We are relieved to learn that the 5 skiers stranded in the Revelstoke backcountry were recovered safely by Revelstoke Search and Rescue.
Update according to the Revelstoke Times Review:
The body of a man who died in avalanche near Ghost Peak on Sunday and his five companions, who survived, were retrieved from the mountains southeast of Revelstoke Tuesday morning by Revelstoke Search and Rescue.
[Search and Rescue] confirmed that the five survivors were evacuated from the area by helicopter at around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. The body of the lone victim was retrieved about an hour later.
Six [Search and Rescue] members took part in the operation.
Story from earlier today:
A party of six skiers were touring in the Ghost Peak area located to the East of Mt. Cartier in the Revelstoke backcountry (Eastern British Columbia) on Sunday, March 11th when an avalanche struck the group. At least one member of the party was buried by the slide. The other skiers were able to locate the victim with avalanche transceivers and dig him out but the skier did not survive.
Revelstoke RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) received the distress call at 4:40 pm on Sunday. Revelstoke Search and Rescue attempted to reach the group but the helicopter was only able to circle above and surveill the scene due to high winds. The rescue team was unable to deliver supplies to the stranded party.
The touring group had reportedly been dropped off in the region by helicopter but the group was not part of a commercially guided ski tour.
Revelstoke RCMP spokesperson Staff Sgt. Jacquie Olsen said many details remain sketchy at this point because communications are hampered. “They have a [satellite] phone [but] we’re having difficulties contacting them,” she said. “They power it off when they don’t need it.”
The other five skiers touring with the man remain stranded at the scene. They are sure to spend at least [Monday night] on the mountain, and possibly more nights due to an impending storm. “The long-range forecast for this whole area is ugly,” Olsen said. “Trust me, they’re not going to move. There’s no way out of there.”
The Ghost Peak area is a series of rocky alpine peaks and valleys visible from sidecountry terrain on Mt. Mackenzie near Revelstoke Mountain Ski Resort. High winds forced the closure of the upper mountain at Revelstoke on Monday and conditions are expected to deteriorate in the coming days.
Wind gusts reached upwards of 80 km/hr on Monday and the wind chill factor was below -20 C (-4 F) at the higher elevations.
According to Revelstoke RCMP spokesperson Staff Sgt. Olsen, the group was carrying shelter, food and supplies for a multi-day backcountry ski tour. The group is encamped in a yurt and is expected to be able to weather the storm in safety. It is unclear if any of the other skiers were injured in the avalanche but according to Olsen there are no indications that the remaining 5 skiers suffered injuries.
Revelstoke Search and Rescue is making an attempt to reach the stranded party today (Tuesday) and another potential weather window exists tomorrow (Wednesday).
On Sunday the Canadian Avalanche Centre’s bulletin for the area had placed avalanche danger at “high” in the alpine above treeline and “considerable” below the treeline.
The Canadian Avalanche Centre had issued a special advisory on Friday, March 9th for conditions heading into the weekend.
This story will be updated as details of the incident and rescue become available. For more information visit revelstoketimesreview.com