Sunday, February 8, 2009

SHAUN KRATZER (1976-2007)

This post is dedicated to the friends and family of Shaun Kratzer, a man lost in an avalanche two years ago today, at Gulmarg. An account of this sad event by someone who was there can be found at The Avy in Gulmarg. There is also a discussion of this particular avalanche with photographs of the crown and deposition located at this forum thread at Teton Gravity Research. (The area of that slide is now known as Shaggy's Face). An additional account of this tragedy can be read where it was originally reported at (Caution: This article is accompanied by a disturbing photograph of the victim).

The snowfall at Gulmarg is generous, increasing the danger of avalanche at the resort, and especially in the adjacent bowls, which are unpatrolled, but heavily skied. Fortunately, the resort has retained the services of experienced patrollers and avalanche experts, and has gained permission to use explosives to trigger pre-emptive slides to control the danger to skiers.

Please consult the following avalanche resources before venturing into the backcountry, and if you intend to visit Gulmarg the patrollers firmly ask that one come equipped with a transceiver, a probe, a shovel, and the knowledge to properly use them all.
Photo credit: Corey Putkunz

The Avalanche Center
The Avalanche Encyclopedia
Surviving the Backcountry - Tahoe World.
WestWide Avalanche Network