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Date: 2003-12-13
Submitted By: NWAC
Place: Near the Alpental ski area, Snoqualmie Pass
State: WA
Country: USA
Fatalities: 1
Summary: 1 snowshoer caught, buried, still missing and presumed dead

A 38 year old woman snowshoer is still missing after being caught and

buried in an avalanche about midday on 13 December near the Alpental

ski area, Snoqualmie Pass, WA, in the drainage leading to Source Lake.

The day of the accident was generally a day of very heavy snowfall

with 23 inches of 24 hour snowfall at the nearby WSDOT office by the

morning of 14 December. The woman was apparently in a group but

reports have varied widely as to the size of the group. The avalanche

is reported by a searcher to have been about an 8 inch soft slab, on

an ENE 35 degree aspect at about 3300 feet, ran about 100-150 yards

downslope, class 2, the victim was caught part way down the avalanche

path, debris depth varied 2-8 feet. It is not known for certain, but a

searcher also reported that sluffs off cliffs above may have triggered

the slide. The search area is about 50 x 50 meters and has apparently

been probe searched several times by 16 December. Searchers report

that avalanche dogs had difficulty due to multiple persons and other

dogs preceding them in the search area. Another searcher commented

that probing was difficult due to underlying large rocks in the search area.