News of avalanche related fatalities seem to be never-ending this season as complex snowpacks continue to dot the western United States. Over the course of the past week, avalanche related deaths have been reported in Montana, Utah, Wyoming, and now we must unfortunately add Washington state to the list. Large snowfall totals, dry periods, and wind events have created suspect snowpacks in mountainous areas across the country and now is as good a time as ever to get reoriented with your gear and practice conservative route finding.
According to the Seattle Times, one person is dead and another is injured after being caught in an avalanche on Mount Herman near Mt. Baker Ski Area on Sunday. Once rescue personnel arrived on the scene, they airlifted the injured person to a nearby hospital but were unable to locate the body of the deceased person. So far, information as to who the victims are and how they were traveling in the mountains has yet to be released.
The avalanche danger was reported as moderate at the time of the incident.
Initial findings indicate that the avalanche came down on the group from a north facing section of Mount Herman. The Northwest Avalanche Center described the accident as follows: “2 skiers were caught by an avalanche on the steep N-NW side of Mt Herman. One was injured and air lifted and the other remains missing. Details are not yet available.” Search and Rescue plan to revisit the accident area to search for the missing victim today.
Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of the victim.
Find up-to-date avalanche advisories for the Northwest here: Northwest Avalanche Center