Tragedy struck when a summer avalanche claimed the life of a hiker and injured two others in California’s Sierra Nevada range. The incident occurred as an unidentified hiking party was descending Split Mountain on July 2, according to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.
While none of the hikers were buried, the powerful wet slide avalanche swept them onto rocky terrain, causing injuries and ultimately proving fatal for one member of the group. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing risks posed by avalanches, even during the summer months.
Details of the Incident
Earlier on July 2, the hiking party had successfully reached the summit of Split Mountain, located above Red Lake near Big Pine, California.
The tweet below verifies the news:
A summer avalanche took the life of a hiker and injured two others in California, investigators say. https://t.co/uGzM2ZhreS
— ABC News (@ABC) July 9, 2023
However, during their descent, they encountered the wet slide avalanche, which triggered the unfortunate chain of events. The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center reported that all three hikers sustained injuries, with one member tragically losing their life.
Rescue Operation and Recovery Efforts
The survivors promptly called for assistance, prompting the deployment of rescue teams from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office. Despite the challenging conditions, the rescuers managed to ascend 2,000 feet to reach the injured hikers. However, due to adverse conditions, the recovery of the deceased hiker’s body had to be postponed until the following day.
Ongoing Avalanche Risks in the Sierra Nevada Range
This incident comes as the second avalanche-related fatality in the Sierra in recent weeks, highlighting the continued danger posed by avalanches in the region. The Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center issued a warning, emphasizing that current weather conditions increase the likelihood of avalanches, even during the summer months.
Loose, unconsolidated snow on the surface and the absence of overnight refreezing create favorable conditions for easily triggered wet loose avalanches. The center also cautioned hikers about objective hazards in the Sierra Mountains, such as melting snow bridges and fast-flowing creeks that may hinder safe passage.
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