By: randosteve|Posted on: January 6, 2010|Posted in: Avalanche Safety, Weather | 40 comments

Update: Unfortunately, Mark Wolling was unable to recover from his injuries.
Peace be with you Big Wally…I hope the snow is soft and the winds are light in heaven.

big-wallyAt approximately 8:26am today, Mark “Big Wally” Wolling was swept down Cheyenne Bowl while in the process of conducting avalanche reduction work on Route 7 prior to the opening of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Wolling was dug out from under 6′ of avy debris within 10-15 minutes by his route partner, showed no signs of life and immediately was administered CPR. An AED device was also used on location in an attempt to revive him. After being transported to the base of the ski area, Wolling had a detectable pulse and was immediately transported to Saint John’s Hospital, where he was soon further transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center and remains in critical condition.

Avalanche in Cheyenne Bowl that caught Mark Wolling. Photo: JHMR.

The location of the incident, Cheyenne Bowl, had been controlled for avalanches previously this year, but did not produce any slides. The area had not yet been opened to the public this season. Wolling and his partner had dropped into the bowl after already throwing one explosive device on the slope. When Wolling threw another below a cliffband he was positioned above, the slope fractured above him and his partner, sweeping him over the cliff and down to the bottom of the bowl. His partner was able to self arrest by grabbing on to some trees prior to initiating a search and eventual recovery of his buried partner.

  • Length of Avalanche Path – Approx: 1000 feet
  • Crown Height (Max): 42 inches. 3.5 feet
  • Crown Length: 130 feet wide
  • Avy Classification (1-5): R3D3
  • Cliff Band Height: 25-30 feet
  • Slope Angle: 34 Degrees

Positive vibes are requested for 20 year veteran ski patroller
Mark “Big Wally” Wolling while he battles to overcome his injuries.