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Avalanche, Mount Rainier


Washington, Mount Rainier

On June 23, 1985, Barbara Miller (23) and Mark Valdez (26) were ascending the Emmons Glacier and had reached an elevation of 3800 meters when they heard a loud noise. Within seconds they were covered by a hard slab avalanche that pulled them 35-50 meters down- slope. Both were hit by numerous ice blocks. Valdez stated that the adze of his ice ax penetrated his groin during the slide. Valdez went to his partner Miller finding hr dazed and asking for help. The force of the snow-ice avalanche caused both Valdez and Miller to lose several pieces of equipment. Both started a slow descent when another party helped them to descend to Camp Schurman. (Source: Mount Rainier National Park)


Valdez and Miller were observing all safety practices. A large, hard slab avalanche one to 1.5 meters deep and 35 meters wide was probably triggered by serac fall from above. Valdez and Miller were hit by the side of the falling snow and ice. (Source: Mount Rainier National Park)