Big thanks to Backcountry Access for sponsoring this avalanche education content. Check out the additional plethora of avalanche safety resources on their website.
Update 9/27/2012: Vid Interview with Plake. I’ve been dreading the commercial hype that seems to use tragedies such as this for yet more mindless web fodder, but this Try Cook interview with Plake and his wife Kimberly is well done considering the big picture. One question that seems to be coming up with this Manaslu avalanche is why camps 2 and 3 are not located in at least slightly safer spots? Plake addresses that in the interview, and alludes to their picking at least a marginally better location for their tents. A slightly better location still didn’t save Plake’s companion’s lives, but perhaps saved his.
Glen Plake and other survivors are blessed to be alive after a huge ice and snow avalanche on Manaslu (in Nepal, world’s eighth highest mountains) ripped through camp 2 and 3, taking what’s said to be dozens of climbers. Many of the victims were in their tents, in sleeping bags. Plake relates in a phone call (shown on EpicTV, defunct link removed 2015) that he was avalanched some distance down the mountain, still in his bag, and incurred injuries to his face. According to Plake: “I punched my way out of the tent and started searching. I searched for 10 minutes before I realized I was barefoot in the snow. Greg Costa had been using my down suit for a pillow and I found my suit, I found everything that was in my tent – camera, sleeping bag, ski boots. It was like someone had thrown my gear in the back of a pickup – but there was no sign of Greg. Rémy and his tent are nowhere to be found. The Dynafit crew [including Greg Hill] were sleeping at a high Camp 2 and were immediately on site to rescue people… It was a massive serac fall, probably 600 to 700 meters across.”