Avalanche News — Plake Survives Manaslu Slide

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | September 24, 2012      

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.

Updated news at CNN seems to be fairly factual. Also, this post previously included information about Black Diamond buying the Pieps avalanche beacon company, click here for that info.

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.”


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17 Responses to “Avalanche News — Plake Survives Manaslu Slide”

  1. Jason September 24th, 2012 8:35 am

    Glad Plake is still with us. God Bless those folks over there.

  2. Jesse September 24th, 2012 8:56 am

    It’s a shame to hear that Black Diamond has bought into pieps new strategy of making Avalanche Beacons multi function devices. For me a beacon is an essential safety device, and I don’t want to have to worry about running down the battery using it for anything else. I think pieps is going down the wrong path with their new beacons, but i guess it’s what the market wants.
    After playing with the Vector this week i think it is the worst beacon i’ve seen in a long time, and would not recommend that anyone buy one.

  3. Matt Kinney September 24th, 2012 10:18 am

    I watched an excellent presentation on beacons by Pieps on the last day of ISSW. They showed the results of extensive testing of beacons and Pieps did very welI. I also spent some time with the Vector and it is a very impressive beacon. I have used Pieps for years so it was pretty easy to get a handle on the functions. You will drain batteries while you learn its functions and versatility. Once you have it dialed in, it is perhaps no worse in battery draining than other beacons, thus I always carry a spare set of lithiums. The GPS component is a nice addition for my finances in that I get two critical devices for the price of one. Even if you don’t use all the “whiz-bang” features, it still represents the state of the art in simplifying beacon searches. Up until about 5 years ago, I was reluctant to embrace the new technologies in beacon versatility beyond simple search functions, but now I think it is pretty neat stuff.

    Wild vibes in the ski world over the past few days. My heart and prayers to all.

  4. Carl September 24th, 2012 11:20 am

    @ Matt.

    “…I always carry a spare set of lithiums.”

    You probably already know this, but I believe that most manufacturers recommend the use of standard alkaline batteries for a couple of different reasons, but primarily because the juice in a lithium batteries do not necessarily degrade at a predictable rate. I may be mistaken but I believe that the one exception for this is the Mammut Pulse (with the new firmware) has a lithium battery mode.

  5. jpvallone September 24th, 2012 12:04 pm

    As someone who has been following Plakes progress since the day he packed in his Cham appartment for his trip, and now an even closer watch on a very sad story, I kind of think that the headline of this post deserves to be split.

    To see comments like Jesse’s in the same column as a more serious issue then BD, buying Pieps , just seems quite out of place. There is a more serious issue at hand here. Seems like they have nothing to do with each other.

    The Ski industry lost some greats this week. After the crushing news about Theo, and now Remy and Greg, My heart hurts a bit, and goes out to all the families and folks who assisted in rescue and recovery.

    Sending prayers of hope and warm thoughts to all involved. This is a hard one to swallow.

    As for BD and Pieps, Who cares right now. My 2 cents.

  6. Lou Dawson September 24th, 2012 12:08 pm

    J, I was meaning to do this as simply a news post that included several news items, but you’re right. Easily done and I’ll do it. My apologies for seeming to not take the avalanche seriously. Thanks for caring. Lou

  7. Lou Dawson September 24th, 2012 12:18 pm

    Done, post broken apart. See following for info on Black Diamond buying the Pieps company. And indeed, RIP to those who perished in the huge and disturbing avalanche disaster on Manaslu. Their families and friends are in our prayers.


  8. Mike Marolt September 24th, 2012 1:27 pm

    Condolences to the families and friends.

    @ JP, there is a huge issue at hand, agreed.
    When Lou expands on coverage of this, i have some thoughts on the matter having been to the peak seson before last. In my experience, it is totally unique on many levels, and a discussion is totally warrented in light of it’s modern reputation and considering it has become a skiers peak. More on that if and when.

  9. Matt Kinney September 24th, 2012 1:31 pm


    The rate of degradation is not an issue as long as you check beacon battery levels all the time which most of us do With lithiums one just has to be aware of the issue and replace the battery as needed. I bet different beacons degrade at different rates if on lithiums . It is a factor I am aware of and thanks for bringing it up. It is not enough of an issue for me to ignore the other advantages of using lithiums in beacons since they first appeared on the market. They continue to make a more powerful lithium AA or AAA it seems like every year. 4X, 8X 16X..

    Mammut has some excellent products as do many of the other beacon producers. I was impressed with all the units. We are lucky to have much to choose from.

  10. Rusty September 24th, 2012 3:04 pm

    Thank you for splitting Lou, Thank you JP for speaking up.

  11. jerimy September 24th, 2012 3:49 pm

    @ Matt Kinney The problem with using Lithium batteries in a beacon not designed for such is relying on the beacon to report battery level. When using Lithiums, the beacon will report high battery levels for a long time and then suddenly die. The curve is much more gradual with Alkalines. Battery level reporting depends on how the manufacturer expects the battery voltage to decay. If they are expecting Alkalines and you are using Lithium, your beacon may be dead when you need it most.

    I would strongly recommend reading the user manual and follow what they recommend. A beacon on a fresh set of Alkalines is required to transmit for 200 hours.

    The “Typical Discharge” curves can be compared between Alkaline and Lithium: http://data.energizer.com/PDFs/l91.pdf

  12. Lou Dawson September 24th, 2012 4:12 pm

    Mike and all, I’d agree that too much second guessing is inappropriate early in an event like this (and yes, I’ve been guilty of such). On the other hand, we’re more tolerant of that here than in some other places on the web. Mainly, because I firmly believe that discussing and analyzing accidents saves lives. And no, you do NOT have to have been there to talk about it.

    So, give it a bit of time then yes, I’ll re-up this post or start a new one for some talk.

  13. Matt Kinney September 24th, 2012 5:23 pm

    If there is another take home message I got from ISSW is “real” chat rooms such as riding on a train siting around a table talking informally with others about snow issues or a simple face to face chat for a few minutes during a break, provides much more clarity than my experiences in web chat rooms. It was refreshing to be understood and understand others as well.

  14. Lou Dawson September 24th, 2012 5:42 pm

    Matt, sounds like you were chatting with a bunch of 50+ year olds (grin).

  15. Lou Dawson September 24th, 2012 9:38 pm

    All, I’m noticing that our upper ad slot to the right is getting filled by some obnoxious political ads. Am working to refine what’s displayed there. Lou

  16. aaron trowbridge September 26th, 2012 5:11 pm

    Greg Hill just published a 1st person account of the recent avalanche tragedy.


  17. Lou Dawson September 26th, 2012 5:16 pm

    Good link Aaron, thanks.

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