Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Mammoth Avalanche, April 17th, 2006
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  • #567750
    tanker187
    8 Posts

    Greetings everybody! My first post.

    Here’s a bit of daunting news from Mammoth Mountain:

    First responders and volunteers search for victims of an avalanche that struck Mammoth Mountain Monday, April 17, 2006, in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., where at least three people were injured. The avalanche came on the heels of an April 6 tragedy when three members of Mammoth’s ski patrol were asphyxiated by gas from a volcanic vent. (AP Photo/Jeff Wright)

    First responders and volunteers search for victims of an avalanche that struck Mammoth Mountain Monday, April 17, 2006, in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., where at least three people were injured. The avalanche came on the heels of an April 6 tragedy when three members of Mammoth’s ski patrol were asphyxiated by gas from a volcanic vent. (AP Photo/Jeff Wright)

    Mountain rescue personal and volunteers dig through the snow looking for survivors in the avalanche area at Mammoth Mountain Monday, April 17, 2006, in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. No one was found in the snow after hours of searching and no one was reported missing, a resort spokeswoman said. The avalanche came on the heels of an April 6 tragedy when three members of Mammoth’s ski patrol were asphyxiated by gas from a volcanic vent. (AP Photo/Janel Jenowitz)

    Firefighters and hundreds of searchers using poles to probe the snow every six inches work across the avalanche area at Mammoth Mountain Monday, April 17, 2006, in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. No one was found in the snow after hours of searching and no one was reported missing, a resort spokeswoman said. The avalanche came on the heels of an April 6 tragedy when three members of Mammoth’s ski patrol were asphyxiated by gas from a volcanic vent. (AP Photo/Janel Jenowitz)



    Firefighters and hundreds of searchers, using poles to probe the snow every six inches, work across the avalanche area at Mammoth Mountain, Monday, April 17, 2006, in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. No one was found in the snow after hours of searching and no one was reported missing, a resort spokeswoman said. The avalanche came on the heels of an April 6 tragedy when three members of Mammoth’s ski patrol were asphyxiated by gas from a volcanic vent. (AP Photo/Janel Jenowitz)

    Edit: photos added

    #588270
    skinjob
    52 Posts

    sweet jesus, that is a big slab.

    does anybody know the aspect and heading of that slope?

    wow.

    hope that no one was trapped in that slide.

    #588271
    jack
    323 Posts

    i have to ask, where was pro-patrol on that one? don’t they bomb slopes like that? also, if no one was caught, was it a natural release?

    #588272
    TEX
    2486 Posts

    This slide happened after 7 hours of bombing within the resort. The area is a class “A” avalanche resort with hand charges and a 105 mm howie. They do know what they are doing, just goes to show what a 20 foot snow pack and 55 degree days can do. This slope faces north and is about 40 -42 degree slope with some rock outcroppings in the release zone.

    #588273
    Killclimbz
    1165 Posts

    California snowpack does not release like continental snowpacks either. Back in the 90’s there were a few deaths at Homewood on the Quail face. Ski patrol had just bombed the shit out of it and it didn’t release. As soon as some bodies got on it they were able to trigger a slide. I wouldn’t be surprised if much the same happened there.

    #588274
    tanker187
    8 Posts

    @patroller420 wrote:

    This slide happened after 7 hours of bombing within the resort. The area is a class “A” avalanche resort with hand charges and a 105 mm howie. They do know what they are doing, just goes to show what a 20 foot snow pack and 55 degree days can do. This slope faces north and is about 40 -42 degree slope with some rock outcroppings in the release zone.

    Thanks for the info, patroller420

    Here’s a trail map. The slide ocurred in the Upper Dry Creek and Climax areas:

    Speaking of the 105 mm howie, it reminds me of something I saw two years ago:

    The military lent two to Alpine Meadows and three to Mammoth Mountain.

    Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain are the only ski resorts in the nation using the 119-A howitzer, the most modern model available, said Bob Moore, a U.S. Forest Service specialist in Truckee, Calif. Other resorts have older 105 mm howitzers.

    Pam Murphy, senior vice president at Mammoth Mountain just east of Yosemite National Park, said the military has provided the ski resort with recoilless rifles and other guns for avalanche control for 30 years. The howitzers are the most effective, Murphy said.

    “It was designed to kill people, but it’s a very valuable safety tool for us,” said Rachael Woods, a spokeswoman at Lake Tahoe’s Alpine Meadows, where seven people were killed in an avalanche in 1982.

    Resort officials said they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to transport the guns, reimburse the Army for training and build firing platforms.

    But Murphy said she understood the Army’s decision: “We’re certainly at a different place in the world than when we first got the guns.”

    The Forest Service said it is working to secure older howitzers for the ski resorts, and the Army’s Bowen said he is optimistic that will happen.

    source

    An Alpine Meadows ski resort vehicle transports a 119-A howitzer, April 23, 2004 through the resort’s ski runs above Tahoe City, Calif., near Lake Tahoe. This 119-A was one of five U.S. Army-loaned howitzers used at the Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain resorts to intentionally trigger avalanches in hazardous areas by firing rounds into snow-covered mountainsides. The U.S. military is demanding the resorts return the howitzers so they can be deployed for the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Alpine Meadows Ski Resort, Rachael Woods)

    😉

    #588275
    safetypinguy
    15 Posts

    Yeah, that’s a serious slide no doubt. Sounds like so far no one is missing, just hope that continues to be the case. The Mammoth area has already had more than it’s share of tragedy this season.

