[3/6/18] Methow Valley Avalanche Claims Life Of Back Country Skier

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Okanogan County Sheriff, Frank Rogers reports a man was killed in a Methow Valley avalanche on Sunday.

Rogers said the victim was one of four skiers caught in an avalanche 12 miles up from the Goat Creek sno-park.

According to reports, the four had snowmobiled in before setting out on a back country ski adventure.

The victim was wearing an avalanche locate beacon. Following signals from that beacon, the three surviving skiers were able to locate the victim, but the man died at the scene.

Due to extreme avalanche danger, searchers were unable to recover the victim until late yesterday afternoon.

This is the 6th avalanche fatality in Washington State this year— in fact, it’s the 6th in just more than a week.

Two teenagers died in an avalanche while snowshoeing in the back country of Snoqualmie Pass on February 25th.

On the same day, in Kittitas County, a group of five snowmobilers were caught in an avalanche where one died from injuries.

On Saturday, two snowmobilers died and two others were injured when an avalanche swept down a slope near Esmeralda Peak in Kittitas County.

Skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing are not necessarily considered high risk, however back country recreation can be a high risk adventure.

Even so, avalanche deaths remain infrequent. Going back three decades, Washington state averages 2.6 avalanche deaths each year.

We’ve had 6 already in 2018.

The northwest avalanche center says the avalanche danger up and down the Cascade Range remains high- travel in avalanche terrain is not recommended. Natural avalanches are likely, and human triggered avalanches are very likely.

It appears that all six of this year’s Washington State avalanche victims knew and understood the avalanche danger. Most, if not all, were wearing avalanche locator beacons, designed to locate you after the avalanche- they do nothing to keep you out of an avalanche.

Know before you go– visit the northwest avalanche center website at www.nwac.us.