Kip Rand (1986-2016)

Kip Rand

Posted: Wed, 3/9/2016 2:09 PM

Statement from the Wallowa Avalanche Center: March 9, 2016 Kip Rand was killed in an avalanche in the late afternoon on March 8, 2016. The accident occurred near Chief Joseph Mountain, west of Joseph, Oregon. As details emerged late last night and this morning this tragic news reached all of us at the avalanche center. We are simply stunned with sorrow. 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. Kip was on a path to grow our non-agency, non-profit center and further increase avalanche awareness within our region. He continued our long standing policy of soliciting guidance from the National Avalanche Center, the American Avalanche Association and nearby larger established avalanche centers as we redesigned product and services to match our funding reserves and personnel. We are humbled and appreciative of the support and encouragement received from the community and avalanche professionals around the nation. 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 Please refer inquires to: Julian Pridmore-Brown Deputy Director Wallowa Avalanche Center

Special Statement About Incident from 3/10 Advisory

Posted: Thu, 3/10/2016 10:23 AM

It is with tremendous sadness and a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of our dear friend and colleague WAC Director, Kip Rand. Kip was on of those individuals who touched the lives of the people he knew in extraordinary ways. He had an infectious passion for the mountains and he so enjoyed being able to share his knowledge and love for wild places with so many of us over the years. He was a true mountain mystic. For a time he belonged to this world. Now he belongs to the mountains. Details are limited at this time and a full report will be made available after an investigation is completed, but here is what we know so far. Kip and a close friend went on a big ski tour of Sacajawea Peak, Hurwall Divide, and Chief Joseph Mountain on Wednesday in the northern Wallowa mountains. At approximately 5:30pm on 3/8 a large cornice break (roughly 50 feet across, 20 feet wide, and 25 feet deep) on Chief Joseph Mountain swept Kip Rand, who was standing on top of the ridge about 15 feet back from the edge, 1200 vertical feet down a narrow chute. He was partially buried under several feet of snow. His ski partner immediately initiated his SPOT locator and phoned for help. The ski partner was able to locate Kip quickly with visual clues on the surface. Kip was unresponsive and CPR was initiated. After two minutes Kip was revived. Kip and his partner were then able to make their way down off the debris pile to a lightly tree covered bench. The trauma of such a fall eventually proved fatal. Kip's internal injuries were likely severe. He passed away around 8:00pm with a rescue team already in-route to the scene. The hasty search team reached the accident site by approximately 10:00pm. The ski partner was brought off the mountain safely. An organized recovery effort on 3/9 brought Kip off the mountain. A heart-felt thanks goes out to the dozens of friends, colleagues, and SAR personnel who assisted with the rescue and recovery effort. A great legacy of Kip is the passionate relationships he weaved together throughout the country. Our community is stunned and reeling from the loss of such a great man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kip's long-time sweetheart and girlfriend, family, and his many friends. We will update the WAC page with memorial and service information as it is made available.

Kip Rand - Update 1

Posted: Fri, 3/11/2016 1:15 PM

Updated Statement from the Wallowa Avalanche Center: March 11, 2016 Additional Details and photo added March 13, 2016 As we sort through the aftermath of the tragic accident on March 8, additional details surrounding the event are known. Kip and his skiing partner were at the end of a long ski tour that was planned out well in advance with contingency plans in place should they encounter unsafe conditions. They were preparing for the final run of the day when a cornice broke between the two men. This huge, school bus size block of snow weighing thousands of pounds, was destabilized with just the weight of the skiers, who were standing about 15 feet back from the edge. When the cornice broke, Kip fell into the resulting crack and was then swept down the mountain about 1200 feet. He was partially buried by the debris from the cornice break. No additional avalanche occurred as a result of the cornice break. Additional details will be available when the final report is published on We are so appreciative of all the emails of support we have received from all over. A memorial service for Kip is planned for Sunday, March 13, 2016 1 PM, at the Joseph Community Center in Joseph. The community Center is located at the corner of Lake and First St. Joseph Community Center 101 E. First Street Joseph, OR 97946

A Tribute to the People of Wallowa County, Oregon

Posted: Tue, 3/22/2016 12:04 AM

Barbara Rand asked that we publish this letter.


A Tribute to the People of Wallowa County, Oregon


From the moment I arrived in Joseph, after learning that my son, Kip Rand, died in a mountaineering accident, I met with an indescribable outpouring of love, comfort, encouragement, tears and laughter by the community of Wallowa County.

I can only say, I’ve never experienced anything like it.  Kip’s many local friends came around to sit with Robin Davenport, her mother, Ben Vanderbos, his family, and the Rand family, to share stories, hugs, laughter and tears.  This community took care of every minute detail, so that in our fog of grief, we could just soak up love, support and appreciation for Kip.  They arranged for grief counseling, pastoral support, meals and every other thing.

The Celebration of Kip’s life was entirely organized, and perfectly, by the Wallowa County community.  Even with only 1 ½ days’ notice, friends gathered from far and wide.  Who would have thought that I would describe this celebration, and my entire 8 days in Joseph, as one of the most beautiful and transcendent experiences of my life, while in the simultaneous presence of indescribable tragedy and grief!

Thank you, dear people of Joseph and Enterprise.  You taught me how to give and grieve with others, and I intend to “pay it forward”.  I will come back to see you, hike in the Wallowas, and remember that Kip loved this place more than any other in the world.  May God bless you all!


 Barbara Lawlis Rand, mother of Kip Rand,

who died in the Wallowa Mountains on March 8, 2016

May Update

Posted: Tue, 5/3/2016 7:22 AM

It seems hard to think about summer already. With the loss of Kip, our winter seems cut short. As I write these words, I also think about the future and winters ahead. All of us contribute to WAC in so many different ways, with the ideal that we can make a better, safer future. For us that includes sharing and providing information to manage risk in the mountains. So many of you have contributed to Kip's memorial fund and offered help in many other ways. It's very inspiring to see and keeps us focused on goals ahead. Thank You for all the support! 

Recent weeks have been busy finalizing the accident report. Many of you have asked about it. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) is the national repository for avalanche accident reports. The report can be found by clicking here>>> CAIC Accident Page. The report was prepared by Scott Savage, Director of the Sawtooth Avalanche Center, under the direction of the National Avalanche Center. We felt strongly that having an outside set of eyes on the situation would give us the best, most objective report. Scott was assisted by Michael Hatch. Others contributed to the information as well, including supporting photos and diagrams.