Avalanches kill snowmobilers in Wyoming & Montana
Avalanche hazard ‘Considerable’
December 18, 2006
Two separate avalanches killed two snowmobilers in Wyoming and Montana over the weekend.
On Saturday, two snowmobilers high-marking a slope in the Greys River area triggered and were buried by an avalanche near Murphy Creek in the Salt River Range on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. One was found six feet deep and was successfully resuscitated. The other snowmobiler, more deeply buried, died. The identities have not yet been released.
There are also reports that a North Dakota man was buried under seven feet of snow just outside of Yellowstone National Park on Saturday after a companion triggered an avalanche near Cooke City, Montana. The man was with a group of snowmobilers who were high-marking their sleds on a slope when his machine became stuck. Another snowmobiler high-marked above him, triggering an avalanche, which the first man was caught in as he tried to free his sled. His companions uncovered him from the snow, but were unable to revive him.
The General Avalanche Hazard is CONSIDERABLE at the upper and mid-elevations in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, according to the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center in Jackson. “Dangerous unstable slabs exist on steep terrain on certain aspects. Human triggered avalanches probable. Natural avalanches possible.” Dangerous slabs up to 5 feet in depth remain very susceptible to human triggers on a variety of aspects above 7,500 feet. The Hazard is LOW at low elevations.
"Good route finding and avalanche hazard evaluation skills are essential for safe travel under the current conditions," states the BTNF Avalanche Center website. Daily reports are given for the western Wyoming area, as well as for three specific area: Teton/Rendezvous Mountain, Continental Divide/Togwotee Pass, Southwest Trails/Grey's River area.
FORECAST FOR Monday December 18, 2006:
The Avalanche Watch has been cancelled as the avalanche danger, particularly the chance of naturally triggered slides, has declined. However, the General Avalanche Hazard will remain CONSIDERABLE on Monday. Dangerous slabs up to 5 feet in depth continue to be very susceptible to human triggers on a variety of aspects above 7,500 feet. Don't be lured by the tracks of individuals willing to accept a high level of risk. Current conditions require that each party make their own hazard evaluations and make conservative decisions based on those findings.
High pressure and clear skies will create strong valley inversions. 10,000 foot temperatures will rise to near ten degrees f. with light North winds.
TREND FOR TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY:
Mostly dry conditions and cold temperatures are expected through Wednesday. The General Avalanche Hazard is expected to slowly decrease during this period as the snowpack continues to adjust to recent loading.
Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center