Detailed Accident Report

Back to accidents page

Date: 2016-01-16
Submitted By: AAA
Place: Front Range, St. Marys Lake
State: CO
Country: USA
Fatalities: 1
Summary: 1 climber caught, buried and killed

On Saturday afternoon, in worsening weather -- snow and winds, a solo hiker/climber crossed the small, frozen St Marys Lake and started ascending the steep east facing slopes. He was planning just a short excursion as he was to be back in Denver by dinner time. After being a couple of hours late for dinner, he was reported overdue. In darkness and stormy weather searchers spotted avalanche debris on the lake and that some of the debris had broken through the 20-inch thick ice. Because of the severe weather and the threat of additional releases, searchers were only able to recco search and transceiver search from the perimeter of a portion of the debris. On Sunday, despite even worse weather, rescuers were able to see more and found the avalanche to be much larger and wider than first thought. Limited recco, dog searching, and spot probing were unsuccessful. The storm cleared early Monday, and rescuers were able to search significant portions of the debris but without success. Another storm arrived later Monday and the search was suspended until the following Saturday (Jan 23, 2016).

Rescuers reconvened early Saturday morning. An avalanche rescue dog alerted and the subject was soon found buried and submerged under snow and in water.

More details to be posted soon.

Posted 23 Jan 2016, at 1915 mst