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barkernews

Avalanche at Alpental

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FYI-

 

I heard reports of an almost full burial (head out) in the Chair Peak basin either Sunday or Monday. They were VERY well-trained and highly experienced skiers/mountaineers. The slide was triggered from below. I would conclude that based on the remotely-triggered mechanism that a layer of buried surface hoar failed.

 

Buried surface hoar layers, wind-loaded snow, and an early season snowpack that is almost continental or inter-moutain will result in more HUGE surprises if our snowfall total starts to catch up to normal. After talking to some of the old-time patrollers at Stevens our early season was very similar to that of the bad one in the very early 90's. ('91?) That year there were some huge slides to ground once the load built up in the snowpack. NWAC had some photos up for a while this winter.

 

Buried surface hoar can have tons of spatial variability. More so than normal, a hole dug in one place may not accurately represent the snowpack on another slope or even 200ft away in a starting zone for instance.

 

For anyone who knew the victime from yesterday's slide I offer my deepest condolences. Unfortunately, spending any significant time in the moutains willl inevitably lead to loss of someone you know. This reality however, does nothing to reduce the pain.

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I'm not sure if the name has been released yet, but a group of us including Eric started climbing and bouldering in the summer way back in the day at Marymoore Park. I can always remeber running into Eric at Marymoore and around Redmond. Although I was never close to him, I remeber him to be a very positive, upbeat and nice person. It is a shame that he left us at such a young age. Condolences to his family. bigdrink.gif RIP Eric

Edited by TimL

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Erik Lewis, (Erik with a "k"), will be missed. Save some of those freshies for the rest of us...we'll see you soon buddy. cry.gif

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Either of you guys have any pictures of Erik you are willing to share? I clearly didn't know him well, but its likely I have met him or seen him around. So sorry you guys lost your buddy. Sucks.

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Yes, if somebody could describe erik, give his last name (if released) etc. it would be very helpful. I know so many eri(c/k)s from climbing.

 

thanks,

-josh

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Man, this is crazy. I haven't paid any attention to any news lately. I figured I didn't know who it was. I just read about Erik on this forum. I guess I'm glad I finally found out, but I'm in shock at the moment. We weren't "super" tight buds, but I've known him for about 6 years and ridden with him many times at Alpental.

 

May you find peace Erik, and all others who knew him. Alpental was him home. I don't think I knew anyone who loved that place as much as he did.

 

~Erik Schertzl

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