Monday, January 21, 2008

Mountaineer Dies In Avalanche On Mt Washington

Although you'd have to read all the stories to get the full story, it seems Peter Roux was not a Tennessee warm blood, but in fact a native of Maine.

He was climbing a technical climb called Odell's Gully which is a NEI 3 (a mid grade ice climb depending on conditions). I've climbed this myself a few years ago, and it's a stellar low to moderate grade climb. A skilled and confident ice climber could solo it if the conditions were good, and people do this all the time.

In this photo, the depression to the left (center) is South Gully, the right (center) depression is Odell's, and behind the big buttress all the way to the right is Pinnacle Gully.

Below is a more close up view of Odells from the base of the ravine. When you are down in there there are all sorts of contorted trees from the frequency of avalanches.

Oddly the conditions were between high and considerable avalanche danger that day based on the daily USFS Snow Ranger avalanche report found both online and posted on boards at the base of the Ravines. The Snow Rangers conduct avalanche condition test daily.

via (USFS Snow Rangers):

We send our deepest condolences and thoughts to the family and friends of a fellow mountaineer who was killed in an avalanche in Huntington Ravine on Friday. The objective dangers in the winter mountains are many, which are contrasted by their extraordinary beauty, and the rejuvenation and peacefulness they can bring us. These factors together create the challenges that give us the intense fulfillment as human beings and keep us coming back time and time again. We must be ever on the lookout for all the hazards we face while pursuing our mountain passions. The mountains will be here another day.We will post an accident summary on later today or tomorrow.

If there is a lesson to be learned, based on scattered information, don't risk climbing avalanche prone terrain alone during high or considerable avalanche danger. Even in the best conditions accidents can and do happen, the further you stack the odds against you, the more likely it is for things to go wrong. As the Snow Rangers put it, "the mountains will be there another day."

photos linked from

Climber Dies On Mount Washington


New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent

12 hours, 38 minutes ago

PINKHAM’S GRANT – The body of a climber killed Friday in an avalanche on the slopes of Mount Washington was recovered this weekend, according to U.S. Forest Service snow rangers.Peter Roux, 39, of Bartlett, Tenn. had been climbing alone Friday at Odell Gully, in Huntington Ravine and was reported by a friend as overdue just before 9:30 p.m. Friday.Snow rangers organized a search on the eastern side of Mount Washington and conducted an initial search between 10 p.m. and midnight.His body was found at about 7:15 a.m. yesterday. An investigation concluded that while Roux was climbing in the gully, an avalanche was triggered, carrying him down the slope.Avalanche conditions are provided daily in the winter at and those conditions were rated as "high" on Friday. Today’s conditions, according to the report posted this morning, are "considerable," meaning “natural avalanches are possible and human triggered avalanches are probable.”

Union Leader - Manchester, New Hampshire

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