Burial in avalanche a wake-up call for Revelstoke resident

Lindsey Corrigan buried in avalanche while walking her dog at Carnes Creek campground.

A photo of the slope that slid and buried Lindsey Corrigan.

A photo of the slope that slid and buried Lindsey Corrigan.

Lindsey Corrigan is no stranger to the mountains. Born and raised in Revelstoke, the daughter of guide Buck Corrigan, she’s spent a lot time in the backcountry.

Last Tuesday, Jan. 17, she was caught by surprise when she and her partner Trent Kidd triggered an avalanche while out for a dog walk at Carnes Creek campground north of Revelstoke.

“We were walking along the bottom of the cut bank that goes up towards that new gravel pit and we remote triggered that slope and it fell down on top of me,” she said. “It was crazy,”

The small slope slid down on her, burying her completely. The only part of her showing was the pom pom of her hat, which Kidd spotted in the debris. He got her head out of the snow quickly and it took about 10 minutes to dig her out fully. She was OK, other than a sore back.

Afterwards, they looked at the avalanche. The crown was a metre high at its biggest. It was a big slide on a small slope that Corrigan didn’t consider avalanche terrain until after the fact.

“It hadn’t crossed my mind for one moment,” she said. “In hindsight, when I was back on my feet and looking at the slope, you could tell it was really wind loaded spot.”

The weather conditions were ripe for a slide. It had warmed up significantly over the past day and a mix of rain and snow had fallen. Those conditions were the reason they went for a dog walk at valley bottom instead of going backcountry skiing.

“When I looked back up, I realized it was probably a stupid spot to be walking, but on further reflection, if that had not happened, it would probably be a place I would walk again.”

The incident was an eye opener for Corrigan, and I asked her to share her story as a learning lesson for others.

“Never underestimate a slope and just because you’re doing something that isn’t extreme doesn’t mean there’s no risk associated with it,” she said when asked what her takeaway from the incident was.

It’s the first time she’s been involved in an avalanche and hopefully the last, she said.

“You have to keep your heads up and always be thinking about that stuff.” she said. “If you’re in valley bottom and just going on a casual walk with the dog, it’s not something that crosses your mind, but it can happen.”

The incident was noted by Avalanche Canada. “We tend to feel safer closer to valley bottom, but I’d be cautious of any open lower elevation slope with smooth ground cover,” wrote forecaster Joe Lammers the day after.