Kootenay Pass avalanche claims one

Nelson man dies, woman transported to Trail hospital

Local search and rescue teams responded to an emergency call Sunday afternoon after an avalanche in the Kootenay Pass area left one man dead and one woman injured.

A 27-year old male from Nelson suffered severe injuries and passed away at the scene of the avalanche and the 27-year old woman, also from Nelson,  is in Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital with serious injuries, according to a Monday news release by the Salmo RCMP detachment.

The incident unfolded in the early afternoon when four skiers from Nelson trekked through a remote section southwest from the Kootenay Pass Summit and two were hit by a slide that swept them over the cliff and into trees below.

Six skiers who were nearby the slide began rescue efforts while the two remaining members of the group skied to the highway to call for help.

“This is a popular ski area with nice powder, and the only access in is by foot,” said Ron Medland, from South Columbia Search and Rescue (SAR). “You have to be quite skilled to be in there because it is backcountry touring in deep powder and avalanches are a risk.”

Medland confirmed that three members from his rescue team joined SAR members from Castlegar, Nelson and Rossland to ski about three kilometres into the rescue area after the two skiers were initially located by helicopter.

“Across the parking lot (summit) there is an old logging road that goes south through a couple of switchbacks and leads to a ridge called the Lightning Strike,” he explained. “Below that is a couple of lakes called Twin Lakes,” said Medland. “This is high skill stuff. Our teams skied in and rescued the one person and brought (her) out about 12:30 a.m. to a waiting ambulance.”

Rescue teams considered staying with the deceased male until morning, however an on-site avalanche technician said the risk of further slides was too high and the area too dangerous for the SAR members to remain behind in the dark.

“The danger is out there and so many people use the back country in that area,” said Medland. “Unfortunately it was only a matter of time before something happened.”

The Canadian Avalanche Centre (CAC) issued a special public avalanche warning last week for recreational backcountry users to use extreme caution because fresh snow on top of a weak crust created the potential for large destructive slides.

“There’s a lot of pent-up demand for powder after that dry spell (January and February) but this weak layer is going to be a problem for the foreseeable future,” said the centre’s Karl Klassen. “Staying safe will require patience and discipline as long as this layer is in play.”

Just Posted

BC senior championship: Tie breakers to decide men’s, Richter goes undefeated in women’s

Marilou’s Richter’s Penticton/Kamloops team cruises to final with perfect record.

Maglio Building Centre sold to RONA

The stores in Nelson and Trail will remain open

Firefighters extinguish early-morning blaze in Rossland

Neighbour alerted family of four, no injuries reported

Nominations open for Trail-Warfield Citizen of the Year

Award presented annually for a person or group with an outstanding record of community service

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Sledder dies near Fernie

Fernie Search and Rescue was tasked by the RCMP to respond to a sledder in medical distress

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read