Message and Information Brief from NSR Team Leader Tim Jones
In consultation with Johannes’ close friend and Team Mate Barry Mason and fellow trip members and fellow ski mountaineers Chris Tarling and Dominik Stoll, I have gathered together an information brief. I would like to thank Doug Pope and John Blown for their technical assistance in helping put this brief together.
Hannes on a search.
Message From Tim Jones NSR Team Leader
Firstly, on behalf of all the members of North Shore Rescue I want to extend our deepest sympathies to Johanne’s family back in Austria, his long time companion Anne-Marie Baribeau and all his close friends who recreated and worked with him. We all share your sadness and grief at the loss of “Hannes”.
I would like to respectfully take the opportunity to make some very short comments.
This issue of whether Chris, Dominik and Johannes should have been roped up was their decision based on their extensive ski mountaineering background and what they and only they experienced on April 23. This is a democracy and everyone is entitled to their respectful opinions and that is where it should be left.
I am so totally impressed with the character and deportment that Chris and Dominik displayed in dealing with the accident under these conditions. I would take these two fine young men on our Team in a heart beat.
The Canadian Forces (CF) SAR TECHs, pilots and air crew of 442 Squadron based in Comox were absolutely outstanding professionals in their response to not only an area of remote complex mountainous terrain at 8000 feet but in accessing, treating and evacuating Johannes along with Chris and Dominik from the crevasse in darkness.
I also want to thank the CF Air Controllers at the Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) in Victoria, the BCAS Dispatchers in Vancouver and Victoria and Airevac paramedic and fellow team member Dave Sulina with whom I was liaising with all night and who kept me informed constantly of the situation. I would also like to thank Brad Sills from Whistler SAR and fellow BCAS Paramedic Bruce Brink who went on standby to assist the rescue effort if the Canadian Forces needed any further resources.
To my Team Mates. The deportment and strength of character displayed by all of you when I put the Team on standby was both expected and observed and for that I along with my fellow SAR MGRS want to express our deep appreciation.
Lastly, to Hannes. It was privilege and honour to have been your Team Mate.
Pic: Hannes hauling injured boy scout in Cascade Stretcher to awaiting helicopter.
Official NSR Team Picture and Service Biography of Johannes ” Hannes” Mullegger
Johannes ” Hannes” Mullegger aged 36 years was just finishing off his two year member in training (MIT) program with North Shore Rescue. Hannes was an intelligent, quiet, superfit and skilled mountaineer. He was involved in recent SAR operations in which his ski mountaineering and “mule” strength became a recognized and relied upon asset.Hannes participated in all training activities of NSR from rope rescue, avalanche response and helicopter rescue. He also took on any of the mundane eye glazing equipment maintenance chores he was given without complaint. Hannes was effectively starting to understand the bigger picture of what a SAR Task entailed and that was a big step we saw in him on his journey to becoming a Rescue Leader.
Left: Johannes with Team Mates at recent Avalanche Safety Course
General Incident Briefing Conducted with Chris Tarling and Dominik Stoll at the NSR Debrief April 24th
The planned trip was a ski traverse of the Compton Neve through the Manattee Range to Meager Creek. Participants were three experienced ski mountaineers Dominik Stoll, Chris Tarling and Johannes Muellegger who have done many trips together previously. They were well prepared and well equipped for a trip of this nature. They flew in to the top of the Toba glacier on Thursday morning from Pemberton airfield where they cached a further 2 days food at the drop-off point and set off for a 3 day return trip towards Mount Gilbert around 11am.
They skied roped up through the minor icefall on the glacier, contoured around the ridge to join it at a small col near (92K/16 205282) and continued along the ridge to peak 8827 at (92K/16 171279).
They arrived on the summit in perfect weather conditions shortly after 6pm. From this point they took their skins off, unroped and were making a long downhill traverse contouring around a minor peak (8653) to reach a wide col suitable for camping at 92K/16 145303.
At one point during the traverse below peak 8653 they were contouring above visible crevasses when the accident occurred at about 6:30-7pm (92K/16 159288). Hannes, in the lead, fell through a covered crevasse. This crevasse was distant from the one they were avoiding, and completely invisible. No typical tell tale signs such as sagging snow, or discolouration/texture were observed on the agreed upon travel route. They deemed the area to be safe enough to travel unroped.
After failed initial voice contact they then built anchors and Chris rappelled into the crevasse and found Hannes lying face-down with his head and torso covered by snow on a snow bridge at exactly the end of the 30m rope. He repositioned the unconscious victim and performed CPR, but could not detect a pulse or signs of breathing. He ascended the rope with the sat phone recovered from Hannes’ pack and they called for immediate rescue assistance between 8-8:30pm. Dominik then rappelled back into the crevasse to deliver further CPR.
The SAR helicopter arrived on scene shortly after dusk, and put one SAR tech on the ground by a winch, and extracted Dominik and Chris immediately, and Hannes shortly after. They then flew directly to Saint Joseph’s hospital in Comox during which time the extensive efforts of the onboard medics were unable to revive Hannes.
Map Section of the 92K16 Identifying Accident Site
Information regarding Hannes’ memorial service can be found here – http://rememberinghannes.blogspot.com/