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Avalanche causes injury at Castle Mountain

Southwest Alberta Regional Search & Rescue (SARSAR) rescued an injured man on February 4, 2023, following an avalanche ‘out of bounds’ near the Castle Mountain Resort. Castle Mountain Resort Photo.

Nicholas L. M. Allen

Feb 15, 2023

A man was rescued by search crews near Castle Mountain Resort on February 4 after sustaining injuries in an avalanche.

On February 3, 2023 at roughly 3:40 PM, Castle Mountain Resort (CMR) Mountain Safety received a call from 911 dispatch reporting an individual in distress. 911 Dispatch was able to relay to CMR Mountain Safety staff the coordinates of the individual. CMR Mountain Safety staff determined that the location of the person was outside of CMR’s ski area boundary and not safely accessible by CMR staff. RCMP were then contacted, and Southwest Alberta Regional Search and Rescue (SARSAR) was tasked to assist.

At 5:15 PM, two SARSAR members, who are also members of CMR’s Mountain Safety team, started out in the hopes of accessing the individual via the Syncline Valley. By 8:15 PM, rescuers contacted the injured individual and found that, while he was in stable condition, he had sustained injuries that made it not feasible to downclimb to safety. The rescue party then decided to stay in place for the night. Their assessment of the patient confirmed that he had likely been involved in a size two avalanche outside the ski area boundary. It is believed that he was carried approximately 250 meters over rocks and through trees, where his fall was eventually arrested by small trees.

At 11:30 PM a second team of two rescuers made their way to the rescue party and the injured individual, with supplies to make the overnight more comfortable including food, water, extra clothing, and sleeping bags. They contacted the party at approximately 1:05 AM, on February 4 and returned to the staging area shortly thereafter.

By 7 AM, Kananaskis Country Public Safety began a flight to the rescue site with the intention of extracting the individuals by helicopter. By 9:35 AM the injured individual was slung out by helicopter and handed over to EMS. The K-Country team returned to the site and picked up the two rescuers. By 10 AM, all rescuers had returned to the CMR Mountain Safety Office, and all resources stood down.

CMR wish to extend their gratitude to all parties involved in the rescue mission, including but not limited to the Pincher Creek RCMP, Southwest Alberta Regional Search & Rescue, Kananaskis Country Public Safety, Pincher Creek Emergency Services, in addition to CMR’s own involved team members.

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