Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2000-01-23
Submitted By: WWAN
Place: Jones Pass, West of Empire
State: CO
Country: USA
Fatalities: 1
Summary: 3 snowshoers caught and buried,1 killed

26-year-old woman was snowshoeing with two friends

near Jones Pass

By Dan Elliott

Associated Press

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

risk."

The center's Web site reported three other avalanche fatalities in Colorado this

season before Sunday's accident.