Anchorage man falls to death; Snowmachiner dies when cornice gives way
By Danielle Stanton, ADN 4/13/97
A 27-year-old Anchorage man plunged 1,300 feet to his death Friday while riding his snowmachine near the Gakona Glacier, Alaska State Troopers said Saturday.
The man's name was withheld pending notification of family members, Trooper Ruth Joston said.
Troopers received a call about the incident at 3 p.m. Friday and dispatched rescuers, including a trooper helicopter, to the glacier north of Paxson.
According to troopers, the man drove his snowmobile up a steep slope near the glacier. Near the top, about 7,000 feet, the ridge gave way under the weight of the snowmobile and the machine and driver tumbled over the side, troopers said.
"He was high-marking on a narrow ridge, stopped on the cornice and then it broke free," said Trooper Bob Hoak of Delta Junction. "He was not supposed to be where he was at."
Rescuers found his body buried under 6 feet of wet, thick snow near the 5,700-foot level, Hoak said. The man fell about 1,300 feet, repeatedly striking the face of the slope and triggering an avalanche.
The man died of severe trauma, troopers said. The body was flown by trooper helicopter to Fairbanks.
Then incident occurred near the site of the Arctic Man Ski and Sno-Go Classic, in the HooDoos Mountain near Summit Lake. The annual competition combines downhill skiing and snowmachine racing.
Hoak said the driver was not participating in the Arctic Man race.
Troopers identify glacier victim
Alaska State Troopers have identified the victim of a fatal snowmachine accident on the Gakona Glacier as Darren Robert Nibert, 27, of Anchorage. Nibert fell more than 1,000 feet to his death Friday when a cornice on the glacier broke loose, troopers said. According to troopers, Nibert drove his snowmachine up a steep slope near the glacier. Near the top, at about 7,000 feet, the ridge gave way under the weight of the snowmobile, and the machine and driver tumbled over the side. Rescuers found Nibert's body under six feet of wet, thick snow near the 5,700-foot level. Nibert's fall triggered an avalanche, troopers said. He died of severe trauma.