Incident Report

Sunday January 7, 2018 - West Bowl, Mount Cain

At an unspecified time Sunday morning 07 January a skier triggered an avalanche at the lower west ridge entrance to the west bowl at Mount Cain at approximately 50° 13.567’N, 126° 20.417’W.

The skier reported jumping from the cornice on the ridge into the bowl causing a slab to fail around him. The skier managed to ski out to the left and off the slab. The fracture line varied from about 20cm to 40cm height and was approximately 30 metres wide. It appeared that the slide ran for about 25 metres with debris visible on the first bench below the ridge. However around the same time a second hand account from a snowshoer in the bottom of the west bowl reported that he had “hidden behind a large boulder” to avoid being hit by debris coming down from above. The avalanche triggered from the west ridge was observed after the fact by a VIACS forecaster and appeared to stop on the first bench but visibility was poor. It is possible that either the avalanche continued past the bench to the bottom of the bowl or that the first avalanche triggered a second one that ran to the bottom. This is unknown.

The avalanche observed by the forecaster at the ridge was a wind slab of storm snow that was blown in by ESE winds on top of the rain crust which formed on Friday. Rising temperatures also contributed to the tension in the slab. Size estimate for the avalanche off the west ridge is 1.5 whereas if it did indeed run to the valley it would certainly have been at least size 2. There were no injuries or lost equipment.