Avalanche danger in Central Oregon

By Dylan J. Darling The Bulletin
Published Feb 13, 2014 at 12:01AM / Updated Feb 18, 2014 at 04:31PM

Recent deadly avalanches

In less than a week, avalanches around the West have killed six people, including two in Oregon.

An avalanche in the Wallowa Mountains near Halfway Tuesday killed a skier from Seattle and a guide from Bellingham, Wash., said Baker County Undersheriff Warren Thompson. Two other backcountry skiers in the eight-person group were seriously injured by the slide. Three clients and another guide were not injured. The victims names’ had yet to be released as of late Wednesday.

A snowcat and a snowmobile Wednesday pulled the injured skiers, who also weren’t named, more than 10 miles in from the backcountry to Halfway, Thompson said.

Rescue efforts were plagued all day by bad weather, which dropped 10 inches of snow and prevented two National Guard helicopters from reaching the avalanche site.

The five-day ski trip was organized by Wallowa Alpine Huts, an outfitter from Joseph that has been in business since 1980 without a fatality, said owner Connelly Brown.

Two other people died in separate slides in Utah over the weekend, and two people were killed Monday by avalanches in Colorado, also separately.

The deaths brought to 12 the number of people who have died in avalanches nationally this season.

— The Associated Press, WesCom Wire

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. In the original version, the cities of residence of the men killed were misidentified due to incorrect information supplied to The Bulletin.

Avalanche info

The Central Oregon Avalanche information posts avalanche reports on its website at http://coavalanche.org . The group also offers avalanche safety advice, including free talks.

The next “Know before you go” training is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Cafe at 1740 N.W. Pence Lane, Suite 1, in Bend.

For more information about avalanches go to the Northwest Avalanche Center at www.nwac.us or the U.S. Forest Service National Avalanche Center at www.fsavalanche.org .