March 9, 2022
March 9, 2022
Zone or Region:
White Salmon Glacier
Did you trigger any avalanches? Yes
Was it intentional? No
Size 2: Could bury, injure, or kill a person
We noticed shallow wind slab activity and decided to bail on the day, opting to traverse out of the steep area we were booting up to instead ski down an area that was lower-angle but exposed to overhead hazard (which was why we had chosen not to skin up it). This was just at the top of tree line on the White Salmon Glacier route.
As I started skinning across the pictured slope at a traverse, I heard a whooshing sound, and a wind slab propagated about 20 feet in front of me and 25 feet above me. I was carried about 20 feet downhill and had three of my limbs completely buried. One arm and my head were unburied.
The photo with two people (me on the left) in the foreground shows the slope a couple minutes before it slid.
In the wide photo where you can clearly see my partner digging me out on the left, you can also see my skin track on the right as it enters what eventually became the surface bed.
We would estimate the crown was about 4-5 inches deep and 35 feet across.
Prior to the avalanche, we were shearing off thin (1-2 inch) and small (no more than 1 foot wide) wind slabs as we booted up, which lead us to turn around. We saw no shooting cracks and experienced no whumphing until triggering the slide.