Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

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Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby Admin » Tue Apr 04, 2006 12:11 am

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re: Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby JimG. » Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:26 am

One of the first BC pioneers.

RIP :( .
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re: Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby Patrick » Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:56 am

What a legacy and life.

Condolences to his family. :cry:
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re: Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby Patrick » Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:41 pm

As posted elsewhere.

RIP Mr. Coombs

jasoncapecod wrote:4/3-- 10:30 pm PDT--- Doug Coombs has been killed in a fall while skiing in or around La Grave, France. Details of Coomb's death are just starting to emerge, but earlier reports that the legendary guide and pioneering extreme skier was caught in an avalanche appear to have been erroneous. The most current information we are receiving, from a source in contact with people on the scene in La Grave, is that Doug Coombs was skiing at the end of the day with three friends. They were descending a steep couloir at approximately 6,000 feet (2,000m). One of the four, reportedly a 32 year-old man from Colorado who had been a regular in La Grave the past couple of seasons, began skiing first, while Coombs and the others watched from above. The friend from Colorado apparently hit a patch with an ice layer underneath and fell in what was described as a definite "no-fall" zone. The Coloradoan reportedly washed over a cliff and disappeared from view.
At this point the details become sketchy. Coombs is said to have wanted to get a rope in order to check on his fallen friend's condition. While assessing the situation, Coombs also fell. Both men went over what was reported to be an approximately 600 vertical foot (200m) cliff. The remaining two skiers in the party then called for a heli rescue. When the helicopter arrived some 20 to 30 minutes later, Doug Coombs was already dead. The victim from Colorado was still breathing, but unfortunately died later in the hospital.

Once called the "Clark Kent of skiing" by Skiing Mag, the unassuming-looking Doug Coombs began his guiding career in 1986 as a heli guide in Jackson, Wyoming. He won the first ever World Extreme Skiing Championships in Valdez Alaska in 1991, and soon after returned with his wife Emily to start the first heli ski operation there, Valdez Heli-Ski Guides. Within a few years, Doug and Emily's operation employed a team of 12 guides using three A-star helicopters to serve clients from all over the world. In 1997 the Coombs' moved their other operation-- Doug Coombs Steep Skiing Camps Worldwide-- to the European alps, running camp sessions out of Verbier and La Grave.

Reaction to the news of the untimely and tragic death of Doug Coombs has been pouring in all evening. Russell Rainey called in to share stories of skiing with Coombs in and around Jackson Hole. "Doug Coombs was such a beautiful skier and human being," said Rainey. "The last time I skied with Doug was here at Snow King of all places. We ran bumps together over and over on the steepest run on the mountain. The bumps were so big we would lose sight of each other in the troughs, but Doug made it look easy and he was as relaxed as he would have been sipping espresso in the lodge." Rainey continued, "but the thing that made Doug such an outstanding person was his way with people. When he was instructing or coaching he had the ability to make everyone feel special, whether they were negotiating a steep and hairy chute, or making turns down a blue run. He would tell them how great they were doing and just be super supportive. I was sickened by the news tonight of Doug's passing. It's such a terrible loss to the skiing community, and a horrible tragedy for Emily and their young son. My heart goes out to them"

Others recalled Coombs' easy style, quick smile and warm personality. "He was just an incredibly good guy," said one, a sentiment that seems to be shared by all who knew him.


Plus another from the Ski News section.

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/news/s ... 39998.shtm
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re: Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby Jonny D » Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:15 am

I'll always remember the times when I first started reading ski magazines, I'd see Doug everywhere. A true inspiration.

:cry:
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re: Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby Patrick » Thu Apr 06, 2006 8:47 pm

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re: Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby 20thSkier » Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:42 pm

Wow. This is very sad.

Apparently not an avalanche...he died attempting to help another skier who had fallen off a cliff:

http://www.amga.com/downloads/C_Van_D_Coombs.pdf
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re: Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby 20thSkier » Fri Apr 07, 2006 9:45 pm

From that link I posted:


La Grave, France 16:45 April 3, 2006
Christina Blomquist, Doug Coombs, Chad Vanderham, and I, descended from the top of
the Telepherique de la Meije to ski the ?Le Polichinelle? Couloir.

This route maintains an average steepness of 40-45 degrees through a series of three
successive couloirs linked by leftward traverses at the base of each chute. The couloirs
get progressively longer, from approximately 40 to 100 meters, before a final leftward
traverse leads to mellower lower angled gullies which feed back into the apron below the
couloir. The base of the third chute is approximately 3-4 meters wide and exposed to the
top of the final cliff which is about 50 meters high. Below this cliff is a small couloir to
the right and a 15-20 meter cliff to the left which both end up at the top of the snow apron
below the main couloir system. 30-40 cm of untracked light snow was well bonded to a
base of firm neve. General stability of the snow pack was good and the hazard rating for
the day was a 2 on the French scale. Weather conditions were beautiful, the sky clear and
blue without clouds or wind.

Chad descended the first couloir and waited to the left of the base as Doug skied,
followed by me and then Christina one at a time. Doug traversed left and skied the
second chute followed by Chad, then myself and Christina. Chad led the third couloir
which curves right out of view of the starting point. Doug skied next and was
subsequently followed by Christina.

Just as Christina entered the middle of the top of the third couloir Doug yelled up that
?Chad fell, come down with a rope.? I traversed into the middle of the couloir to the
point at which I could see down to Doug who was side stepping down a rock rib below
and right of the constriction at the base of the couloir. Christina and I saw Doug yelling
Chad?s name while side stepping down and attempting to see over the cliff to his right.
We saw his skis slip on the rock and he fell out of view over the rib.

