Full report of the Feb 6th Mill Creek Canyon Avalanche, UTAH
Many of you have probably heard about the tragic avalanche incident that took place earlier this month in Mill Creek Canyon near Salt Lake City, Utah. Fast facts were probably passed down to you last week via a news network, your local backcountry community, or even through one of us writers here at Backcountry Skiing Canada, but the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) released a full report and video of the incident just yesterday,... and it is well worth the chilling read.
With every new avalanche incident this season, I can’t help but be tempted by my initial instinct to criticize the judgment and decision-making that leads people into becoming headline news in the backcountry world. In AvCan’s January e-newsletter, a North Shore SAR volunteer was quoted saying that members of his team had responded to several call outs where people were “unprepared as humanly possible.”
Yet, the recent report of the the Feb 6th Mill Creek avalanche digs deep into the details of an incident involving two groups of 8 experienced skiers, and the decisions they made that later led to 6 complete burials, 1 injured, and ultimately 4 dead. Reading the report, in hindsight, there are definite red flags that come up regarding terrain selection and decisions the 2 groups made leading up to the avalanche,... but they are also decisions that many of us might have made in similar circumstances.