BC Zone Observation Report
Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 12:00 AM
Skinned up Mount Elbert's East Ridge and descended the Box Creek couloir. Left the summit at 9:15am and triggered the slide in the Box Creek Couloir at 9:34am. http://www.14ers.com/route.php?route=elbe4&peak=Mt.+Elbert
It was a cool morning with 28F deg temps when we started at the South Elbert trailhead at 4:30am. Skies were clear early morning with a low cloud cover down below in the Arkansas Valley. Near the summit we experienced cold winds and the snow was firm.
From the summit to the Box Creek couloirs the snow was firm with no signs of instability. Skiing into the couloirs the snow was great up top. When I dropped into the couloir where the rocks started, the snow deteriorated very quickly with roller balls and pinwheels appearing suddenly. I did a hard cut to my left which did not release any slides before dropping into the lowest angle couloir.
As I started skiing into the lowest angle couloir, my first turned triggered a point release which caught me in my second turn. The slide grabbed my ski and ripped it off my as I fell into the slide. Sliding downhill, I was struggling to get out until I reached down and removed my other ski. As soon as it came off, I stopped. I was able to hike down and recover both skis before skiing out. I was not injured.