Bardini Chute Accident Debrief

March 18, 2021

On January 30th 2021 a large avalanche was unintentionally triggered in the Main Bardini Chute on Punta Bardini, just outside of the town of Mammoth Lakes. An experienced local skier was caught, carried, and injured in the slide. This incident followed a major winter storm event and immediately drew the attention of the local community. This man and his partners are fortunate that the outcome of this particular avalanche was not worse.

As a community we are also fortunate that the outcome of this avalanche was not worse. Review of this incident provides the opportunity to peek behind the curtain of events like these to examine the decision-making errors made and explore lessons to be learned first hand from those involved. Case studies of avalanche accidents can be powerful learning tools for all of us, but when they are from terrain that we are familiar with and can even see from town, it can be even more impactful.

How did this group of experienced and educated backcountry travelers end up there, and what were the contributing factors that led to this incident?