Accident: Other Regions

Location: Nelchina Glacier, Eureka

Sat, February 27th, 2016
Three snowmachiners caught, one buried and killed.
Accident Report

Avalanche Details:

Date: 27 February 2016
Time: 12:30 pm AST
Place: Toe of Nelchina Glacier. 16.5 miles South of the Eureka Roadhouse (MP 137.4
Glenn Highway) as the Crow flies.
Accident site coordinates: 61* 42’ 00.43”N 147* 06’ 09.73”W
State: Alaska
Borough: Matanuska-Susitna Borough.
Reporting Agency: Chugach National Forest Avalanche Info Center (CNFAIC)
Fatalities: 1


Three snowmachiners were caught in an avalanche triggered by the party. Two were caught and carried while the third was overrun by debris as he sat on his snowmachine at the base of the slope. Of the two riders caught and carried, one came to rest on the surface uninjured and the other was shallowly buried but killed, likely from trauma. The third member of the party was partially buried (to his waist) and able to eventually dig himself out.

Avalanche details:

Avalanche Code: SS-AM-R2D3-I
Avalanche Type: Soft Slab
Avalanche Character: Persistent Slab
Crown height: 2-4’ Width: 250–400’ (estimate). Vertical run: 1500’ -2,000’ (estimate)
Trigger: Snowmachine/ rider ascending slope.
Weak layer: Facets and surface hoar (weak layer unconfirmed).
Slope angle: 35*+
Aspect: East
Elevation at crown: ~5,000’ ASL
Path character: Channeled terrain trap.
Debris: 2’-10’ deep.