On Saturday morning March 3 at approximately 1015, Mammoth Mountain Ski Patrol was performing routine avalanche mitigation work in a closed area when a large avalanche released on the Climax ski run, and traveled down Upper Dry Creek and terminated at the bottom lift terminal of High Five Express [Chair 5].
The powder cloud from the avalanche extended about 100 meters into an area open to the public, where two guests were partially buried. Both were able to immediately free themselves without serious injury. Additionally, employees working at the bottom of the closed lift were partially caught, but freed themselves quickly. Ski Patrol was on scene with initial rescue efforts within moments, and search operations began immediately.
Ski Patrol led a six-hour search, which included 200 employees and first responders, including the Mono County Sheriff SAR Team that was called out at 1030. Fifteen Team members responded to probe and beacon-scan the avalanche debris in search of any buried victims. None were found and the Mountain returned to normal operations the next day.
Responders: Beck (Ops), Pelichowsky (IC), Hansen (IC), Carole Schilz, Kaufman, Buchanan, Brad Schilz, Bush, Traxler, Barnum, Vianzon, Woods, Cucura, Cowan, Case, Kallemeyn, Tonseth, and Bucklin. The Team volunteered 130 man hours for this call.