Avalanche sweeps four over cliff in Glacier National Park, one injured

One skier was airlifted by BC Air Ambulance to hospital in Kamloops after suffering a head injury.

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This image shows the result of the Mar. 17 avalanche in Glacier National Park that swept four skiers over a cliff. The crown is visible near the top of the col, just below the cornice. The path runs down the centre of the frame. The skiers were swept over the cliff band at the top. Photo: Avalanche Canada Mountain Information Network

A group of four backcountry skiers was swept over a cliff by an avalanche they triggered in Glacier National Park on Sunday.

The incident happened in the col between Mt. Green and Parsons Peak. According to Parks Canada spokesperson Amy Clarke, Parks Canada was notified of the incident at around noon on Mar. 17 when a skier from another party used an InReach device to call in the incident.

A group of four had bootpacked up a cliff band near the top of the col and were preparing to proceed when they triggered the avalanche.

All four were swept over the cliff band. Luckily, none of them were buried in the avalanche.

One of the party, who fell over a higher portion of the cliff than the others, received a head injury and was initially unconscious but later regained consciousness.

Parks Canada staff responded to the area via a local contract helicopter, arriving at about 12:50 p.m.

They landed near the party, which had moved to a flat area below the col but needed rescue.

Parks staff had to place a spotter on scene due to overhead avalanche risk.

The injured member was transported from Rogers Pass via BC Air Ambulance helicopter to hospital in Kamloops.

According to a report on Avalanche Canada’s Mountain Information page, the avalanche was between 30 and 40 centimetres at the crown, about 40 metres wide and ran for about 300 metres.

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