Buried

By (author): Ken Wylie
ISBN 9781771600279
Softcover | Publication Date: September 19, 2014
Book Dimensions: 5.5 in x 8.5 in
288 Pages

About the Book

On January 20, 2003, at 10:45 a.m., a massive avalanche released from Tumbledown Mountain in the Selkirk Range of British Columbia. Tonnes of snow carried 13 members of two guided backcountry skiing groups down the 37-degree incline of a run called La Traviata and buried them. After a frantic hour of digging by remaining group members, an unthinkable outcome became reality. Seven people were dead.

The tragedy made international news, splashing photos of the seven dead Canadian and US skiers on television screens and the pages of newspapers. The official analysis did not specifically note guide error as a contributing factor in the accident. This interpretation has been insufficient for some of the victims’ families, the public and some members of the guiding community.

Why did the guiding team seemingly ignore a particularly troublesome snowpack? Why were two groups travelling so close together? Were the guides adhering to best practices for terrain selection and snow stability evaluation? What motivated them to go there?

Buried is the assistant guide’s story. It renders an answerable truth about what happened by delving deep into the human factors that played into putting people in harm’s way. The story begins buried metres deep in snow, and through care-filled reflection emerges slowly like spring after a long winter, nurturing a hopeful, courageous dialogue for all who make journeys through the mountains of their life. The story illustrates the peace that comes from accountability and the growth that results from understanding.

About the Author(s)

Ken Wylie is an internationally certified mountain guide and a member of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, and the American Mountain Guides Association. He has led expeditions around the world, including Canada, New Zealand, Peru, Denali, and Joshua Tree. He has 30 years of experience as a mountain guide and experiential educator for organizations including Yamnuska Mountain School, Outward Bound Canada, and Outward Bound USA. Ken has also taught courses at the University of Calgary and as a faculty member at Mount Royal University and Thompson Rivers University. Courses include leadership; rock, ice, and alpine climbing; and ski touring and expedition planning. Originally from Alberta, Canada, Ken founded Mountains for Growth in 2013 to help individuals and groups gain personal insight and wisdom through outdoor adventures. Most recently, Ken has worked with men who are transitioning out of being homeless, offering journeys of connection and healing to those who have suffered deeply, which is profiled in the CBC documentary "The Weight We Carry". He is currently writing and developing programs for men that include practices that bring participants back to the 2500 year old adventurous mystical roots of western society. Ken lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.