One skier died and two of his three companions were injured after a wet slide released on Wyoming’s Mount Moran this Sunday morning.
Luke Lynch, Stephen Adamson, Brook Yeomans, and Zahan Billimoria were ascending the Sickle Couloir on the mountain’s northeast face when the slide broke loose. Billimoria, who guides for the mountaineering company Exum, quickly skied away from the heavier debris flow, but the three other skiers were swept downslope approximately 500 feet over hazardous, rocky terrain, according to the Teton Valley News.
Billimoria called 911 and worked to rescue Adamson and Lynch, which included moving them to safer ground as additional sloughs continued to release from the slope above. Yeomans, though injured, was able to ski to safety. SAR helicopters arrived on the scene during a break in the storms; Adamson was evacuated to a rescue center at Jenny Lake and then transferred to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where he remains in critical condition. Lynch’s body was recovered later in the afternoon.
Wet slides are particularly dangerous in the afternoon after a melt-freeze cycle, when warm weather allows water to percolate the snowpack, creating a weak layer and saturating the slab. Though shallow, wet slides tend to move quickly as one mass and generally wipe out most everything in their path.