Avalanche claims life on Black Crater


Last updated 3/3/2023 at Noon

An avalanche took the life of a 46-year-old backcountry skier from Bend on Thursday, March 2.

Sgt. Jason Wall of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office reported that a Search and Rescue unit was dispatched Thursday to a report from a backcountry skier of an avalanche at Black Crater. Black Crater is a steep-sided shield volcano north of the Three Sisters and east of McKenzie Pass — readily visible on the Sisters skyline.

DCSO did not identify the skiers by name. The reporting party (Skier No. 2) advised Deschutes County 911 that he and a friend were skiing in the caldera at Black Crater when an avalanche was triggered. Skier No. 1 was caught up in the avalanche, and was no longer visible, and possibly injured.

Both skiers were equipped with proper backcountry safety items, including avalanche beacons, shovels, helmets, and avalanche probes. The reporting party attempted to locate his friend by utilizing his avalanche beacon, and ultimately was successful. The skier conducted life-saving measures, but Skier No. 1 had succumbed to his injuries.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue unit, along with the United States Forest Service responded to the area and assisted Skier No. 2 to safety. Due to extreme avalanche danger and failing light Search and Rescue personnel halted recovery efforts until daylight on March 3.

Search and Rescue personnel worked with community partners through Friday to safely recover the body of Skier No. 1.


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