Detailed Accident Report
Submitted By: AAA
Place: Paxson, Summit Lake, Eastern Alaska Range, near Gulkana Glacier
Summary: 1 snowmobiler caught, buried and killed
On Monday evening at about 1930 hrs a 38-year-old Fairbanks man was buried and killed near the Gulkana Glacier. The Alaska Avalanche Information Center reported the man was with two friends who had already ridden up a slope. When he failed to arrive they turned around and found the avalanche. The man was not wearing a transceiver. According to the AAIC, the friends found the partly buried snowmobile searched as best they could by spot probing and digging before leaving. The next day the pair were joined by additional friends who located his body the next day by probing. The victim was buried 5 feet and about 6 feet downhill of his machine.
The AAIC noted that this accident occurred not far from 3 April 2016 accident -- www.avalanche.org -- near Summit Lake, and that the snow conditions were similar -- "hard windslab over facets 2-3 feet deep."
Gulkana Glacier area as been the site of at least two earlier fatal avalanche accidents. In 2002 -- www.avalanche.org -- a group of 3 snowmobilers were inadvertently parked on a cornice that collapsed. A father and daughter died. In October 1970 a climber was killed in an early season avalanche along the glacier.
Official Report: www.alaskasnow.org
Media Report: www.adn.com
Posted: 13 April 2016 at 1156 MDT
Updated: 1 May 2016 2214 MDT with recovery information