Detailed Accident Report

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Date: 2000-11-04
Submitted By: Andy Gleason- CAIC Silverton
Place: Red Mountain, near Red Mt. Pass
State: CO
Country: USA
Summary: Group of 3 caught, 2 partially buried, 1 fully buried

On Saturday Nov 4, a party of 3 (skiers and snowboarders) climbed Red MT 3 (12890') near Red Mt Pass in the San Juan Mountains of SW Colorado. 2 men and one woman were looking to descend the north face. All 3 had been to an avalanche school. They had one beacon between them. The woman decided it was unstable and did not want to proceed. The men( one of whom was her husband) convinced her it was all right. I don't know if they dug a snowpit. The woman and one man descended(snowboard and skier) then 3rd person descended and released a slab avalanche catching all 3 in slide.

Fracture Line 1-3', Vertical appx 400' The woman was completely buried with a hand sticking out, other 2 were partially buried. The party utilized self rescue. All survived with minor injuries. The crown line blew in by the time we were notified of the accident, but suspect it ran on weak surface layer with wind slab on top, as we saw a few naturals the same weekend with this scenario.

The previous 4 days had 25" of new snow with strong SW winds that formed wind slabs on lee slopes above treeline.

Andy Gleason- CAIC Silverton


This was not reported to us, but we found out by third party Thursday Nov 9, so some of the details are sketchy. Also 2 skiers were partially buried in the LaPlata mountains west of Durango some time this week, but details are even more sketchy.