The well-known director of the Wallowa Avalanche Center was killed Tuesday by the catastrophe he had taught many students to avoid.
Kip Rand was killed in a steep fall and avalanche while backcountry skiing near Chief Joseph Mountain, west of Joseph in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.
Rand was skiing with a friend in the area. At about 4:30 p.m., Wallowa County Sheriff Steve Rogers said dispatch received a signal from a GPS beacon that initiated a response from the county’s Search and Rescue unit. The unit arrived at the area around 9:30 or 10 p.m., around the same time a local backcountry ski group also responded to the incident.
Rogers said his investigation indicates that Rand was caught at the very top of an avalanche and was carried down a nearly vertical slope about 600 feet.
Rand initially survived the avalanche, his skiing partner told authorities. But Rand was deceased by the time help arrived, despite his skiing partner’s attempts at CPR.
According to a statement by the Wallowa Avalanche Center, Rand joined the nonprofit in November 2015. He grew up in Boise, Idaho and had “many years of experience as a guide, avalanche educator and pro observer.”
Rand taught winter survival and avalanche awareness courses at the center and elsewhere, and often preached the importance of safety.