Detailed Accident Report
Submitted By: WWAN
Place: Jones Pass, West of Empire
Summary: 3 snowshoers caught and buried,1 killed
26-year-old woman was snowshoeing with two friends
near Jones Pass
By Dan Elliott
EMPIRE ? A 26-year-old Denver woman died Sunday after being caught in
an avalanche while snowshoeing near Jones Pass.
Her two companions, a married couple from Denver, were partially buried by
the slide but were able to dig themselves out. The Clear Creek County Sheriff's
Office did not release their names.
Bill Barwick of the Alpine Rescue Team in Evergreen said the woman who
died recently moved to Denver from Houston.
Barwick said she was a friend of the couple, who appeared to be in their 20s.
Clear Creek County Sheriff Don Krueger said the three were not carrying
avalanche beacons, which help rescuers locate someone buried in snow.
Krueger said the survivors told one of the rescuers they were told they probably
did not need beacons when they rented their snowshoes.
"An avalanche beacon very easily could have saved (the woman's) life if used
properly," Krueger said.
Barwick said the husband was hurt but he did not know the nature of his
injuries. He and his wife were taken to a Denver hospital, but Krueger was not
sure which one.
The avalanche struck about 1:30 p.m. just west of Empire, 40 miles west of
Denver, when they were at about 10,700 feet, Barwick said.
The 26-year-old woman was buried under about six feet of snow and was
found about two hours later, Krueger said.
About 40 searchers from the Alpine Rescue Team, Douglas County Search
and Rescue, Berthoud Pass ski area and other groups participated.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reported Sunday morning that
avalanche danger in the northern Colorado mountains ranged from moderate
to high. The center's recorded message warned, "It is no time for taking undue
The center's Web site reported three other avalanche fatalities in Colorado this
season before Sunday's accident.