CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2014/03/22 - Washington - Granite Mountain

Published 2014/03/24 by Spencer Logan - Forecaster, CAIC

Avalanche Details

  • Location: Granite Mountain
  • State: Washington
  • Date: 2014/03/22
  • Time: 4:45 PM (Estimated)
  • Summary Description: 1 backcountry tourer caught, buried, and killed
  • Primary Activity: Backcountry Tourer
  • Primary Travel Mode: Ski


  • Caught: 0
  • Fully Buried: 1
  • Injured: 0
  • Killed: 1


  • Type: --
  • Trigger: AS - Skier
  • Trigger (subcode): u - An unintentional release
  • Size - Relative to Path: R3
  • Size - Destructive Force: D3
  • Sliding Surface: --


  • Slope Aspect: S
  • Site Elevation: 5200 ft
  • Slope Angle: 45 °
  • Slope Characteristic: --

Accident Summary


Around 4:45 PM on Saturday afternoon 2 skiers and a dog descending the looker's left (or skier's right) avalanche path on the south side of Granite Mt (visible from I-90) triggered a slab avalanche that stepped down to a deeper slab. The skier caught and eventually killed in the slide left the ridgeline at about 5200 ft in elevation and skied onto a steep (40+ degrees) slope. The avalanche became a large and destructive wet slab funneling down to around 2300', entraining increasingly saturated snow lower in the avalanche path and at times gouging to the ground. Initial size estimates are at least D3/R3. The other person was in a safe zone and not affected. The skier who was caught was buried under 20 feet of debris but was recovered Sunday morning by local search and rescue efforts.  Another party of two lower on Granite was not caught and aided in the preliminary search efforts.