Photo of Kip Rand via the Wallowa Avalanche Center
Tragic news this afternoon our of Oregon. Reports are coming in that Wallowa Avalanche Center’s Director, Kip Rand, has been killed in a avalanche yesterday afternoon near Chief Joseph Mountain west of the town of Joseph. According to The Observer newspaper, Kip was backcountry skiing with a friend from out of town when the slide was triggered. The avalanche took Kip approximately 600 vertical feet down the hill before coming to a stop.
Kip passed away from his injuries before Wallowa County Search and Rescue staff were able to reach him.
Kip’s last avalanche advisory for the area, posted Sunday morning, March 7th mentioned multiple avalanche hazards in eastern Oregon.
Wallowa Avalanche Center has made the following statement:
“Kip’s commitment to the avalanche center and avalanche safety was immediately evident as he settled into his new position as Director of our organization in November of last year. He came to us with extensive avalanche training, many years of experience as a guide, avalanche educator and pro observer. Most of all, he came to us with a humble, collected and thoughtful demeanor as he spoke and shared his knowledge.
Kip was on a path to grow our non-agency, non-profit center and further increase avalanche awareness within our region. He continued our long standing policy of soliciting guidance from the National Avalanche Center, the American Avalanche Association and nearby larger established avalanche centers as we redesigned product and services to match our funding reserves and personnel.
We are humbled and appreciative of the support and encouragement received from the community and avalanche professionals around the nation.”
Our deepest condolences to Kip’s friends, family and the Eastern Oregon backcountry community.