Avalanche: Douglas Island

Location: Fish creek knob boulder chute #1

Date:
Observer:
Route & General Observations

Fck quary route up Saturday mid-morning. About 14″ fresh, soft snow on top of rain freeze crust. Winds light but picking up out of SE. Skied 2nd chute, first chute (slide), and boulder shoulder trees. Numerous natural and skier triggered point releases. Other than slide in 2nd chute no signs of slab releases.

Avalanche Details
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Trigger SkierAvalanche Type Soft Slab
Aspect North NortheastElevation 2400ft
Slope Angle 35degCrown Depth 14in
Width 60ftVertical Run 80ft
Near Miss / Accident Details
Number Caught/Carried? 1Number Partially Buried? 1
Number Fully Buried?0Number Injured?0
Number Fatalities?0  
Avalanche Details

After good lap in second chute, went for fresh lines in first chute. First 2 skiers went skier's right of large exposed boulder. Third skier followed, saw large scoured patch and cut hard left to avoid scoured rollover. Cut triggered a slide on the rollover that propagated 50-60 feet across. Crown was rough and uneven. Exactly how much it propagated was hard to determine since first two skiers had somewhat scoured the slope with small sluffs. Skier was carried 30-40 feet, losing a ski, and pinned against small tree. "Swam" to stay in top. Able to self extract. Debris was 2-4' deep, soft chunks of all new snow.

Events of the day

Saw some natural point releases from bottom of chutes, but decided that barring additional signs of instability (like visible wind loading) we would do first/second boulder chute. Group of acquaintances ahead of us dug a pit at the top of first chute, ectx. First lap did 2nd chute. Lots of soft snow and some expected scouring/sluffing. Couple ski cuts did not produce slab releases.

Rescue events

Two skiers below and one left on top. Carried skier was able to verbally communicate with skiers below that they were OK but missing ski. Skier up top skied wide right and then cut back to help search for missing ski. Communication was difficult due to lack of line of sight. Wish we hadn't left the walkie talkies at home! Missing ski took 20-30 minutes of searching, found buried in a tree well.

Photos & Video
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