Two people have died in an avalanche in the north-central Rocky Mountains, officials in Colorado said Sunday.
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, the pair were riding snowmobiles Saturday when an avalanche struck them on the east face of Mount Epworth in Grant County.
The avalanche was reported around 2:15 p.m. Sheriff’s deputies, search and rescue crews, ski patrol members and local good Samaritans immediately located one of the victims, a 58-year-old man from northern Colorado, buried in the snow. , the Grant County Sheriff’s Office said.
They were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead at the scene, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. The county coroner’s office is expected to release the man’s identity later.
The other rider could not be found, and first responders had to call off the search because the weather worsened, the sheriff’s office said.
Rescue teams, including the Sheriff’s Office, Grant County Search and Rescue, Grant County EMS Mountain Medical Response Team, Winter Park Ski Patrol, Flight for Life and the Avalanche Center, returned and found the remains of the second victim shortly before 11 p.m. Sunday, the sheriff’s office said.
The victim, identified as a 52-year-old man, is expected to be released by the coroner at a later date. He was not using an avalanche transceiver, which made his rescue more difficult, officials said.
The Avalanche Center said the 58-year-old was found with the help of his transceiver, which is designed to transmit the locations of lost or buried mountain visitors.
The National Weather Service reported high temperatures in the area below 30 degrees, with overnight lows dipping into the single digits.
Sunday’s discovery means four people have died in Colorado avalanches since Dec. 26, according to Avalanche Center data.
“We encourage our backcountry recreators to follow the advice of our avalanche experts at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and continue to monitor conditions,” Sheriff Brett Schroedlin said in a statement.
On New Year’s Eve, a father and his adult son were backcountry skiing An avalanche hit them near Breckenridge Ski ResortAbout 65 miles south of Winter Park.
According to the Summit County Rescue Team, the father was able to dig himself out, but his son was buried and his body was recovered approximately two hours later.
On Dec. 26, four backcountry riders, including skiers and snowboarders, were struck by an avalanche accidentally triggered by a skier near Berthoud Pass, about 55 miles west of Denver, the Avalanche Center said. Two were buried, one of whom died, it said.
Avalanche center riders said a father, died, and his three teenage sons. Officers later arrested the father, Brian Bunnell, 44, of Lockwood, Colorado, N.B.C. Gusa Report of Denver.
The Rocky Mountains are repeatedly dusted by Pacific storms fueled by an atmospheric river of precipitation derived from tropical climates. The Avalanche Center said another such front is expected on Tuesday.
Snow can accumulate in areas favored by many backcountry skiers. Both dangerous December avalanches occurred in easily accessible areas. Gusa reported.
“Within ski area boundaries, we have very dedicated ski patrols and snow protection teams to mitigate the threat of avalanches,” Avalanche Center Deputy Director Brian Lazar told the station last month. “No one is doing that job on the other side of that rope.”
In the 2021-22 season, seven out of 20 people died in avalanches, the Avalanche Center said.
Eric Mendoza Contributed.
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