Three Hikers Without Safety Gear Killed by Avalanche in Chugach National Park, AK

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Hiking on Bear Mountain. Credit: Alaska Hike Search

Three hikers were killed in an avalanche in Alaska’s Chugach Mountains on Tuesday, state troopers report.

The group, who were without any avalanche gear, were reported missing when they failed to return from their day hike near Bear Mountain.

Alaska state troopers and rescue crews searched the area and discovered a recent avalanche. Upon further investigation, they discovered the bodies of the three hikers.

Full statement below:

On February 2nd, 2021, at approximately 2223 hours, Alaska State Troopers were advised of three overdue hikers near Bear Mountain in Chugiak.

54-year-old Thomas Devine of Chugiak, 43-year-old Matthew Nyman of Colorado Springs, Colorado, and 50-year-old Edward Watson, of Miami, Florida, stated they were going hiking on February 2nd and were expected to return to the parking area by 1700 hrs on 2/2/21. The last known contact with the group was at approximately 1030 hrs on 2/2/21 prior to the group leaving for the hike.  The group did not return to the parking area and were reported overdue to the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center.

On the morning of February 3rd, 2021, the Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group launched a ground search of the area. During the search, what appeared to be a recent avalanche was discovered. In the avalanche slide area, the bodies of the three hikers were discovered buried in the snow. The group did not have PLB’s or avalanche beacons. The Alaska Mountain Rescue Group assisted with recovering the hikers from the slide area. Next of kin have been notified. 

There is a potential for additional avalanche activity in the area of Bear Mountain, and Alaska State Troopers are asking hikers to avoid the area until conditions improve.

The last avalanche fatality in Chugach State Park was in April 2011.

Yesterday, Colorado officials confirmed the identity of three Eagle County residents who died in an avalanche on Monday in the San Juan Mountains near Silverton, CO.

The body of a backcountry skier was recovered yesterday after an avalanche on Mount Washington, NH.

In Utah, a skier died Saturday after being buried by an avalanche in the backcountry just outside Park City Mountain Resort.

This week’s tragedies have doubled this winter’s USA avalanche deaths to fourteen. There have also been three avalanche deaths in Canada.

alaska, bear mountain
Bear Mountain near Chugiak, AK.

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