CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2020/04/28 - Colorado - Mount Emmons, west of Crested Butte

Published 2020/04/30 by Ethan Greene - Forecaster, CAIC

Avalanche Details

  • Location: Mount Emmons, west of Crested Butte
  • State: Colorado
  • Date: 2020/04/28
  • Time: 12:00 AM (Estimated)
  • Summary Description: 1 backcountry tourer caught and killed
  • Primary Activity: Backcountry Tourer
  • Primary Travel Mode: Ski


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


  • Type: WS
  • Trigger: AS - Skier
  • Trigger (subcode): --
  • Size - Relative to Path: --
  • Size - Destructive Force: --
  • Sliding Surface: G - At Ground/Ice/Firm


  • Slope Aspect: NE
  • Site Elevation: 10200 ft
  • Slope Angle: --
  • Slope Characteristic: Convex Slope,Sparse Trees

Accident Summary

PRELIMINARY: A group of four backcountry skiers ascended Mount Emmons. Descending the northeast side through an area known as the Climax Chutes, the group triggered a shallow long-running wet-loose avalanche. The group descended a ridgeline one-at-a-time, with Skier 1 leading. Skier 1 triggered several more wet-loose avalanches, then descended out of sight down the steepening ridge. The group continued down the ridge after losing contact with Skier 1. One of the wet-loose avalanches carried Skier 1 over a cliff and triggered a deeper, and larger, wet-slab avalanche. The avalanche carried Skier 1 down a very steep, timbered slope. The group found Skier 1 unconscious and injured on the treed slope. They attempted to revive him, but his injuries were too severe. They made contact with local first responders, who assisted the group back to the trailhead. Skier 1’s body was recovered the following day.