Avalanche kills five snowboarders in Colorado today


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Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 20, 2013 - 08:54pm PT

Avalanche kills five snowboarders in Colorado, sheriff says

GEORGETOWN, Colo. -- Five snowboarders were killed Saturday afternoon in a backcountry avalanche on Colorado's Loveland Pass, authorities said.

Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger said in a statement that six snowboarders were caught in the slide. The condition of the lone survivor was not released, and it was unclear if the victims were still buried.

Saturday's deaths bring the total number of avalanche fatalities in the state to 11 this year, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Spencer Logan, forecaster for the center in Boulder, said there have been weak layers in Colorado's snowpack since early January.

"Our last series of storms made them more active again," he said. "Over the last week and a half, that area got over 18 inches of snow, so if you melted that that would be 2 inches of water, so that is a heavy load."

Loveland Pass, at an elevation of 11,990 feet, is popular area among backcountry skiers and snowboarders. The Colorado Department of Transportation closed U.S. Route 6 as many skiers were headed home from nearby Arapahoe Basin ski resort.

The area is just south of Interstate 70, about 60 miles west of Denver.

On Thursday, a 38-year-old snowboarder died in an avalanche south of Vail Pass. Eagle County sheriff's officials said the man and another snowboarder likely triggered the slide after a friend on a snowmobile dropped them off at the top of Avalanche Bowl.

Nationwide, 24 people now have died in avalanches this season, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center statistics.

On April 13, two snowshoers were killed in separate slides near Snoqualmie Pass, Wash.

U.S. avalanche deaths climbed steeply around 1990 to an average of around 24 a year as new gear became available for backcountry travel. Until then, avalanches rarely claimed more than a handful of lives each season in records going back to 1950.

    The Associated Press

5 at once, on today of all days. So sad.

Apr 20, 2013 - 08:59pm PT
That is sad, careful out there- esp. late season. Condolences to family & loved ones.

South of Black Rock City (CC,NV)
Apr 20, 2013 - 09:08pm PT
Ugh horrible

Social climber
Apr 20, 2013 - 09:11pm PT
hey there say, hossjulia... :(

i get so sad hearing these... just when hope is there, that the season
is over and all is well, new snow comes, :(

i do know, that there are areas in the world where still is always there (though hopefully folks live in that awareness, growing up and living in such on-going caution areas??),
these mountain-ski etc areas, where so many folks come and go, to use the snow, we hope folks can get warnings, so,
these situations are what seems doubly sad...

it makes you feel that they may have had a chance
"if only" :(

very very sad to hear this, :(

condolences and prayers to the family and loved ones, :(

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Apr 20, 2013 - 09:12pm PT

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
Apr 20, 2013 - 09:21pm PT

I wonder what the Avy forecast was for that day.

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 20, 2013 - 09:22pm PT
Yeah, very grim. Oh I feel so bad for their families and friends. And the rescuers, that's really rough.

avy.org ought to have a report up in a few days


Santa Monica, CA
Apr 20, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
More and more of these. What are these folks thinking...it's really worth the thrill of a little backcountry this late in the season? Really sad. Condolences.

Trad climber
Where the Hoback and the mighty Snake River meet
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 20, 2013 - 09:27pm PT
Avalanche Danger (for today, 4/20)

The avalanche danger for the Front Range zone is CONSIDERABLE (Level 3) on N-NE-E-SE aspects near and above treeline. On other aspects the danger is MODERATE (Level 2). Cautious route-finding, conservative decision-making, and careful snowpack evaluation are essential for safe travel.


Dingleberry Gulch, Ideeho
Apr 20, 2013 - 09:59pm PT
Most people aren't qualified to go into the backcountry. It's too easy to get away with it though and the modern equipment just makes it even easier and offers a false sense of invulnerability. I doubt these victims looked at the snow pack or read the avalanche caveat emptor.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Apr 20, 2013 - 10:10pm PT
This is an enormous tragedy and a significantly unusual event to have such a late season snow load. It's the worst avalanche fatality event since 1962 with an 8 foot crown according to a report I read. Please withhold your judgement, there will be much information forth coming, those killed were someones daughter or son, sister or brother, aunt or uncle. My sincerest condolences to the families and love ones of those taken today.

Charlie D.

Trad climber
The great state of advaita
Apr 20, 2013 - 10:17pm PT
Sorry to hear this. Very sad. I know the Aspen/Snowmass Twitter feed has been reporting that it's been dumping all week. Lots of snow and layer potential. Will definitely wait to see the actual report from those on site.


Social climber
Colorado Plateau
Apr 20, 2013 - 10:47pm PT
oh no. kind thoughts to those involved. i hope my kindred in frontrangia were not involved!

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 20, 2013 - 11:29pm PT

Oh sh#t. My sincere condolences to the victim's family and
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Apr 20, 2013 - 11:40pm PT
How transient life..... As always my heart aches for those who lose the ones they love. My prayers go out to the loved ones, families and friends for comfort and healing. It will take time. God it is hard to lose those you love.

I hope this does not sound insensitive, but dying doing what you love....it could be so much worse. Still, I know those left behind will hurt no matter what. Peace, Lynne

Trad climber
Apr 21, 2013 - 12:15am PT
Lots of new snow for what seems like weeks now. Lots of high moisture content snow too. Heavy stuff on many levels. Truly sad. Love how 9 News in Denver actually listed the MMJ strain the skier that died in Vail was supposedly smoking the day he died in he article. I am sure the sensationalistic media will somehow tie this to 4/20.
Captain...or Skully

Apr 21, 2013 - 12:19am PT
As it ever was or ever will be. You wanna live forever? Am I the only one that thinks this way? F*#k it. You live, you die. When? I dunno. Does it really matter?
It's not cold. It's Life. Life & Death are Linked. One needs the other.
BTW, I don't think there are any "good" ways to die.
Big Mike

Trad climber
Apr 21, 2013 - 02:15am PT
Horrible. My condolences to family and friends. Special shout out to the survivor. That is a rough road to follow. Having been lucky several times, i can say for certain this is not a fun way to die. Choking on snow while feeling stupid for ignoring warnings for snow lust is awful.

I know that every time i've ended up in a avy, i've ignored obvious warning signs that i should have seen if i wasn't so gung ho. I'm not saying that is what happened in this incident, just that people need to play safe if they want to live to play another day.

Once again, not judging as i don't even know what happened. Just relating personal experience.
Rick A

Boulder, Colorado
Apr 21, 2013 - 09:47am PT
Photos here:


Preliminary report of Colorado Avalanche Information Center here:

[url=" https://avalanche.state.co.us/acc/acc_report.php?acc_id=505&accfm=rep"] https://avalanche.state.co.us/acc/acc_report.php?acc_id=505&accfm=rep[/url]

So sorry for the family and friends of those killed.


Social climber
boulder co
Apr 21, 2013 - 10:00am PT
Its so sad but these accidents are totally preventable. There was an avy fatality on thursday on a similar aspect on vail pass and a slide on the same aspect on 4/18 on loveland pass. Based on the reports available on the web they were on an east face above treeline which is specifically where the avy reported unstable snow. If they had done their homework they never should have selected that terrain to ride.

Super grim and my condolences go out to the friends and family.
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