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View Full Version : BCA Avy ABS packs and Avy Beacons at AMDS

02-13-2010, 10:43 PM
I just read about the two fatalities at Placer today. Two sledders lost their lives in the avy chute going from Spencer Glacier to Grandview. ADN reported that neither were wearing avalanche beacons.

This kind of thing doesn't need to happen, there's no excuse that someone who can afford a $10K snowmobile can't also afford a $300 beacon and a $500 Avy pack. There's free avalanche training given every year too.

It's time to step up and get the right gear guys! The mountains in AK are extreme, the weather is extreme and the sleds we ride can get us easily into the extreme. New snow is especially unstable, wet new snow is extremely unstable.

Please take the time to get training, learn how to read the signs, read the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Advisory - everyday if you ride in the mountains on a regular basis. Watch the weather channel or read it on line. You need to know these things if you're gonna ride in the AK mountains. There are also good practices to follow when riding in the mountains, like only one rider on a slope at a time, avoiding certain slopes or features, terrain traps and conditions to avoid. http://www.cnfaic.org/advisories/current.php?id=

AMDS carries a full line of Avy equipment, Beacons, Shovels, Probes, Packs and ABS Air Packs. You need this stuff if you're gonna ride in the mountains. Learn to use it also, Alyeska has a free beacon park that you can practice using your beacon. Everyone I ride with has the equipment and knows how to use it - my life depends on them knowing how to use it.

Sorry for the rant - but this is a subject that hit close t home for me.

02-13-2010, 11:46 PM
I just learned it was the president of the company I work for that was killed in the avalanche at Placer. Very sad news.

He did have a beacon and was recovered, but the other man whom was also an employee of the company was not wearing one, he is still buried.

RIP Jim and Alan, our thought are with you and your families.

02-14-2010, 07:49 AM
This is the mountain between Spencer Glacier and Grandview. The Glacier is to the left, the railroad tracks and tunnel through the mountain are to the right just out of view from this picture. The red line is the route up and over the mountain through the avy chute. This is really the only way up and over and we've always waited until after the chute has released before climbing through it. It is very steep and narrow, there's only room for one sled at a time.

I'm not sure if this is the area they were riding in or not, it sounds like it from the news report though. I can't imagine they would have been attempting this in the conditions that were reported.

The other picture is of the other side of the mountain from the Grandview side. You can see how steep the surrounding slopes are and the type of exposure and risk involve in riding in a place like this. There's a lot more to being a good mountain rider then being able to handle a sled, you have to know how to evaluate the snow pack, routes and pay attention to the weather. Good safe practices are also essential to surviving in the mountains, like only one rider on a slope at a time, using spotters, having the right safety equipment and knowing how to use it.

There needs to be a lot more discussions on safety and snow evaluations on these message boards..........

Steve Herschbach
02-14-2010, 07:54 AM
Hi Irondog,

Truly sad news. It hits me as just three days ago I posted on the subject here (http://www.akmining.com/forums/showthread.php/78-Alaska-Avalanche-Information-Center). I agree we need to do all we can to help avoid things like this happening. Education is a big factor in that, and hopefully we can help a bit with that.

My prayers for the families in this terrible time.

Nick Olzenak
02-14-2010, 08:53 AM
For the sake of clarity, this group did not enter grandview through the main chute at spencer glaci
er, as irondog's pictures show it is a pretty brutal climb in from that end. As far as I know the trail is not in yet. As dozens of times before this group entered the area from trail lake to the south which gives a pretty safe entry
point save some open water and a train track crossing. This is a good example of how an otherwise experienced group can find tragedy. No matter how prepared you think you are, you are probably not prepared enough. The weather has moved back in today which will undoubtedly hinder recovery efforts. Our prayers are with the families today.