Canmore snowshoer killed in avalanche

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The body of a 55-year-old Canmore man was recovered from avalanche debris in Spray Valley Provincial Park Monday (March 21), according to local RCMP.

The man was reported overdue from snowshoeing in the Tent Ridge area in the Kananaskis Country park, Sunday evening.

Members of the Kananaskis Public Safety team, conservation officers and RCMP began an air search at daylight Monday morning.

According to a release from the RCMP, during that search an avalanche debris field was observed on Tent Ridge and, with the assistance of Parks Canada warden dog service, the area was searched and the man located buried.

The solo snowshoer triggered a size 3 avalanche possibly mid-slope, but it started in the alpine area, where avalanche risk Sunday was high – dangerous and travel not recommended, according to Avalanche Canada.

The avalanche started at 2,200 metres up the mountain slope and ran for over 800m.

It ranged from 40 to 150 centimetres deep.

The snowshoer was not equipped with a transceiver when his body was recovered by rescue crews.

When the hazard level is at high or considerable in the alpine, if triggered, avalanche debris is still able to rush down into the other zones, said Jeremy Mackenzie, Kananaskis public safety officer.

“He entered the avalanche path at the bottom where all the debris built up, but an educated guess is he was in the middle or the top of the avalanche path (when the avalanche was triggered),” said Mackenzie.

The investigation is continuing in conjunction with the Calgary Chief Medical Examiner’s Office.

The avalanche was on the north aspect of Tent Ridge in an area with no previous avalanche activity this season.

A considerable hazard for the region was issued by Avalanche Canada and a prior bulletin warned of problems with surface or near surface slabs and quickly stepping down to a Jan. 6 layer. “Although we did move a high level to considerable rating, it’s still dangerous overall,” said Mackenzie.

Conditions are not expected to change anytime soon.

Go to www.avalanche.ca to be updated about the conditions in Kananaskis, as well as the mountain national parks.

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