Search and Rescue Volunteer Recovers Body of 60-Year-Old Woman Killed in February Avalanche on Colchuck Peak, WA

Tate Sundberg | | AvalancheAvalanche
Colchuck Peak mountaineering washington cascade mountains
Colchuck Peak, Washington, where three climbers died in an avalanche on February 19 / Credit: The Seattle Times

A search and rescue volunteer visiting Colchuck Peak (70 miles east of Seattle) found the body of Jeannie Lee while ascending the mountain on Monday, May 29. The rescuer called dispatchers, which sent a helicopter to assist in the safe return of Lee’s Body. Lee had been missing since an avalanche accident occurred in February 2023. 

Jeannie Lee was a 60-year-old woman residing in Bayside, New York, when she died on February 19. She was one of three total fatalities ascending Colchuck Peak, making it the deadliest avalanche of the season at the time. The body of climbing partner Seong Cho was first recovered only a few days after the incident, but due to significant snowfall, Lee’s body was not found until over three months later. The body of third group member Yun Park is still missing despite substantial snowmelt since April.

Jeannie Lee was part of a six-person climbing group when the tragic avalanche occurred on February 19, 2023. While attempting to ascend the northeast Couloir of Colchuck Peak, the lead climber triggered an avalanche sweeping four members of the crew 500 feet to the base. Three members — Yun Park, Seong Cho, and Jeannie Lee — sustained fatal injuries, while the fourth climber suffered lower extremity injuries that were not life-threatening.

The uninjured climbers were unsuccessful in evacuating all injured individuals, but fortunately, all three surviving climbers could hike out to base camp. Once there, they alerted 22 rescuers who answered the call to help but later determined avalanche danger too severe to pursue the deceased climbers.

Read 3 Killed in Washington in North America’s Deadliest Avalanche of the Season for more information about the initial incident,

Jeannie Lee second climber body
Northeast couloir Colchuck Peak / Credit: The Wenatchee World

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