This previous week has seen warmer than usual weather with a lot of rain and fluctuating freeing temperatures bringing rain to the tops of the local mountains, and saturating the snow. Yesterday and today dawned cold and clear. Overnight sea-level temperatures were below zero, so mountaintop temps were probably in the –5 to –10 Celsius range, creating a thick ice crust on the surface. With sunny weather yesterday, and more forecast for today, you could bet that there would be a lot of people in the backcountry today.
So it was almost inevitable that a snowshoer on Hollyburn, one of the areas I recently recommended as being fairly safe for snowshoeing, slipped and fell 30 metres. Not knowing too many of the details, I can’t say weather she was on the trail or not. Being a clear, blue sky day, and a fairly hard snow surface there wouldn’t have been much to stop any snowshoer from venturing as far as they liked off trail.
The news reports that the subject injured her ribs – which sounds innocuous, but for anyone who’s had this kid of injury it can be very painful, hard to breathe or even move. The subject was long-lined out.
So far, all of the conditions mentioned in the news fit the profile for the snowshoe-related slip-and-fall accidents I have been writing about. With sunny weather stretching until Wednesday, and low evening temperatures, there is a very high possibility of another such accident in the next few days.
Not to make light of a serious situation, but does anyone have a suggestion for a snappy acronym that I could use to describe these kind of incidents, or is that going too far?