33! Avalanche deaths. Enough already!

33! Avalanche deaths. Enough already!

Its been more than a month since we've had to report an avalanche-related death. Before this weekend, we held firm at 32 North American avalanche fatalities this season. Today, that number jumps to 33.  The body of a backcountry skier in the Lake Tahoe area was found this morning in slide debris near Emerald Bay on Tahoe’s southwest shore. Christopher Trethaway, 39, was found buried in a fresh avalanche west of Cascade Lake in an area near Maggie's Peak, according to El Dorado County Sheriff's Search and Rescue personnel. Trethway was apparently skiing alone. As a solo adventure myself, I'm conflicted on that finding. I love the idea of solitary wilderness exploration for those who have the skils and temperment to support that activity. But realistically, solo winter recreation is exponentially dangerous. That said, I have more respect -- or at least, understand of -- fatalities among solo winter recreationists than I do avalanche fatalities among groups. Soloist undertstand and accept the risks of venturing out on their own. Those who die in avalanches witnessed by others are merely careless -- groups should be prepared to help each other. Soloist know they are on their own. Perhaps this is unfeeling toward those who have witnessed the deaths of friends in avalanches. I accept that. But I'm someone who appreciates the benefits -- and accepts the risks -- of soloistic adventures. When I'm off on my own, I put myself, but no one else, at risk. When I'm in a group, I make sure I minimize the risks to EVERYONE in my group. If everyone who ventured into the backcountry adopted this philosophy, we could reduce the number of avalanche deaths we see.
%d bloggers like this: