A snowboarder was killed in an avalanche yesterday, Monday, December 26, on Berthoud Pass, CO. Four backcountry tourers were caught, two fully buried, and one killed. It is the first avalanche fatality of the winter 2022/23 season. Local news is reporting the victim was a 44-year-old man.
- Related: Utah Avalanche Center Describes How Best to Approach a Moderate Avalanche Danger With a Persistent Weak Layer
On December 26, 2022, at around 1:00 pm, four backcountry tourers were caught in a large avalanche near Berthoud Pass’s summit in an area known as Nitro Chute. Nitro Chute is an east-facing avalanche path at around 11,500 feet. Two riders could stay on the surface; unfortunately, the other two were completely buried. The party was able to locate both buried riders using their avalanche transceivers. One of the riders was breathing when he was uncovered. The other was not. The party and a group of bystanders performed CPR, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Deputies from the Grand County Sheriff’s department, along with Grand County SAR, were able to recover the victim before sundown.
This fatal avalanche was on a slope very near where another snowboarder triggered a similar avalanche around the same time—our sincere condolences to all the friends and family of the deceased. Conditions are similar across much of the Northern and Central Mountains on Tuesday. This is a tragic reminder that you can trigger a dangerous avalanche on wind-loaded slopes steeper than 30 degrees—o
The avalanche forecast on Monday was rated as moderate, or level 2. Today it increases to level 3, or considerable danger.