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The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Workplace has identified 33-year-old Erik Hefflefinger of Bend as the man who died in an avalanche Wednesday on Paulina Peak. This was the second avalanche fatality this year following a Bend man died at Black Crater a couple of weeks ago.

According to Central Oregon Avalanche Center forecaster Gabriel Coler, the avalanche forecast gear on the mountain is incomplete.

“We have a wind sensor and temperature sensor,” stated Coler.

These do not present sufficient facts for an avalanche forecast, which is vital in assisting backcountry athletes have an understanding of snow situations. 

“We are fairly oblivious on what’s going on out there,” stated Coler. “It tends to be a small additional hazardous than the Cascades.”

The Cascade Mountain Variety has avalanche forecast capabilities.

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“Our forecast area is from perhaps just south of Mount Bachelor all the way up to 3 Fingered Jack, and we create a everyday avalanche forecast for that zone,” stated Coler.

Coler told us he believes most backcountry skiers use the forecast. So, the query is: why is there not a forecast for Paulina Peak?

“When a forecaster sits down at evening and is going to create the avalanche forecast, they want to know: how a lot did it snow in all these distinct locations, how a lot did the wind blow, what do the temperatures appear like?” stated Coler.

The piece they are missing at Paulina is a snow depth sensor. With out this, they do not have a total climate station. 

“We couldn’t create an avalanche forecast devoid of a climate station,” explains Coler.

The snow depth sensor is anticipated to be in location at Paulina Peak this summer season. 


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