Sunday, May 04, 2008

Crevasse Rescue

A warning this long weekend snow bridges will become weak as well as potential for sizable cornice fall in the backcountry with temperatures rising toward 30c valley bottom, freezing levels are forecast to be above 4200m.

Ripsaw Glacier
Whistler Search and Rescue are advising people who are ski-touring glaciers in the backcountry to keep themselves roped together after a crevasse rescue Sunday.

At around 12:30 p.m. a 26-year-old B.C. woman crashed through a snow bridge on the Spearhead Traverse and fell nine metres into a bergschrund crevasse where she became lodged.

The group was luckily within cell-phone range and her two male companions called 911 and a rescue got underway immediately. Nine rescuers went to the area in two helicopters.
Ripsaw Glacier and the usual high route where the snowbridge collapsed

Fortunately the weather was good and the woman was uninjured, all of which helped the rescue have a happy ending.

But said Whistler SAR manager Brad Sills, during the course of the rescue it became clear that, while the party was well equipped and in good physical shape, none of them had a rope.

Indeed two more ski touring groups on the same path who stopped to help were also not roped together and without ropes.

The basic rule is that anytime you are on a glacier you should be roped. Unfortunately in the Whistler area people have not been doing that and so we are reminding people that when they are traveling on glaciers they should be roped.

This rescue could have turned sour if anything had delayed SAR or if bad weather rolled in.

The woman was finally pulled to safety around 3:45 p.m.
The snow bridge collapsed because the snow it was rotten and she fell through
Training at Weigele's 05

A video demonstrating a simple z system

A video about a skier in a hole

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