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Two Dead In Recent Avalanches


Within the past week, two people in Colorado have died in an avalanche, the most recent one just above Silverton.  Ethan Greene is the Director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.  They track avalanche dangers and investigate fatalities.  Listen below for an account of the accidents, and what to look out for.

For the past several years, Colorado has about 5 to 6 avalanche fatalities a year, but recently that number has jumped to 8 and 11.  It’s difficult to know if this an increase, or if the previous years were unusually low.  Either way, Greene advocates safety on the slopes.  Around the Western Slope, from the Grand Mesa, to the Gunnison area, to the Northern San Juans, the Center has labeled the mountains moderate, 2 out of 5 for danger.  Even though it’s relatively low, a lot of deaths historically happen at this range.

He says the most avalanche prone areas are northern and eastern sides, at or above treeline.  He advises anyone going out to the back country to take a beacon, a probe, and a shovel. 

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