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Avalanche and Buried in Crevasse – British Columbia, Yoho Park

AVALANCHE AND BURIED IN CREVASSE—British Columbia, Yoho Park, President” Glacier. Bruce Colpitts (17) was trail breaking with Kris Kubbinsky and Len Potter on “President” Glacier at 10:15 a.m. on October 9. They had crossed the bergschrund on moderate terrain, and when Colpitts was about 40 feet above it, he triggered a slab avalanche of fairly new moist snow with a five-inch crown line. It swept Colpitts into the bergschrund and buried him about 30-40 feet deep. Kubbinsky and Potter were partly buried and were easily rescued. Three of the party went for help and the remaining 12 began digging with ice axes and hands. Six hours later, Park Wardens with shovels were brought in by helicopter, and the body was recovered in another 1½ hours. (Source: L. P. Michaud.)

Analysis: The snow on the approach showed no signs of instability, and the layer that slid had fallen in the last two days. A better appreciation of the conditions leading to slab formation might have helped, and some shovels should have been carried. (Source: L. P. Michaud.)