Engadine Burn: BTL Slab Avalanche

Quinn Turner


Took a trip into Engadine burn to ski below treeline. Broke a track on the SE aspect through thick burnt trees. Isolated pockets of wind were unreactive while ascending making HS variable between 80-110cm. On our 4th switchback, we approached a less dense pocket of burnt trees, likely 10mX10m of "open". Not wanting to contest it, my partner made his kick turn shy of the feature. The slope fractured 10 meters above him & across the feature, pulling in his one ski & taking him for a short 5m ride before coming to a stop on trees below as the slab passed. No rescue needed. While returning down our skin track, a very scary (far more than the slide) whumpf occurred in the denser trees with a shooting crack 15-20m above us that spanned the entire 40-50m between us. See photo 5 for tree density during that whumpf. Upon examining the slide, the slab was composed of 40cm of large grain facets, overlaid by a 10cm soft wind slab & 10 cm of fresh snow ontop. It failed on an unknown crust, 5cm above ground. Aspect: SE. Angle: 28deg (crown @ a 35 deg convex feature). During a compression test of a sheltered section of the crown, we obtained a SP/cash register result on the 3rd tap from the wrist. Kananaskis parks safety (Mikey) was informed of the incident. Touchy out there! Be safe.