Avalanche: Holbrook Creek

Observer Name
Geoff Dyer
Observation Date
Friday, March 2, 2012
Occurrence Date
Friday, March 2, 2012
Occurence Time
Unknown

Region:

Location Name or Route
Holbrook Creek Bountiful Mountains
Elevation
8400
Aspect
North
Slope Angle
37
Trigger
Snowmobiler
Trigger: additional info
Unintentionally Triggered
Avalanche Type
Soft Slab
Weak Layer
Facets
Depth
2.5'
Width
50
Vertical
200
Carried
1
Caught
1
Buried - Partly
1
Comments

Here is a link to the location on google maps.  Might have to switch to terrain view.  Slide was on a north facing slope at roughly 8400 Feet.  Slope degree was probably 35-38 degrees.  Locals know the location as the Banner pass.  Its near the head of Right Fork Shingle Mill Creek on the great western trail, directly east of Bountiful (near grandview mtn).

http://tinyurl.com/7er4ncb

As he was coming down the he made a sidehill cut under some trees.  The terrain is rocky and the snowpack there was shallow.  The slide propagated the slope and it crowned out about 30 feet above him at the ridgeline in the trees.  Crown looked to be 2.5-3 feet in height.  Failed on the february crust layer.  Slide was probably 40-50 feet in width and traveled maybe 200-250 feet. 

I may or may not have footage of the slide, havent checked yet, and soon as i recognized what was happening the camera was thrown down to get out essentials for rescue.  He was buried at the toe of the slide. probably about 1 -2 feet down.  I had my shovel out and ready and beacon out before the slide even stopped moving.  Where my probe was supposed to be it was gone, it must have fallen out of its holster earlier in the day.  Was not a good feeling.  He had an airbag, but kept missing the handle.  I kept eyes on him and was able to see either his back pack or helmet sticking out as the slide came to rest.  By the time i had ran the 60 feet to get to the spot, he was able to lift his head out of the snow.  Had him fully extracted in about 2 minutes.  No harm or injury to rider or machine.  Just a good learning experience.

2 things I wanted to comment about.  The first is familiarity with the terrain.  We ride the area all the time, checked the reports this morning, and knew what we were up against.  There were signs of other slides (that went in the storm) and we had heard two large ones come down earlier.  Had he not cut across into the rockier terrain I believe the slide would stil be there waiting to get someone.  Its in a high traffic area, and covered the usual trail in and out. Goal was to stay out from underneath any terrain traps, and we were in no way going near the usual avy zones.  Just happened to cut the wrong spot.  Unusual year, with unusual snow pack.  Best be extra cautious.

The other thing i wanted to mention was training.  When it all started happening, there was a strong urge to panic.  I took 2 big deep breaths, and remembered all my training.  I was able to clear my head and get my gear ready very very quickly.  Luckily I didnt have to probe or shovel too much (it was just me and him out there).  I cannot emphasize enough how critical the training is.  Without it, i probably would have panicked and locked up.  Looking forward to helping out again this year in educating others.

Ride safe out there and thanks again for all your hard work!
phattty

Forecaster Comment -  Way to be ready and practiced with rescue and recovery.  Training during times of stress pays off.  Hardesty

Coordinates