I am sad to report that I just got home from a SAR call-out to an avalanche incident in Darby Canyon, where one skier perished. I got the call-out at about 5pm Saturday afternoon.
From what I can tell, two brothers (one from Driggs, one from Steamboat) were ascending the the western slope of Peak 10,028, which is a spur ridge off of Fossil Mountain, from the South Fork of Darby Canyon. One was on a splitboard and the other on telemark gear. As they skinned to the top of the ridge, the slope avalanched, taking the skier (from Steamboat) about 1500-2000 feet down the mountain. The debris came to a stop uphill from the summer trail.
The splitboarder immediately went into search mode and dug out his brother from under 3-4 feet of snow as soon as he could. CPR was initiated until SAR could respond with advance life support (ALS) equipment. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough and he didn’t survive, most likely a victim of trauma. As it got dark, the use of the helicopter was no longer available. Considering the current snow conditions and avalanche danger, the call was made to recover the body in the morning. Rescuers were unable to capture the victim’s dog who was also on the scene, so it stayed with his master through the night.
The body recovery went smooth in the morning using a long-line from the helicopter. Unable to gain the dog’s trust enough to load him in the helicopter, rescuers skied out…and luckily the dog followed, to be reunited with his masters fiance. One upside to hold on to from the past 18 hrs. Condolences go out to all the parties involved and remember to send them some positive vibes the next time you are in your own church.
Please be careful in the backcountry as Spring approaches and the snowpack goes iso-thermal in the warmer temperatures. Getting an early start is key!