The average # of deaths by avalanche per year in Colorado is 6 … this is 4 in just over a week and it’s still December. rōbert

A backcountry skier who was on a solo outing on Berthoud Pass became Colorado’s fourth avalanche death this snow season after he was caught in a slide and found dead on Saturday. 

Grand County Search and Rescue said the man’s body was discovered after he was reported overdue by family members. 

Crews responding to the First Creek area found avalanche debris and then located a pair of goggles. The man’s body was then discovered. 

Grand County Search and Rescue says the man was fully buried and not wearing an avalanche transceiver, a device that sends out an electronic signal so that avalanche victims can be found if and when they are buried under snow. The device is a basic, key avalanche safety tool for backcountry users.

“Please, please, please be careful out there,” Grand County Search and Rescue said in a Facebook post. 

Earlier this month three men were killed in a pair of avalanches over two days. All of them were experienced backcountry skiers.

Avalanche experts have been warning backcountry users that Colorado’s snowpack is very unstable this year and that they should use extra caution.


Avalanche DetailsLocation: Berthoud Pass, First Creek Drainage, Chimney ChuteState: ColoradoDate: 2020/12/26Time: 3:00 PM (Estimated)Summary Description: 1 skier caught, buried, and killedPrimary Activity: Backcountry TourerPrimary Travel Mode: Ski
NumberCaught: 0Fully Buried: 1Injured: 0Killed: 1AvalancheType: SSTrigger: AS – SkierTrigger (subcode): u – An unintentional releaseSize – Relative to Path: R2Size – Destructive Force: D1.5Sliding Surface: G – At Ground/Ice/FirmSiteSlope Aspect: NSite Elevation: 11000 ftSlope Angle: 40 °Slope Characteristic: —

Accident Summary

A backcounty skier was caught buried and killed in an avalanche in the First Creek Drainage, of Berthoud Pass, on December 26, 2020.

Preliminary reports are, the avalanche occurred in an area locally known as Chimney Chute, which is a steep, narrow, north-facing below treeline chute. The victim was located by Grand County Search and Rescue team members with an avalanche probe. 

The Grand County Sheriff and Grand County SAR worked into the night to recover the body. CAIC forecasters will visit the accident site on Sunday. Our condolences to the friends and family of the victim.

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