One person confirmed dead in backcountry avalanche near Aspen

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Slide occurred Monday morning in Markley Hut area

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Skiing near the Markley Hut

An unidentified man died Monday morning in an avalanche in the Express Creek area of the Castle Creek Valley outside of Aspen, officials said.

Emergency dispatchers received a call at 10:19 a.m. from a Mountain Rescue Aspen member reporting that one man in the area of the Markley Hut was caught in the avalanche, which occurred shortly before the call, said Alex Burchetta, director of operations at the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the preliminary report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the man was with a “group of backcountry tourers staying at the Markley Hut.”

It appeared people in the group were able to dig the man out of the snow and start CPR, though that was not successful, Burchetta and the CAIC report said.

“We have one confirmed fatality,” Burchetta said.

MRA members were mobilizing late Monday morning to retrieve the body and help escort other members of the man’s party out of the backcountry, Burchetta said.

The Markley Hut is located outside Ashcroft in the Express Creek area and is part of the Alfred A. Braun hut system. Ashcroft is about 12 miles from Aspen.

The MRA member who reported the incident was in the area of the avalanche, but not with the man who died, he said. No other information about the man or the size of the avalanche was immediately available Monday morning, Burchetta said.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has warned that the backcountry in the area is dangerous, and Burchetta warned people to be cautious.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

 

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