Rescuers find no burials Thursday in large avalanche on north side of Loveland Pass

Colorado Avalanche Information Center report offers perspective from backcountry skier who witnessed the slide.

Ryan Spencer
Summit Daily
No one was found buried in a large avalanche on the north side of Loveland Pass on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center/Courtesy photo

A large avalanche near Loveland Pass with unknown burials drew a sizable rescue response Thursday afternoon, Jan. 12, and was followed in quick succession by another slide in the area.

No one was found buried in the initial slide at Mt. Trelease, the Evergreen-based volunteer group Alpine Rescue Team said in a Facebook post Thursday. Jacob Smith, a spokesperson for the rescue team who responded to the scene, said the initial 911 call came in from an observer who saw the avalanche from a distance and could provide no further information. It took the team about an hour and a half to clear the scene, Smith said.

As rescuers worked, the team received a call for another avalanche in the area of Idiots Cornice near the summit of Loveland Pass, the post said. Loveland Ski Patrol helped clear that second avalanche and no one was found buried.

Rescue teams were called to the first avalanche a few minutes after 12:30 p.m. and the second less than an hour later, around 1:15 p.m., according to the Alpine Rescue Team’s website.

A field report filed with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center on Thursday describes the avalanche on Mt. Trelease from the perspective of a backcountry skier who said he was below the southeast face of the mountain at the time of the slide.

The debris stopped about 100 yards from where Deshler and his colleagues had been, he wrote in the report.

“We were happy we’d given the face such a wide berth,” Deshler wrote. “We searched the debris with a few others that were out there and didn’t pick up any signals. The debris did cover a few skin tracks from earlier in the day.”

The pair of avalanches happened near Loveland Pass a day after the Colorado Avalanche Information Center warned that dangerous avalanche conditions will continue through the busy Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

Since Dec. 26, the center has recorded more than 870 avalanches, and there has been a fatal avalanche accident each of the last three weekends, including one death in Summit County.

“Our general suggestion right now is to be extremely conservative with your terrain choices,” Smith said. “The snowpack is in this condition where it is difficult to look for those obvious signs of instability. Playing it extra safe this weekend is probably your best bet.”

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