Outlet Podcast: Avalanche survivor Ken Wylie

2 minutes read
Posted 10 June, 2024
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Ken Wylie

Locals will get to hear from experts in mountain safety at the Southern Hemisphere Alpine Conference (SHAC), which will take place in Wānaka later this week.

The biennial conference is the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere and attendees can take part in workshops and presentations designed to improve the skills, knowledge and experience among the alpine community.

Alpine enthusiasts and professionals will get the chance to hear from guest speakers Ken Wylie (author, speaker and educator), Dr Ethan Greene (Colorado Avalanche Information Centre director) and Jordy Hendrikx (Antarctica New Zealand chief scientific advisor).

Ken, who will be the first guest speaker of the conference, survived an avalanche in British Columbia 20 years ago.

Seven people died in the avalanche and Ken, a guide, was pulled from the snow after 40 minutes. Weeks later, he acted as a first responder in another tragic accident that killed seven teenagers.

Both tragedies, which were due to a persistent weak layer in the snowpack that season, had a profound effect on Ken and played a significant role in his life going forward.

“My work is mostly based around lessons from that event and that winter in general,” he told the Wānaka App.

At SHAC he’ll be talking about the tragedy as it relates to a human hazard management model he has developed.

“It’s a really different model in terms of managing ourselves and being aware of how we are showing up to the decision making process.”

“I’ll be talking to those kinds of themes…but also inviting the participants to reflect on their own experiences, in the Southern Alps and other places.”

The SHAC will take place on Wednesday (June 12) and Thursday (June 13) at the Lake Wānaka Centre, with more than a dozen speakers taking the stage, plus workshops, a film and panel discussion, and more.

Find more information about the conference here.


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