Washington avalanches leave 1 dead, 1 missing
SEATTLE — A pair of spring avalanches killed a female snowshoer and buried a 60-year-old male hiker, for whom rescuers indefinitely suspended a search on Sunday, authorities in Washington state said.
The avalanches on Saturday struck separate groups hiking in the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle.
Kenny Kramer, director of Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center, said between 20 and 30 inches of snow fell during the weekend, and the center warned of dangerous avalanche conditions.
“We had a considerable danger,” the meteorologist said. “We were expecting a lot of snow.”
All that new snow was weakly attached to the old snow crust, making it more unstable, Kramer said.
Sgt. Katie Larson with the King County Sheriff's Office said a team of rescuers worked through the night in blizzard-like conditions to carry the female snowshoer off Red Mountain just after midnight.
Medics confirmed that she had died when they reached the base of the mountain, Larson said.
“The conditions yesterday were horrific,” Larson said Sunday. “It took 25 rescuers about five to six hours” to bring her off the mountain in a sled.
The man, whom Larson described as “a very experienced hiker,” was with two other men when the avalanche hit Granite Mountain, carrying them 1,279 feet at a top speed of 53 mph “in less than a minute.” That detail was available because at least one snowshoer was carrying a GPS device.
Two, in their 30s, were injured but emerged from the snow; their companion did not, Larson said.
About 50 rescuers with dog teams searched for the man. But they battled horrible conditions, Larson said, and wound up suspending the search about 8 p.m.
Overnight, the mountain got another “big dump of snow,” making the conditions too dangerous to send searchers back in, she said.
“Until conditions improve, we've suspended the search indefinitely,” Larson said.
Won Shin, 56, of Mukilteo, Wash., was among the group of 12 snowshoers who were on Red Mountain at the time of the avalanche.
He told The Seattle Times that when the avalanche hit, “the only thing I thought about was just, ‘Get out of here.' I've never felt anything like that.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Glitch in health care law calculator enables employers to offer substandard health care coverage
- White House evacuated for fence jumper
- Chief justice worried about partisanship
- White House targets sexual assaults on college campuses
- Italian village to honor World War II U.S. bomber pilots
- License plate scanner networks gotcha
- Even record-setting retardant drops barely slow Calif. blaze
- Daughter says of Utah doctor: He’s a ‘monster’
- Ten Commandments lawsuit tossed
- U.S., Canadian jets intercept 8 Russian aircraft
- Benghazi death prompts $2M suit