Salt River Range, Wyoming – On Friday, December 29, 2017 a snowmobiler was caught and fully buried in an avalanche on Commissary Ridge in the Salt River Range of Wyoming. He later died from the injuries sustained in the avalanche.
The accident occurred around 13:00 when a large group of snowmobilers were riding on Commissary Ridge. The 2nd rider on the slope was sidehilling when the slide was triggered. Five snowmobilers were caught in the slide. Two were partially buried and one was fully buried and killed. The partially buried individuals were uninjured.
The buried individual was located using an avalanche transceiver and rescuers “saw his helmet sticking out of the snow” (JHNewsandGuide.com). The snowmobiler was buried 8-10 minutes and was found unconscious. Search and rescue was notified via a Spot SOS. They arrived at the scene and flew the victim to the hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
JHAvalanche.org reports the avalanche occurred on 12/29/2017 at 13:00 on Commissary Ridge. It was a SS-R3-D2.5 avalanche that occurred on an east aspect at 9760 feet on a 36-40 degree slope. The note that the 2nd rider on the slope was sidehilling when the avalanche released.
The preliminary accident report posted on Avalanche.State.CO.US states “The second rider on the slope was side hilling when the slide released. That rider was buried for 8 to 10 minutes and was evacuated by a helicopter about 2.5 hours later. The rider later succumbed to injuries. Two other riders were partially buried but not injured. The slide failed on a buried layer of surface hoar and dug down through several inches of faceted snow to a hard crust that formed in late November. ” For an image of the avalanche, visit Avalanche.State.CO.US
We will try to update this post when more information is available.
See Also: Global Avalanche Accidents 2017/2018