VIDEO: Alaskan Snowboarder Touches Off Wind Slab Avalanche While Riding Chute

VIDEO: Alaskan Snowboarder Touches Off Wind Slab Avalanche While Riding Chute

Avalanche

VIDEO: Alaskan Snowboarder Touches Off Wind Slab Avalanche While Riding Chute

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“It was a really spooky experience for both of us and as soon as I was safe all I could think about was how I’d made a bad call. There were a couple of mistakes that I made prior to the slide but the most crucial one was my ski cut.”

Sketchy footage out of Haines, Alaska where a snowboarder triggered a large D2R3 wind slab after dropping into a chute. Luckily he was able find purchase on the sidewall and avoid getting taken for a ride. Here’s a local avalanche conditions report from Haines Avalanche Center:

“There were numerous reports yesterday of touchy avalanche conditions on all aspects, both natural and human triggered that occurred on slopes greater than 35 degrees. This video is of a D2-R3 human triggered avalanche from 4/4 on a N-NE aspect at 5,200’ in Haines Pass and ran 1000’+ possibly over surface hoar. Reported slides have been 35-150cm deep involving wind, storm, persistent, cornice and wet avalanche problems. With the mix of concerns we have widespread hazard, along with more precipitation, wind loading and solar heating in the forecast. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route finding and conservative decision making are essential.” –Haines Avalanche Center

“Yesterday Xamtest and I were out touring and I made a couple of mistakes that led to me triggering a large D2R3 wind slab. The crown was roughly 35cm and it ran 2000 feet. All in all it was a really spooky experience for both of us and as soon as I was safe all I could think about was how I’d made a bad call. There were a couple of mistakes that I made prior to the slide but the most crucial one was my ski cut. We knew the slope was loaded but it wasn’t a deep slab so we figured a ski cut would effectively mitigate the danger. With myself on belay I cut across the top of the chute. I saw no cracking or whumpfing and I didn’t feel the slab like I had in other places. I think part of me just wanted to ski the deep powder in all its glory so I was relieved when it didn’t slide. Had I taken one more turn on belay I would have let it rip safely. Unfortunately my eagerness got the best of me and I dropped in and immediately saw shooting cracks 100 yards in front of me. I took a hard right to safety and it swept passed me. It was all over in 15 seconds with a 100 foot tall cloud of smoke at the bottom. Chances were taken and lessons were learned. I’m grateful to be able to continue learning in the mountains.” –Carver Culbeck

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