Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 1999-01-04
Submitted By: Larry Livingood, BTNF/JHSC
Place: Togwotee Pass, WY > Dry Lake Creek Area
State: WY
Country: USA
Fatalities: 1
Summary: 1 snowmobiler, caught, buried, and killed

A single,high-marking snowmobiler was buried and killed yesterday in an avalanche in the Dry Lake Creek area accessible from Togwotee Pass. It has been reported that the snomobiler was stuck during the high mark attempt, and was off the machine trying to get moving again when the avalanche released.

The time of the incident was around 11:30 AM. The victim was found four feet deep, under his snow machine, by probers, nearly four hours after the event The recovery was complicated because he was buried more deeply by a second slide sympathetic to the initial event.

Jim Kanzler and Dale Dawson are visiting the accident site today. More details will be posted as they become availible.

Initial reports are that the slide ran full track. The fatality comes after a storm cycle, beginning Christmas Eve and ending the 29th, brought over five feet of snow and almost 6" of moisture to the ski area, which had been dry (13" of snow) since before the 1st of December. The snow was accompanied by strong winds and sharply rising temperatures.

Those interested in the weather conditions up to the event can obtain a rather dramatic graph from the Snotel Graph section of the Togwotee Pass. Snotel site. Start on 12/01/1998.

Being north and east of the Jackson Hole Ski Area, Togwotee Pass has experienced more snow and colder temperatures than have been reported at the Jackson Hole Ski area.

Larry Livingood

USFS, BTNF