Man Dies in an Avalanche While Snowmobiling Near White Pass

Over the weekend, the Yakima County Search and Rescue (SAR) team recovered the body of a snowmobiler who died in an avalanche near Whitepass.

An Avalanche Near the "Mini Bowl" was responsible for the Death

Search and Rescue personnel say that on Friday, March 1st, at around 11 am, they received a call from a snowmobiling man with his friend in the “Mini Bowl” area north of Darland Mountain. He said his friend was buried in an avalanche at the base of Darland Mountain. They activated their Search and Rescue team and headed up to the Naches Ranger station to check out the avalanche danger for our rescuers.

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Heavy Snow Drifts made the Rescue Difficult.

Rescuers could only make it up halfway to the avalanche site because of heavy snow drifts on the roadways and trails. They learned that the deceased man’s friend and son were able to dig the man out of the snow, and they moved safely out of the avalanche zone.

The Bad Weather Prevented a Helicopter Rescue but a Snowcat was Able to Help

The weather conditions were not good enough for helicopter recovery efforts or for our SAR team to continue during the evening hours. Fortunately, a snow grooming machine was made available to crews, and the operator started making his way up to the site at 3 am to make a safe and efficient path for the team.

Crews were able to Eventually Reach the Scene.

The next day, the SAR team was able to climb to the avalanche location with the help of the deceased man’s family and recover the body.

“This was a sad situation for everyone involved, and we are thankful for all the assistance we received from the family, Fish and Wildlife, the Forest Service, and the snow machine operator,” said the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office.

Things To Consider Packing For A Snowmobile Trip

Sure - you've covered the basics: Hats, gloves, jackets, boots. But there are plenty of other items that you should consider packing for the snowmobile trail - from the necessities to 'creature comforts'.

Gallery Credit: Steve Tanko

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