CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2019/02/16 - Colorado - Pearl Pass Road, Brush Creek Drainage

Published 2019/02/18 by Mike Cooperstein - Forecaster, CAIC

Avalanche Details

  • Location: Pearl Pass Road, Brush Creek Drainage
  • State: Colorado
  • Date: 2019/02/16
  • Time: 12:00 AM (Estimated)
  • Summary Description: 2 backcountry tourers caught, buried, and killed
  • Primary Activity: Backcountry Tourer
  • Primary Travel Mode: Ski


  • Caught: 0
  • Fully Buried: 2
  • Injured: 0
  • Killed: 2


  • Type: SS
  • Trigger: AS - Skier
  • Trigger (subcode): u - An unintentional release
  • Size - Relative to Path: R3
  • Size - Destructive Force: D2
  • Sliding Surface: O - Within Old Snow


  • Slope Aspect: SE
  • Site Elevation: 9400 ft
  • Slope Angle: 37 °
  • Slope Characteristic: Planar Slope

Accident Summary

Preliminary Report: On Saturday, February 16, 2019, two backcountry skiers were reported overdue in the Brush Creek drainage, near the town of Crested Butte. The report was made just prior to 8:00 p.m.

Crested Butte Search and Rescue (CB-SAR) sent a hasty team into the field. They discovered tracks into fresh avalanche debris. They did not find tracks exiting the slide but did find faint beacon signals in the slide area. Shortly after midnight, CB-SAR group determined conditions were too dangerous to continue search and rescue operations.

On Sunday, February 17, 2019, a team of six Crested Butte Search and Rescue members were air lifted to the scene by helicopter. An additional team of 5-6 members entered the area by ground. Among the rescue members were representatives of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC) and the Crested Butte Avalanche Center along with three Crested Butte Mountain Resort Ski Patrollers whose primary objective was to ensure the area was safe for recovery efforts.

The rescue team quickly located the bodies of the two men as beacon signals were transmitting. At approximately 3:00 p.m. the bodies had been transported by the team to the helicopter landing zone at Brush Creek.

Our deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of the people involved. We will publish more information as it becomes available.