(Last Updated On: February 16, 2010)
Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family of Kellen Sams, 26, of Manitou Springs, who died in an avalanche near Ridgeway on Thursday. Details of the incident can be found on the CAIC report, and from a post from Kellen’s father below.
Having been near that area recently, skiing at Red Mountain Pass, an avalanche in that area doesn’t surprise us given the shallow and hallow snowpack we found there. Still, no one ever wishes for someone else to get caught or harmed in an avalanche of any sort. We view this tragic even as horrible news and our hearts go out to everyone involved.
At the same time, we at 14erskiers also consider this a warning and a reminder. Skiing in the backcountry has it’s consequences, and it’s important for every backcountry skier safe travel techniques and choose appropriate lines as they pass through avalanche terrain. It’s unfortunate that the death of a fellow backcountry skier evokes these reminders. But, please, everyone, remember to be safe out there 🙂
Brittany Walker Konsella
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3 thoughts on “Reminder”
I have read your comment and report regarding the death of my son, Kellen. I agree with your cautionary note about skiing in the back country and knowing the risks associated with such activity. Thank you for helping to make those in the community aware of the dangers associated with this activity.
I would, however, like to note that the description of the situation is inaccurate and misleading and I am upset that such information if being propagated through the back country skiing community. The initial reports by the press regarding the situation and sequence of events were not accurate.
If you are going to comment on such an occurrence then I would suggest that you get the facts straight.
So to correct your posting: Kellen was in the back country with a group of 8 and they had been in that area for four days skiing out of the Blue Lakes and Ridgway huts.
On the day of the accident the group split into two: Kellen’s group of 3 and the second group of 5. These two groups we separated by a couple hours of skiing before the tragic accident occurred and the group of 5 was BELOW and well away from Kellen’s group. They, by happenstance, had just come into the general vicinity of the slide and were able to respond to attempt resuscitation of Kellen and accomplish the rescue of a second skier caught in the slide.
Both groups had practiced safe and appropriate behavior prior to and leading up to the incident. Kellen dropped off a ridge with two other skiers into an area that appeared safe and just was not stable. He was carried into a tree by the slide where he was instantly killed. This was a terrible accident and my heart is forever damaged by the loss of my son. He was doing however exactly what he loved and pursuing his passion for the outdoors. He practiced safe back country skiing techniques and behavior and I would ask that if you are going to report on such incidents that you get the facts straight.
I obtained my facts from the participants of the trip and from individuals from CAIC investigating and reporting on the incident. Not the Denver Post who obviously cannot spend the time to get the facts correct.
Thank you for your correction. At the time of my post, and even now, the CAIC has only posted a brief report about the situation. They do not give any details as to how the avalanche was really triggered, except that it was skier-triggered. I will correct my post accordingly. I am so sorry about your tragic loss. I can’t even imagine the grief you must be going through. Thank you for your time and for your corrections.
Thank you for your kind words. I too am waiting for the CAIC full report to be posted. It should happen any day now.