Fernie

Gracie Lou Foundation launches to make Fernie more inclusive; ramp building event slated for June 22

GALLERY: Week-long Coal Miner Days a huge success

Skate jam set to become a permanent fixture of Coal Miner Days; other events well attended

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

Elk Valley Bulls RFC reclaim Kootenay Cup

Elk Valley beats Cranbrook 7-5 to win Kootenay Cup; team off to provincials in September

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Bears have killed 17 people in B.C. since 1986

Number of bear complaints and bears killed rose sharply during same period

Most Read