Loveland Pass, CO, Closed for Several Hours Yesterday While Crews Searched Huge Avalanche for Buried Victim

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Loveland Pass avalanche. Credit: CAIC

On Wednesday March 16, 2022, at about 0800 hours, the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office Communication Center received a call of an avalanche in the area of Loveland pass/ski area, mile marker 225 on Hwy 6. 

The slide, in an area known as Idiot’s Cornice, was described as several hundred feet wide and about 600 feet long. Rescuers observed a single snowboard track leading into the avalanche area, but no exit track.

There was a single track from a snowboard going into the slide and no visible track exiting the debris. The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office, Alpine Rescue Team, Flight For Life Colorado, and two @CRADAvalancheRescue validated dog teams (from Loveland Ski Area and Copper Mountain) responded. After an extensive search, the scene was called clear and all teams were out of the field by 1:45 PM.

The avalanche was approximately 300 feet wide, ran about 300 vertical feet, and the crown face ranged from 1 to 3 feet deep. The debris of the avalanche averaged 3 feet deep, but was 9 feet deep in places. The avalanche appeared to be triggered in a rocky section of the slope where the slab was thin. The bed surface in this area was a thin, stiff layer, but the avalanche stepped down into basal depth hoar.

A team of CAIC forecasters visited the site today and you can read their Field Report here.

– CAIC

Rescuers responded from Alpine Rescue Team, Summit County Search and Rescue, Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office, Loveland Ski Patrol and Flight for Life. The pass was closed for several hours during the search operation.

The debris field was searched by rescuers, avalanche dogs and use of a helicopter mounted scanner.

It was later confirmed that nobody had been caught in the slide. Comments online suggested that the tracks in, but none out, could have been made by a paraglider/kite-boarder.

If you trigger an avalanche, you should report it. Your report and information could be used to save lives, and had this slide been reported, rescuers wouldn’t have had to spend hours searching.

Colorado has seen 28 human-triggered avalanches in the last week alone.

12 people have been killed in avalanches in the US this winter.

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Yesterday’s forecast. Credit: CAIC





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