Snowboarder survives avalanche only to die while trying to hike out

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 21, 2010 5:50 pm

Last month, a snowboarder’s  body was found after an avalanche hit Montana’s Glacier National Park. The investigative report on his death concluded yesterday that he in fact did not die from the avalanche, but rather from trying to hike to safety afterwards.

Brian Curtis Wright, 37, completed two descents on the south-southeast ridge, and then climbed back up to begin a third run, down the mountain’s northeast slope. Wright was a very experienced backcountry snowboarder.

His tracks intersected the avalanche run about 390 vertical feet below the summit. About 533 feet below that, “blood-stained snow was found among sapling-sized trees.”

A snowboard track led out of the avalanche path at that point, descending the mountain to 5,868 feet, where Wright’s snowboard was found. His body was discovered another 441 feet down mountain, face down on top of the avalanche debris with his head facing uphill. This lead the team to conclude the slide itself isn’t what killed him.

Wright was known to always ride with an avalanche transceiver, but neither his transceiver nor his backpack has been found.