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Location of Hanging Lake fatal avalanche #4808
Back To Discussion List Written: 2017.03.07 by: Robin Tivy

Here is a summary of what various sources have said about the avalanche that Cory Lyman died in on Saturday. It was the slope above Hanging lake that is often skied.

My estimate of where the avalanche started was at 50.146766,-123.076916 and 1630m. It went all the way down to Hanging lake. So I found it useful to look at this location on the map, and compare it with the normal routes up Gin Peak.

To see this on the map, in Bivouac go to the Gin Peak page, and click the GMapForm link. Set the radius field (second from bottom) to 3 km and turn on the "Trips" layer (7th from bottom). Set the Basemap setting (last on list) to ""t4" which is the 1:20,000 TRIM map. Now click "Display Map".

When the map comes up, you can flip to different views, but the reason I suggest the t4 display is because it has the best contours for this area. Now position your mouse to 50.1467,-123.0769. (As you move the mouse, you see the coordinates in lower right corner.

Now you can see the contour lines where the avalanche started are somewhat steeper than anywhere on the trip lines which go to Gin peak. People say this is a 35 degree slope. You can compare how steep the contours are with other trips you might be planning. Of course a contour map doesn't tell you everything, but it's worth knowing what CAN slide.

Cory Lyman had one of those airbags on, but it was ripped off. He also had a Pieps but somehow it was not in transmit mode when he was found after 3 hours. Here is a picture of the avalanche on Facebook.

Photo of Avalanche at Hanging Lake

Here is a copy of a first hand report by Avalanche fatality today at Hanging Lake.

Here is one good account written by Darryl Leniuk of the actual event which I found on the Facebook site:

Our group aided SAR with recovery. Crown was 80-100cm deep, 200m wide (multiple breaking points), NW aspect and debris path went right to Hanging Lake, a distance of over 1km. SAR said avi size was 2-2.5 and happened at 11:30am. Slide path went over the ski track we used on way up.

SAR said no one was able to get a beacon signal, despite multiple passes down slope. They then asked us to help, by trying to probe the entire slope. A big team was set up at lake, moving upward in line, and we spread out in debris up high, probing areas around trees and benches. We had a few false hits and made digs to 3m. They also had dogs going up and down slope and said probing would help dogs by releasing scent from snowpack. We learned a bit more about incident while probing with SAR. They said victim had on avalanche airbag backpack which was ripped off. His buddies had last seen him as soon as he had dropped off ridge, yet two other people had skied same line just before him. They had found one of his skis. No one else was involved in slide.

Finally, after nearly 3 hrs of probing, around 3:30pm, we got a call on radio that they had a good probe strike from a dog, and asked me to ski down O2 canister. When I got down, they had just gotten him out and were performing CPR. Location was behind me and to left, in lake photo. He had slid full distance from ridge to lake bottom, but was buried less than 1m. They said his beacon was in 'search mode'; no idea if he set it wrong, or force of avalanche did this. We left soon after, quite shooken up by whole ordeal.


#1875 - 2017.03.08 Steve Grant - Transciever design issue
I've seen a report that the model of transciever in questio has a design flaw where certain pressure of a switch against another part of the unit can change the setting.