Category Archives: Avalanches

Erica Kutcher Fatality in Pakistan Shipton Spire Climb

The Daily News reports Erica Kutcher, 27, perished in an avalanche near Shipton Spire in Pakistan.

The story has gotten massive publicity in the New York City media since she is a resident of Great Neck on Long Island. It was origianlly reported she had perished in an avalanche at K2 base camp (even before the family had been notified). The News notes the mistake was caused because Shipton Spire is in the same Karakoram range as K2.

The article notes:

“She did things in her life that many of us can only dream about,” said her cousin Michael Glickman, 27. “No one expects a girl from Great Neck to become an expert mountain climber.”

Kutcher’s pal Ben Folsom said she was such an incredible speed climber that she could scale a vertical 3,000-foot route on the North American Wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, Calif., in 40 hours without sleep.

“She’s pretty amazing. She would be really good in sketchy situations,” said Folsom, 29, of Salt Lake City. “She was good at solving problems.”

Before embarking on her final quest, Kutcher taught survivalist skills to children with severe emotional problems in Alaska.

Her parents are waiting for their daughter’s body to be flown from Pakistan to New York for a traditional Jewish burial.

“How can you bury a daughter? How can you say goodbye?” said her devastated mother. “She will always be with us. She was always there to love.”

Fatal Avalanche on Colorado Fourteener Mount Quandry

Outdoorwire reports two climbers in a church group were caught in an avalanche on Colorado Fourteener Mount Quandry near Breckenridge. One climber was able to call 911 with his cell phone. The body of the other climber was recovered with use of a rescue dog under 1.15 meters of debris. The hard slab avalanche which was triggered by the climbers was reported to be 600 feet wide but only 1 to 2 feet thick and fell 13,800 feet and fell to nearly 11,700 feet from a very wind-loaded (or wind-drifted) S aspect. One on November 11, 2002, two climbers were swept by an avalanche but survied. A lone skier was killed on Dec. 21, 1999.

Fatal Avalanche on Grossglockner – Austria’s highest mountain

The AP reports an avalanche on Grossglockner – Austria’s highest mountain – swept away two Hungarian backcountry skiers killing one. There were avalanches throughout Europe. A 48-year-old German man was found dead after he and his son were swept away by an avalanche as they were skiing Sunday in the resort of Saalbach in the Salzburg province (his son survived). A Czech man was killed in a separate snow slide near the resort of Bad Gastein, also in the Salzburg province.

Skiier Swept 1,000 Feet in Teton Avalanche

THe NPS Morning Report Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Backcountry Skier Seriously Injured in Avalanche

On March 7th, rangers assisted Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) ski patrollers in rescuing an injured backcountry skier from Granite Canyon. Andy Bergin, 24, of Jackson, Wyoming, received multiple serious injuries after he triggered an avalanche which swept him over rocks and carried him about 1,000 feet downslope in an area called Northwest Passage. Bergin, an employee at JHMR, was skiing with friends in the backcountry of Granite Canyon when the incident occurred. Teton Interagency Dispatch was notified at 11:50 a.m. by a JHMR ski patrolman, who reported a possible avalanche occurring in Granite Canyon that involved some backcountry skiers. Teton County dispatch called minutes later, confirming that they had just received a 911 call by cell phone from Granite Canyon with the same information, adding that one skier was reported to be seriously injured. Park rangers immediately began to coordinate rescue efforts, contracted for the use of Teton County’s rescue helicopter, and flew rangers with medical equipment and additional rescue gear to the scene. Two JHMR ski patrollers reached the injured Bergin first and provided emergency medical care while other skiers in the area prepared a landing zone for the helicopter by packing down the snow with their skis. Once on the scene, rangers provided additional medical evaluation and care, then placed Bergin in the helicopter and attended him during the flight to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming.
[Submitted by Jackie Skaggs, Public Affairs Specialist]

Guide Fatality Feared in Mount Huntington Avalanche in Denali NP

The Anchorage Daily News that the NPS has abandoned a search for Johnny Soderstrom, a guide for Alaska Mountaineering School in Talkeetna, who is feared to have died in an avalanche during a first winter attempt to climb 12,240-foot Mount Huntington in Denali National Park. His partner Reichert, 37, a Park Service mountaineering ranger survived. They were approaching the summit by the West Face Couloir route.

5 Killed in Mount Menalos Avalanche in Greece

The BBC report British journalist Diana Seale and four Greek climbers from the Greek Mountaineering Club of Athens were killed in an avalanche in the southern Peloponnese mountains in Greece. They were with a group of 28 climbing Mount Menalos. The other 23 escaped with minor injuries. Reports say the avalanche is thought to have happened when the group was at 1,500m (4,920 ft) and on the way down the mountain.