Last Friday, January 19th, Peter Roux was climbing Odell's Gully in Huntington Ravine on Mt. Washington when a snow slope broke free and caused an avalanche that carried him down the gully to his death. You can read more details about this accident here. Mt. Washington is located in the White Mountain range of New Hampshire, and is known for having some of the most ferocious weather in the world, and is a very serious climb for someone of any level of experience.
I debated for a while whether or not to discuss this, but I think it's important to be honest about the risks being taken in any activity, especially Mountaineering. As someone who has climbed at Mt. Washington several times (the picture here is me, not Peter Roux), even on that same route up Odell's Gully, this news really hits home. My first reaction, was to immediately check the Avalanche Advisory for that day. Mt. Washington is a very closely monitored mountain, with great snow analysis by the rangers, and they put out a bulletin every morning. As you can see in the archives here the risk for that day was HIGH.
I am not going to make any judgements here and say that what this climber did was wrong. Everyone has their own scale of acceptable risk, and this was clearly a risk he was willing to take. Some of my climbing heroes have taken far bigger risks than this. What I can say is that I have spent many vacation days hiking the trails of Mt. Washington because of high avalanche risk in the gullies, and I consider them time well spent.
My heart goes out to the wife and family Peter left behind. I will try to take this as a reminder of the serious nature of the mountain environment, and the importance of good information.