CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2015/03/17 - Colorado - Cooper Fork, northwest of Taylor Peak

Published 2016/11/11 by blase reardon - Forecaster, CAIC

Avalanche Details

  • Location: Cooper Fork, northwest of Taylor Peak
  • State: Colorado
  • Date: 2015/03/17
  • Time: 2:00 PM (Estimated)
  • Summary Description: 1 skier caught, deployed airbag and partially buried
  • Primary Activity: Backcountry Tourer
  • Primary Travel Mode: Ski


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


  • Type: WS
  • Trigger: AS - Skier
  • Trigger (subcode): c - A controlled or intentional release
  • Size - Relative to Path: R3
  • Size - Destructive Force: D2
  • Sliding Surface: G - At Ground/Ice/Firm


  • Slope Aspect: N
  • Site Elevation: 11475 ft
  • Slope Angle: --
  • Slope Characteristic: Planar Slope,Sparse Trees,Gully/Couloir

Accident Summary

Two skiers returning from skiing Taylor Peak followed another skier's tracks into a steep gully in Cooper Fork. The first skier ski cut the slope, releasing a wet slab avalanche, medium-sized relative to the path and large enough to bury or kill a person (WS-ASc-R3D2-G). The skier was caught in the slide and carried in the slide debris. He deployed his airbag midway down the slope and came to a stop near the toe of the debris buried to his neck with his hands at the surface. It took 20 minutes for the second skier to dig him out. The two skiers made it to the trailhead without further incident.