Close call for a backcountry crew after triggering storm/wind slab avalanche on Marvin’s East in East Vail Colorado. The slide was captured on GoPro by Dave Manago. Here’s Dave’s breakdown of the incident and lessoned learned:
East Vail Colorado storm/wind slab avalanche. Marvin’s East. Roughly R1.5, D1. East facing. CAIC Forecast was for moderate danger NW to SE aspects from top to bottom, with obvious monitoring of storm & wind loaded areas.
Relatively happy with how we skied it except I got trigger happy and didn’t fully wait until skier 1 radioed up with the go-ahead. In retrospect, this slope angle was too high (~38) to ski fully safe for that day’s conditions.
1: Skier 1 should never rest in potential slide path
2: Always wait for the radio call
3: Microdecisions can mean life or death. My line was probably 10 feet to the right of skier 1’s and that’s what made the difference. We had already briefed on that skier’s-right danger zone, and that’s why I immediately went skier’s left after seeing and jumping over the remote-triggered crown from my cliff drop. Thankfully the crown propagated towards skier’s-right and the steeper terrain.
Everyone in our party and everyone in that zone skied away safely that day. Incredibly thankful to have been lucky this day. We will definitely take this experience with us and have it inform our future decisions.