Craig Patterson's death in an avalanche on Kessler Peak is a difficult reminder to all of us who recreate in the mountains how merciless the mountains can be. Now is a good opportunity to give thanks to all those individuals who make it possible for us to enjoy a day of skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling in the mountains.
These folks really do put their lives on the line every day. According to the American Avalanche Association, 22 ski patrollers, 13 highway technicians, 6 snow rangers/avalanche forecasters, 2 avalauncher gunners, 5 guides, 1 search and rescue team member, and 2 other individuals have been killed while engaged in avalanche and snow-safety related work in the United States. Most died in avalanches, although 8 were killed in explosive or gunnery related accidents. Another will now be added to the list. Let's hope it is the last.
So, keep Craig and his family in your thoughts and prayers, and be grateful for everyone who makes our mountain adventures possible.