Second victim recovered from avalanche near Pumphouse Lake

Meg Soyars
Sky-Hi News
Early Sunday morning Jan. 8, 2023, teams from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Grand County Search and Rescue, Grand County EMS – Mountain Medical Response Team, Winter Park Ski Patrol, Flight for Life and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center returned to the avalanche area of Mount Epworth / Pumphouse Lake near the Town of Winter Park. They located and recovered the body of the second avalanche victim, a 52-year-old male from Northern Colorado. He and another snowmobiler were buried and killed in the avalanche on Jan. 7.
Grand County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy photo

The body of the second victim of a Saturday avalanche was recovered on Sunday, Jan. 8.

The avalanche slid near Pumphouse Lake and the east face Mount Epworth, southwest of Rollins Pass, on Saturday, Jan. 7 at approximately 2 p.m., according to a preliminary report by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The avalanche buried and killed two snowmobilers from Northern Colorado.

The first group on the scene was a motorized avalanche class, according to a Facebook post by Mike Duffy. At approximately 2:15 p.m. the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Grand County EMS, Grand County Search and Rescue, and a Winter Park Ski Patrol Dog Team responded to the scene. The first victim, a 58-year-old male who was wearing an avalanche transceiver, was recovered from the scene. CPR was preformed, but the first victim was not revived.

The second victim, who was not wearing a transceiver, was not found on Jan. 7. Responders withdrew from the scene at dark, then returned early Sunday morning on Jan. 8 to continue search and recovery efforts.  

A news release from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office stated teams from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Grand County Search and Rescue, Grand County EMS, Winter Park Ski Patrol, Flight for Life, and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center all returned on Sunday.

Shortly before 11 a.m., responders located the victim — a 52-year-old male from northern Colorado. His body was recovered and transferred to the Grand County Coroner’s Office. The identity of the man and the official cause and manner of death will be released by the Coroner’s office when appropriate, according the news release.  

The sheriff’s office encourages those recreating in the backcountry to consistently monitor the conditions and follow the advice of avalanche professionals at Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

“The Colorado snowpack is currently very dangerous and will remain so for many weeks. You are unlikely to get obvious signs of instability like natural avalanches, cracking, and collapsing,” the information center wrote in a Facebook post on Jan. 8. “A glass-like shattering of the slab and thick blocks of snow dragging you into an unsurvivable avalanche could be the first sign of instability you get.”

According to the center, four people have died in avalanches in Colorado this year, three of which from slides that occurred in Grand County. Visit to stay updated on current conditions.

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