    #588276
    splittilps
    154 Posts

    The thing that strikes me is the number of tracks that are on that slope. It looks like hundreds of runs were made over the area before it slid.

    #588277
    mlca
    5 Posts

    @patroller420 wrote:

    This slide happened after 7 hours of bombing within the resort. The area is a class “A” avalanche resort with hand charges and a 105 mm howie. They do know what they are doing, just goes to show what a 20 foot snow pack and 55 degree days can do. This slope faces north and is about 40 -42 degree slope with some rock outcroppings in the release zone.

    It never got above freezing but the sun was warm.

    4-18-2006> Top Weather Station (el. 11,083 ft)

    Month Top Top Top Top Top
    Day Hour Gust Avg Dir Temp RH
    mph mph deg F %


    4 17 1400 35 18 43 11 90
    4 17 1500 33 12 46 13 90
    4 17 1600 28 10 62 14 91
    4 17 1700 37 11 53 15 91
    4 17 1800 41 15 48 14 91
    4 17 1900 44 24 36 13 90
    4 17 2000 47 32 34 11 89
    4 17 2100 45 34 33 10 89
    4 17 2200 44 27 26 10 90
    4 17 2300 21 9 15 10 89
    4 18 0 5 0 223 10 89
    4 18 100 16 10 212 10 90
    4 18 200 20 16 203 11 90
    4 18 300 21 18 206 12 90
    4 18 400 20 17 215 13 91
    4 18 500 21 14 217 13 91
    4 18 600 14 11 215 14 91
    4 18 700 9 4 249 14 91
    4 18 800 6 3 325 15 91
    4 18 900 16 7 46 17 92
    4 18 1000 17 14 48 18 93
    4 18 1100 20 15 56 19 93
    4 18 1200 19 14 50 20 93
    4 18 1300 13 10 55 22 94
    4 18 1400 12 3 50 24 95

    #588278
    tanker187
    8 Posts

    Thanks for the info, mlca, but we’re not talking about the 17th and 18th alone.
    😉

    The point was that 50+ degree conditions have existed for over two weeks prior to the new snowfall last weekend.

    #588279
    boredboiseboy
    20 Posts

    wow, thats amazing. I guess that kinda blows away my false sence of security while riding at resorts!
    im glad noone was kille

    #588280
    Reuben
    15 Posts

    The mammoth patrol website (http://patrol.mammothmountain.com/) has lots of great info including detailed pit profiles and, to the point of this thread, profiles of the in-bounds slides that happen every year.

    #588281
    TEX
    2486 Posts

    Exactly what I meant, warming up over several days.

    #588282
    mlca
    5 Posts

    Huge snowfall, 100 inches, huge winds, 100mph +, and the sun being high in the sky. The weather up here has been shitty for the entire month of April. It was not 55 degrees. Here is MMSA snowfall history.

    Apr 16 11″
    Apr 14 1″
    Apr 11 5″
    Apr 10 2″
    Apr 09 2″
    Apr 05 6″
    Apr 04 23″
    Apr 03 40″
    Apr 02 10″

    The 13th, Thurs. was nice and sunny, but it was winter like the week prior. The 6th, 7th and 8th were partly cloudy, windy and cold with snow showers. I’m not trying to get in a pissing match I just don’t think the temp had as much to do with the avalanche as the amount /layering of snowfall, the moisture content, and the winds.

    #588283
    SanFrantastico
    1514 Posts

    That whole slope looks mighty tracked up from a whole day of skiing. It’s hard to believe that someone hit the one teeny trigger on the mountain that hadn’t been ridden over yet, but was key to that huge slope sliding. Obviously there was a wind slab there on top of a crust. In some photos you can see the bed gleaming in the sun like a big sheet of ice.

    But if I had to guess what put this slope ‘over the top’ I would suspect heating from the sun. I am kind of suprised that the air temps were above freezing. But still, snow sucks up heat radiation like sponge.

    Putting the poo in swimming pool since 1968.

    #588284
    jbaysurfer
    947 Posts

    patroller420 wrote:
    This slope faces north and is about 40 -42 degree slope with some rock outcroppings in the release zone.

    Interesting thing about those rock outcroppings, I was skiing that run in march with my father in law and he pointed to some settlement that had taken place around one of those rocks, looked kinda like a crevasse the way it was pulling downslope. He said “I don’t like the looks of that!”.

    I made fun of him.

    hmmm. 😳

    Glad to hear there were no injuries/fatalities, with the crowd making the traverse back to mid chalet from Daves run it’s very surprising. Good think it happened mid-week I guess.

    #588285
    Dutch Marc
    70 Posts

    Check this out .

    http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/8800620/detail.html

    Grtx Dutch Marc

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