On September 29, Elizabeth Devon Daley, a professional snowboarder from Tacoma, Washington died in an avalanche in the Fitz Roy Massif region near El Chaltén, Argentina. She and her party of five were descending Cerro Vespignani (2,146 meters) when the avalanche struck, carrying her 200 meters.
Daley, 29, was a professional splitboarder and alpine guide for the American Alpine Institute. Her accomplishments include snowboarding the Coleman Headwall on Mt. Baker and snowboarding Mt. Blanc. She split her time between Washington and Chamonix, France and snowboarded around the world.
Known for her friendly, positive personality as well as her fearless accomplishments in the mountains, Daley was passionate about guiding and snowboarding. She was the focus of a profile in the spring issue of Mount Baker Experience. In that article, she said:
“Happiness and quality of life have always been more important to me than money. Being an athlete half the year and a guide the other half has been a huge sacrifice in many ways. I’m not living a ‘normal’ life full of all the comforts of a secure job, a home and consistent income, but I’m privileged in many ways. I’m living a pretty dream life, I get to travel, make my own schedule, be outside in the mountains all the time and create awesome experiences for others with the same passion.”
Liz’s relentless pursuit of a life she believed in was an inspiration to all of us. Her death is a tragic loss for the mountain community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends.
You can read the rest of Liz Daley’s interview here.
In a tragic coincidence, two other well known snow sports athletes were killed in an avalanche in Chilean Patagonia on the same day. Freeskiers J.P. Auclair and Andreas Fransson were climbing Monte San Lorenzo with two photographers to film a ski segment when an avalanche slid 700 meters down the mountain. The photographers were unharmed.
Auclair, 37, from Canada, was one of the most influential skiers of his time. His fans will remember him for his ground-breaking urban segments, including this one from the 2013 Sherpas Cinemas film All.I.Can.
Fransson, 31, from Sweden, had been making headlines for years in the ski mountaineering world for his daring exploits on steep, remote faces that are hard to get to.
Both skiers were inspirational in their own way, and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and friends.