EXPIRED: 02/13/10 – Jim Bowles, 57, was the president of ConocoPhillips Alaska, the big energy company. You’d think that someone that powerful wouldn’t be as careless as he ended up being.

Bowles died after being buried in an avalanche during a recreational snowmobiling trip in Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. That’s not his fault, obviously. But the avalanche, which happened around noon on Saturday near Seward buried Bowles and employee Alan Gage. And neither of them were wearing avalanche beacons.

That’s the bad news. Now, it’s unclear whether or not wearing an avalanche beacon would have saved their lives. But it might have made them easier to find – and with an avalanche, every second counts.

The accident appears to have been in a relatively remote area as rescuers had to ride snowmobiles 15 miles to reach the scene. Bowles was buried for about 45 minutes before being dug him out. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Gage is still missing.

Bowles started his career at Phillips Petroleum Co., the predecessor to Houston-based ConocoPhillips. He moved to Anchorage in November 2004, when he assumed the job of president, and oversaw 900 employees.

Shame, really.



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