Crested Butte Avalanche

Backcountry Skier near Crested Butte Dies in Avalanche; Second Death This Season

CRESTED BUTTE, COLORADO — A backcountry skier tragically lost his life in an avalanche on Sunday afternoon near Crested Butte, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC). The incident occurred around 1 p.m. in a section of the Anthracite Range known as the Playground, just east of Ohio Peak. Despite the efforts of his skiing companions to rescue him, the skier succumbed to his injuries after being extracted from the avalanche debris.

The Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office reported that the victim’s three skiing partners were unharmed and managed to exit the area independently. A helicopter crew was later dispatched to recover the man’s body. Authorities have yet to disclose the identity of the deceased.

This tragic event marks the second avalanche-related fatality in Colorado for the winter season. The first occurred in late January when a backcountry snowboarder was killed by an avalanche in the Waterfall Creek area near Ophir, outside of Telluride.

Safety in the Backcountry

As the thrill of backcountry skiing and snowboarding continues to attract adventurers, the inherent risks of avalanches in Colorado’s mountains remain a grave concern. The CAIC and local search and rescue teams emphasize the importance of preparedness and caution when venturing into avalanche-prone areas.

Safety Tips for Backcountry Enthusiasts:

  • Education: Attend avalanche safety courses to understand snow conditions and avalanche risk assessment.
  • Equipment: Always carry essential avalanche safety gear, including a beacon, shovel, and probe.
  • Check Conditions: Consult the CAIC website for current avalanche forecasts and conditions before heading out.
  • Stay Together: Ski or ride within sight of your partners and maintain communication.
  • Know Your Route: Plan your trip carefully, avoiding known avalanche paths and unsafe terrain.
  • Practice Rescue: Regularly rehearse search and rescue techniques with your group.

 

The community mourns the loss of a fellow adventurer to the unforgiving nature of backcountry exploration. As we seek the beauty and thrill of Colorado’s mountains, let us remember the importance of safety and preparedness.

For more detailed information on how to stay safe in the mountains and to educate yourself further on avalanche safety, please visit The Next Summit’s Mountain Safety Guide.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

Learn more about how we protect public lands and prevent SAR calls through education & advocacy.

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