Swift creek avalanche

Map for Mountain Information Network report: Swift creek avalanche

Information

Activity
Skiing

Group details

Total in the group?
3
People fully buried?
1
People involved?
1

Terrain details

Terrain shape at trigger point
Convex
Terrain traps
  • Gully or depression
  • Trees

Comments

Party travelled up trees on the west side of slope. Circled around to top of slope to avoid a concerning area of wind loading. At start of slope, skiers descended one at a time and regrouped near the base of the slope below an outcrop of trees. Transitioned to skinning and started an up track over existing ski tracks. Group discussed possible terrain trap to the east. Second person felt a settlement and notified party. Shortly after a much larger settlement occurred and triggered a wind loaded section at ridge line. This triggered remaining slope. All parties were caught in the ensuing avalanche. Two members had avalanche airbags and deployed them during the slide. One member came to rest face down, head down but was able to clear their face and remove their backpack to initiate SOS. self extricated and initiated beacon search. Travelled upslope and found second member face up, head down and partially buried. Assisted in their extrication and continued beacon search for third missing group member. Unable to obtain signal and believe SOS device was negatively affecting search function (intermittent signal found and chased from 70m to 20m before lost, numerous times). Search and rescue arrived on scene at 5pm.