BC Banter: White, Hinchcliffe and Soderquist Ski Capitol Peak’s North Face, Avalanche Explosive Triggers Bomb Scare, Utah Avalanche Center’s Annual Report and an Avalanche Rabbit Goes Viral

White, Hinchcliffe and Soderquist claim first descent of the north face off Capitol Peak


Colter Hinchcliffe carves down the north face of Capitol Peak (14,130 ft.) in Colorado’s Elk Mountains. [Photo] Jordan White

ELK MOUNTAINS, COLO. On Thursday, June 4, Aspen locals Jordan White, Colter Hinchcliffe and Riley Soderquist claimed the first descent of the north face off Capitol Peak in Colorado’s Elk Mountains. The trio ascended the 14,130 ft. peak and then skied 2,530 vertical ft. from the summit to Capitol Lake, completing three rappels along the way. “It was a 60-degree pitch. It had cliff bands, and you’re skiing over incredibly gnarly exposure. For one, you’re not allowed to fall on it,” said White about the high-stakes line in an interview with Backcountry earlier this week. Just before the final rappel—which measured around 400 ft.—Hinchcliffe lost hold of a ski, sending it catapulting over the cliff. This runaway ski mishap is part of the reason the team decided to name the line “Peg Leg.” Thankfully, the trio had already completed the line’s hairiest skiing, and only had to rappel down the last cliff band to ski out. To hear more about the group’s adventure, read our Q&A with Jordan White. 

Forgotten Avalanche Explosives Trigger Bomb Scare


A member of the Unified Fire Authority bomb squad investigates a suspected explosive device found on Monday, June 8. [Photo] Courtesy The Salt Lake Tribune

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, UTAH. This past Monday, a package containing a suspected explosive device was found in the parking lot of the U.S. Forest Service building in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. Police closed traffic at 3000 East and 6900 South to investigate the suspected package. A little after noon, police reported the area was safe, and reopened the roads. According to Cottonwood Heights police Sgt. Corbett Ford, the package was actually just an explosive device used for avalanche control, accidentally left by a mountain employee. Read more about the bomb scare in The Salt Lake Tribune.

Utah Avalanche Center Publishes Annual Report


Utah Avalanche Center’s 2015 Annual Report [Photo] Courtesy Utah Avalanche Center

ALTA, UTAH. This past Tuesday, the Utah Avalanche Center published its 2015 Annual Report, which offers a comprehensive overview of the 2014-2015 season including avalanche incidents and accidents, information about where to access snow reports and information about avalanche education opportunities. According to Bruce Tremper, director of the Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center, Alta saw record high temperatures for the season, and record low snowfall for the year, with only 267.5 inches accumulating between November 1st and April 30th. “But the good news,” wrote Tremper on the Utah Avalanche Center’s blog, “Utah had only one fatality instead of the average of four. We had 116 unintentional, human triggered avalanches reported to us, 26 people caught in avalanches and 3 injured.  Nationally avalanche deaths were down as well with 11, well under the average of close to 30.” Read the Utah Avalanche Center’s 2015 Annual Report here.

Avalanche Rabbit Goes Viral


Professional snowboarder, David Carrier Porcheron, escapes a slide while filming in Kamchatka, Russia, just as the infamous rabbit dives in [Photo] Courtesy Daily Mail

KAMCHATKA, RUSSIA.  Adventure tourism company Heliport was shooting a promotional video on the Vilyuchinsk Volcano on the eastern peninsula of Kamchatka, Russia, when an avalanche came barreling down the slope, nearly taking out Canadian snowboarder David Carrier Porcheron. Carrier Porcheron skillfully maneuvered out of the slide, but just as he did so, a small rabbit hopped headfirst into the brunt of the avalanche. “DCP [David Carrier Porcheron] was riding and caused an avalanche when this crazy rabbit came in our shot,” said a Heliport spokesperson. Only after the incident, while reviewing footage, did the film crew notice the rabbit dashing through the slide, so they set the footage to music, and the video has since gone viral. Watch the video here.

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