Sunday, December 31, 2006

avalanche - close call

from the AP:
SILVER PLUME — A father and son were able to walk away after triggering an avalanche that buried both of them in the backcountry today near Loveland Pass, Colorado Avalanche Information Center officials said.

An 18-year-old and his father were glissading, or descending without skis, on a section at 12,200 feet around 12:30 p.m. when they triggered an avalanche that ran 300 vertical feet and was 200 feet wide, said Scott Toepfer, a forecaster with the avalanche center.

The father was able to free his arm and dig himself out after several minutes, Toepfer said. He then yelled for his son and heard the teen's voice under the snow, allowing him to dig the teen out, Toepfer said.

''This was a bit lucky,'' Toepfer said. ''Most of the time the snow kind of insulates noise from inside the snow. They did not have (avalanche) probes or beacons, so this was the only way he was only going to find him.''

Both men received medical attention at the scene. ''They were checked out in and ambulance and everybody walked away, so incredibly lucky,'' Toepfer said.

Avalanche conditions for Sunday had indicated it was probable human beings could trigger an avalanche in the area.

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