I skied down to the constriction and carefully continued down softer snow left of the rock
rib that Doug had been standing on. I continued along side the rock rib, sidestepping
down and right on snow to within 2 meters of where Chad?s ski was sticking vertically in
the snow at the top of the cliff. From this vantage point I could see Chad?s body
approximately 150 meters below on the apron of snow below the cliff at the base of the
couloir. Doug?s body was also visible, motionless, but sliding slowly down the apron

coming to rest about 30 meters beside Chad.

At this point, 17:29, I called the Haute Alps rescue services for a helicopter and then
(17:33) called a local guide friend to confirm the helicopter dispatch and set other
resources in motion. I directed Christina down, through the crux constriction, and left
towards the exit into the mellower gullies that feed back into the apron below the central
cliff at the base of the third couloir. I side stepped and boot packed 15 meters back up to
the left exit and proceeded down.

I arrived at Doug first, at about 17:40, as he was slightly higher on the slope than Chad.
I repositioned Doug, who was lying on his right side, bent at the waist and facing up hill
with his skis off. There were no immediately obvious major injuries or deformities. He
was pulse less, with out respirations. His eyes were open, pupils fixed and dilated. His
lips were yellowish gray and his right ear purple. I preformed rescue breaths and CPR
for approximately two minutes by which time Christina had arrived at Chad and declared
that he was breathing. I left Doug, who had no indications of response and moved
downhill 20 meters to Chad.

Chad was lying face down in the snow with his feet facing up hill. We carefully
reoriented him and opened his airway. His breaths were regular and deep, his pulse
strong and about 90 bpm. He had much coagulated blood in his nose, his eyes and lips
were slightly swollen and discolored. Chad?s pupils were equal and responsive to light
but he was unresponsive to shouting or pain. Christina returned to Doug while I
maintained Chad?s airway, giving occasional rescue breaths, until the helicopter arrived
at 18:03. Three members of the PGHM were lowered to the scene with their equipment
and began administering an IV to Chad. We installed an oral airway in Chad?s mouth
and placed him in a rescue sled. By this time Chad?s facial edema was pronounced but
his breathing and pulse were still strong and he had begun to move his arm and squeeze
my hand in response to my own squeezes. As the doctor began administering medicine
to Chad, I returned to Doug to resume CPR. The helicopter returned in 10 or 15 minutes
to transport Chad to a hospital in Briancon, 30 kilometers east. At this time one of the
two remaining PGHM informed us that the doctor had already declared Doug dead. We
replied that we knew and continued CPR for another 20 or 30 minutes. The helicopter
returned and transported Christina and me back to La Grave. We were met by Jean
Charles of La Meije and brought to where many of our friends had gathered. While
debriefing the current situation with them the local police arrived to take a statement and
during this process we were informed that Chad was dead as well.
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re: Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby Patrick » Wed Apr 12, 2006 7:20 pm

This story is somewhere else with pictures of the route.

Very sad indeed. :cry:

http://www.denverpostbloghouse.com/2006 ... /#more-612

From the K2 website...

http://www.k2skis.com/

Doug Coombs :: 1957 - 2006

On Monday, 3 April 2006, Doug Coombs, legendary big mountain skier and a sponsored K2 athlete for nearly 20 years, was killed in La Grave, France. All of us here at K2, along with countless others around the world, are devastated by Doug?s untimely passing.

The exact details of how it happened may never be known. What we do know is that Doug had been skiing that day with friends on the slopes above LaGrave. On the last run of the day, the group decided to ski the Coulior de Polichinelle ? a complex run comprised of three couliors linked by traverses over no-fall zones. After successfully skiing the first two sections of the run, Chad VanderHam ? a friend of Doug?s who had just received his AMGA (American Mountain Guide Association) ski mountaineering certification ? was negotiating the last traverse when he hit a patch of ice and disappeared. Doug skied down to investigate and apparently lost his grip on a snow-covered rock slab, falling several hundred meters to his death. VanderHam was also killed in the incident.

Our hearts are broken by this news. Doug was one of the good guys. His easy smile, humility, boundless energy and pure passion for making turns on snow-covered mountains will be sorely missed. We have lost a key member of the extended K2 family and we mourn his passing.

Doug is survived by his wife Emily and their young son, David. A memorial fund has been established at the Jackson State Bank and Trust in Jackson, Wyoming. To find out more click on: http://www.dougcoombsmemorialfund.com.

For a limited time only, K2 will re-release the prolific poster "Upon this Rock I Build My Church" of Doug Coombs. The cost of the poster will be $20 and all proceeds will be donated to dougcoombsmemorialfund.com to help support Emily Coombs and their young son David.
Please send an email to info@k2skis.com with your name email address and mailing address and we will contact you directly when to poster becomes available in the next 3 weeks.
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Re: Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby Patrick » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:45 pm

Five years and five days ago, on April 3rd, 2006, one of the most important skiers of my generation according the US Ski Hall of Fame, died from falling over a cliff at the Couloir de Polichinelle in La Grave, France.

http://madpatski.wordpress.com/2011/04/ ... ug-coombs/

Times flies. RIP Doug.

PS Admin, I couldn't find the piece that Mark did on Coombs' Steep Camps.
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Re: Doug Coombs dies in avalanche

Postby Admin » Sat Apr 09, 2011 7:13 am

Patrick wrote:PS Admin, I couldn't find the piece that Mark did on Coombs' Steep Camps.


Long since retired at the author's request.
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