Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 1:53 am Posts: 17 Location: Revelstoke BC
The mountains have the power to make us feel so very alive, and they also have the power to take away good lives, good friends, good poeple. I met Doug in Alaska along time ago tasaina lodge, he was one of the best ski mountaineers of our time. my respect to his family.
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm Posts: 1620 Location: Santa Cruz, CA
That is so terrible. What a huge loss to the ski mountaineering community. I always wanted to go to one of his steep skiing camps. I remember an article in Couloir or Backcountry several years back where he described an improbable descent on Mt. Hood, where he brought along a 2x4 for possible use as a rap anchor. Talk about skiing "desperate shit". Here are a couple interesting videos:
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2004 5:07 am Posts: 619 Location: Montana
Very few genuine pioneers in this world. He was 1. Story I read indicated the accident occurred after Chad had slipped in an icy "no fall" section & gone over a cliff. Doug was reconning a rescue when he went over as well - contrary to the original avalanche story.
Skier slipped on rocks while trying to help friend who fell down gully in France.
By Jim Stanford
In the end, the man regarded by many as the greatest skier in the world simply lost an edge.
Doug Coombs, the Jackson Hole mountaineer and guide who took the sports of skiing and climbing to new heights, died Monday in the French Alps after slipping and falling over a cliff while trying to aid a friend who had plunged over the same precipice. He was 48 years old.
Chad VanderHam, 31, of Colorado later died of his injuries in the incident, which occurred near the resort of La Grave, about 50 miles east of Grenoble in southeast France. Coombs guided skiers at La Grave and also operated steep skiing camps there with his wife, Emily. He was skiing with friends at the time of the accident.
French authorities confirmed the deaths Tuesday and gave a basic account of the incident. Miles Smart, a friend of Coombs' and colleague at Exum Mountain Guides in Jackson Hole, provided further details in a telephone interview Tuesday from La Grave, where he had been guiding with Coombs this winter and had spoken with a member of the ski party.
Coombs was one of four skiers, all Americans, descending the Couloir de Polichinelle, a steep chute that winds through cliffs and ends in a 200-foot drop, Smart said. To avoid the last cliff, skiers must traverse to the left at the bottom and exit via another chute, said Smart, who skied the Couloir de Polichinelle on Tuesday and inspected the scene of the accident.
VanderHam went first and disappeared from sight. Coombs skied next, saw that VanderHam had fallen over the cliff and yelled to the other two skiers above Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Matt Farmer and Christina Bloomquist Ã¢â‚¬â€œ to bring a rope.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Doug skied down to the edge of the cliff and was sidestepping down on some rocks, to try to get a view of Chad, and Matt Farmer saw him slip a little bit,Ã¢â‚¬Â