A new report is shedding light on the Smuggler’s Notch avalanche that injured six soldiers during National Guard Mountain Warfare Training back in March. The incident occurred on Mount Mansfield in a backcountry zone known as East Gully.
The Army produced an accident report this week that outlines the incident. According to the Army Times, the 187-page report is heavily redacted. The section of the report that outlines the actual avalanche incident is almost completely blacked out.
The report does allege multiple officers recognized the avalanche danger and proceeded up the mountain anyway.
“Although officers personally realized the presence of avalanche conditions, the possibility of an avalanche was not even part of the deliberate risk assessment worksheet that was regularly filled out by officers in charge of the training, according to the Army report.” – Vermont Digger
Due to the fact that avalanche conditions are not commonplace in the area, it was not accounted for in the unit’s pre-training checklist. As a result, there was nothing in place to stop the soldiers from proceeding with the exercises. This seems like a systematic failure and the National Guard is lucky nobody was fatally injured. Avalanches are rare in northeast, outside of places like Mount Washington but they still happen.
Find the entire Army Times article here: Army report blames overconfidence for training avalanche that injured six soldiers