CAMPTON — The name of the skier involved in a fatal human-triggered avalanche on April 11 while solo skiing on the east side of Mount Washington was released Friday by U.S. Forest Service officials.
He was identified as Nicholas D. Benedix, 32, of Campton.
U.S. Forest Service snow rangers based in neighboring Tuckerman Ravine responded to a report of the avalanche last Thursday in Raymond Cataract in the Cutler River Drainage around 1:30 p.m.
After conducting a beacon search, Benedix was located and dug out at around 2:20 p.m., according to leader Snow Ranger Frank Carus.
Shortly after being extricated, rescuers began CPR and transported him down the mountain in a Snowcat.
According to Forest Service Public Affairs Officer, Evan Burks, Benedix was transferred to LifeFlight and local EMS care at Pinkham Notch but was pronounced dead at 4 p.m.
Snow rangers said the avalanche was approximately 135 feet wide at the crown. A detailed analysis of the incident will be made available soon on the Mt. Washington Avalanche Center’s website, mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org, Carus and Burks said.
Last Saturday, Mount Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine hosted the ski/snowboard leg of the Friends of Tuckerman Ravine Inferno Pentathlon, and all racers were required to wear avalanche beacons supplied by local climbing guides and Ski the Whites.
The race was held to the left and bottom of Left Gully. There were no incidents on that course, but a large chunk of ice did fall from the Center Headwall at about 1 p.m. Saturday, coming to rest on the floor of the ravine. No one was injured.
Conditions posted on the avalanche center website Monday listed avalanche danger as low, with emerging spring hazards.
“Rain and above freezing temperatures are continuing to create conditions for wet avalanches while also making the spring hazards of icefall and undermined snow relevant today. Wet loose sluff avalanches are possible to initiate under your skis or snowboard, especially in areas that were not heavily skied over the weekend.
"While difficult to predict, conditions allowing deeper wet slab avalanches may develop today. These are unlikely but should motivate you to minimize time spent in the runout of steep terrain, as should possible icefall in much of the same terrain,” the website said.