• Thu. Mar 30th, 2023

▶️ Current Central Oregon deaths get in touch with consideration to avalanche forecast technologies


Mar 17, 2023

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Workplace has identified 33-year-old Erik Hefflefinger of Bend as the man who died in an avalanche Wednesday on Paulina Peak. This was the second avalanche fatality this year soon after a Bend man died at Black Crater a couple of weeks ago.

According to Central Oregon Avalanche Center forecaster Gabriel Coler, the avalanche forecast gear on the mountain is incomplete.

“We have a wind sensor and temperature sensor,” mentioned Coler.

These do not give adequate data for an avalanche forecast, which is necessary in assisting backcountry athletes have an understanding of snow circumstances. 

“We are quite oblivious on what’s going on out there,” mentioned Coler. “It tends to be a small a lot more hazardous than the Cascades.”

The Cascade Mountain Variety has avalanche forecast capabilities.

Connected: Bend snowboarder killed in avalanche at Paulina Peak identified

Connected: Bend man killed in avalanche at Black Crater close to Sisters

“Our forecast area is from possibly just south of Mount Bachelor all the way up to 3 Fingered Jack, and we create a each day avalanche forecast for that zone,” mentioned Coler.

Coler told us he believes most backcountry skiers use the forecast. So, the query is: why is there not a forecast for Paulina Peak?

“When a forecaster sits down at evening and is going to create the avalanche forecast, they have to have to know: how a lot did it snow in all these distinctive locations, how a lot did the wind blow, what do the temperatures appear like?” mentioned Coler.

The piece they are missing at Paulina is a snow depth sensor. Devoid of this, they do not have a full climate station. 

“We couldn’t create an avalanche forecast without the need of a climate station,” explains Coler.

The snow depth sensor is anticipated to be in spot at Paulina Peak this summer time. 


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