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Location (general area)
Road conditions to area
clear (no clouds)
Light (1-16mph Flags/twigs in motion)
Wind direction in degrees
Aspect in degrees
Boot/ Ski penetration
Activity, recent avalanches
Triggered a dry-loose avalanche approximately 50 yards below the bowl ridge
Whumphing noises, shooting cracks. collapsing
Obvious avalanche path
Fresh, very powdery snow at the bottom of the bowl continued most of the way up. Put snowshoes on about 1/5th way up. No problems with the snow observed up to the chute, it was just powdery and we were sinking knee-to-waist deep mostly. We were trying to keep it towards the areas with less snow, which ultimately led me to “chute 13”
The snow conditions didn’t change much until we were near the base of the chute (approx. 30 yards wide). The crust layer become much more prominent so I’ve tried to get on top of it with snowshoes hoping it would hold me… but it didn’t (at most 5 inches deep followed by cold, fresh powder underneath it).
I asked my buddy for my ice axe to get to a 4-point contact with the surface. We proceed further, I was mostly breaking the trail beneath the crust layer as it was deep and powdery, I didn’t like it but we were locked in options. A minute or so later I’ve heard and felt a deep and very distinct pop-like sound that was nothing like anything I’ve heard before. The guys below told me that it was a rock that fell through the crust or something (and I didn’t believe it but ignored the concern and proceeded). I remember I looked at the surrounding walls and really wanted to be closer but for some reason, I kept it to the center (possibly the snow was better in the middle )
Less than in a minute I’ve spotted a chute-wide crack of the surface/crust layer. My buddy did notice it as well and started rushing people below us for a quick push. A few of us crossed the crack shortly but the rest were still below when I decided to take a quick (like 10 sec) break to calm my pulse. In a meantime, my buddy went around me on the left side and that is the point when I realized that something is wrong.
I looked up and no further than 5 yards above us the crust layer started separating (like in slow-motion) from the part above. Instinctually I defaulted to fixing my ice ax as hard as I could.. surely enough it was moving with the giant layer where myself and everyone else were jammed. I remember I tried another time but it was pointless.
The slide behaved more like a wave in the ocean, I could feel how the snow was hovering over ground with some rocks pricking my body occasionally. It was at that point that I felt sort of “off-ramp feeling”, and in less than a second I was airborne (while still in between layers of snow) I hit some rather large object while flying and shortly after landing I continued sliding. This apparently helped me to re-surface up and the rest of the way I was sliding somewhat close to the surface.
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