SALT LAKE CITY — An avalanche that broke loose near Oakley, in Summit County, Utah, was caught on camera by a snowmobiler who was in the area with friends on Saturday afternoon.
Nate Carlon told KSL that he and five others had taken their snowmobiles to an area that they were familiar with, and that everybody in the group had the emergency equipment recommended for winter excursions in the backcountry: radios, beacons, and avalanche backpacks.
There was fresh snow from a recent snowstorm.
“We had reached a bowl and decide to play around there,” Carlon said. While two of the group members were riding within the trees (off to the right side of the video) the others were sledding on what Carlon called the flats.
” I had taken out my phone to take a video of us riding below when the avalanche broke,” Carlon said.
Despite his preparations, Miles Penrose, one of the members of the group, tried deploying his avalanche backpack to no avail. It didn’t work. Carlon says Penbrose was covered to his chest in snow. Penrose’s younger brother Hunter was completely buried.
As were Carlon and another member of the group. In all, four of the six people sledding together in Oakley on Saturday were buried by the avalanche.
All were able to dig themselves out of the snow, but Hunter was buried for 3 minutes before he was able to create an air pocket and reach his hand out to indicate his location.
“It is a miracle that everyone made it out alive and safe,” Carlon said.
A terrible day
In another canyon on Saturday, another avalanche brought devastating consequences. Four skiers were killed in a large avalanche in Millcreek Canyon east of Salt Lake City.
The skiers were in an area known as Wilson Glades in upper Millcreek Canyon when the avalanche occurred.
The Utah Avalanche Center (Center) was among those agencies which, earlier in the week, had warned about the danger of avalanche in the mountains of northern Utah.
“We just added new snow onto, really, what is a house-of-cards base,” said Craig Gordan from the Center.
“And strong, dense snow on top of that? That’s been wind driven? Yeah, the avalanche danger from the Manti skyline through the Salt Lake Area mountains and Logan area mountains, and western Uinta Mountains, avalanche danger is high.
“Human triggered avalanches are likely.”
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