Three hikers die after lead climber triggers avalanche in Washington

Avalanche warning sign on snowy mountain
(Image credit: Getty)

Three people died on a Washington mountain on February 20 after the lead climber accidentally triggered an avalanche. The group were attempting to climb Colchuck Peak, which has an elevation of 8,709ft.

According to ABC News, six people were attempting to summit the mountain when the accident happened. Four of the group were caught in the avalanche, which swept them 500ft down the mountain.

Three sadly died, but the fourth (a 56-year-old man from New York) sustained only minor injuries and was able to hike back to base camp. According to Chelan County Sheriff's Office, the victims were a 60-year-old woman from New York, a 66-year-old man from New Jersey, and a 53-year-old man from Connecticut.

Recovery operation delayed

A search and rescue operation was launched, but the teams were unable to proceed due to adverse weather conditions. 

"A group of four from Chelan County Mountain Rescue responded to the lake driven part of the way by the CCVSAR ORV unit. They reached the base camp at approximately 1:30pm," said Chelan County Sheriff's Office in a statement.

"They were able to determine avalanche conditions were too hazardous to continue to the deceased climbers. They escorted the surviving climbers back to the trailhead."

Continued hazardous conditions meant the rescue was postponed yesterday (February 21). At the time of writing, the Sheriff's Office is continuing to work with Northwest Avalanche Center to come up with a recovery plan.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.