It comes with deep sadness to announce that we lost a phenomenal individual on March 8th, 2016 – Kip Rand. Kip served as a Field Instructor for SOLE coordinating and instructing our American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE) Courses and also served as the Director for the Wallowa Avalanche Center (WAC) based out of Joesph Oregon. Kip was killed in an avalanche in the late afternoon on March 8, 2016 near Chief Joseph Mountain, west of Joseph, Oregon.
From the WAC announcement: “Kip was out enjoying some backcountry skiing with an out-of-town friend on a welcome day off from the demanding duties at the avalanche center. Kip’s commitment to the avalanche center and avalanche safety was immediately evident as he settled into his new position as Director of our organization in November of last year. He came to us with extensive avalanche training, many years of experience as a guide, avalanche educator and pro observer. Most of all, he came to us with a humble, collected and thoughtful demeanor as he spoke and shared his knowledge. Details on the exact cause of the accident are still unknown. Avalanche professionals from outside our region will assist us in preparing the accident report. The published report will be available on avalanche.org.” You can read WAC’s official announcement here.
At SOLE, I had the great fortune to work with Kip over the past two years and was consistently impressed by his dedication and passion as a Field Instructor and avalanche professional. These positive attributes also carried over into our friendship. For me at the core, Kip will be remembered not only as a gifted avalanche educator and professional but someone whose character and love left a lasting impression on all of us at SOLE, and all those he instructed both in and out of the field.
It has been difficult for me to take all of this in on so many levels. I am left with a humble reminder to truly take in and celebrate the good people that we connect with day-to-day, and the wonderful memories that we create together “out there”. Kip always loved being “out there” and could be found skiing, kayaking, teaching, or simply working on his partner’s family farm. Whatever, it was I can assure it was done with sincerity and passion.
As we approach our spring season please continue to be mindful when you are traveling in the backcountry. Support your local avalanche center, get trained, get equipped, and use sound judgment and decision-making 0r as Kip would say, “know when to stay home and bake cookies”. In the coming months, SOLE will be creating a Youth Scholarship for our avalanche education program in his honor. If you would like to donate to this cause you can do so by going here.