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Backpacker Thinks Friend Is Dead After Avalanche. Then Spots Something Orange

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Fears are primal things. They work at a level beyond reasoned thought, worming their way straight past our conscious consideration and into our emotional cores.

Take being buried alive, for example, a favorite fear of literature’s oddest son, Edgar Allan Poe. A recent story out of Lake Louise, Canada, reminds me why this particular fear so terrified the famous writer.

Calgary outdoorsman and photographer Tim Banfield was no stranger to winter activities. Early April found him leading a pair of friends on a cross-country skiing jaunt through the hinterlands of Lake Louise.

They were making their way through an area called Sentinel’s Pass when the unimaginable happened.

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“Everything kind of cracked, and there was an avalanche,” Banfield told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

He further explained to Global News that “I was rocketing down the face, ended up upside down … thinking don’t catch your skis because if you tomahawk and you get hurt, you’re other friend is going to be dead for sure.” He was right.

When Banfield came to rest, one of his friends had disappeared entirely. Fortunately, he and his other friend were prepared.

They produced avalanche probes and shovels, and then they began to search.

Banfield explained that each was wearing an avalanche transceiver, a kind of transmission specifically designed to help find a person buried beneath loads of snow. According to him, the beacon showed “me a distance that’s vertical, so I knew that she was underneath us four meters in the snow, and at that time we realized this is super serious and normally burials that deep don’t end very well.”

The pair began to frantically dig, but they didn’t find anything. Then they struck something with one of the probes.

“All of a sudden, we saw a piece of orange, and we (knew) that was her backpack,” Banfield said. The digging recommenced in earnest, although the job had only begun.

Though the skiers were able to clear an airway for the woman, a priority after an avalanche, it took approximately two hours for them to free her. Miraculously, she emerged from the snow without any injuries.

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“She walked away,” Banfield said. “She actually was totally fine and got in the car and drove home with us at the end of the day.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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