Grand County Search and Rescue is saddened to report of a fatal avalanche accident. GCSAR got a call around 5:30pm last night for an overdue male 57-year-old skier, Dariusz Krol near Berthoud Pass. Family members were able to tell GCSAR that the solo skier started at First Creek. They were able to see him start his run down, but lost sight of him when he dipped behind a mountain. He did not have a beacon so a helicopter was requested to do a thermal fly over, but due to weather, the helicopter was unable to fly.
The first GCSAR team in found a recent avalanche and began searching the debris. Additional teams came in to help search and to stand by in case of further avalanches. They searched with a Recco just in case he was wearing anything containing Recco technology. And they searched with probes. His goggles were found which helped the searchers determine where to focus the search. Shortly after finding the goggles, the man was found fully buried. An additional team came in with ropes and gear so a 300’ rope lower system could be set up to lower him down the steep terrain (35 to 40 degrees). He was taken to the trailhead and given to the Grand County Coroner.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center is visiting the site today to learn more about the avalanche. GCSAR will re-post their report when it comes out.
Grand County Search and Rescue sends our condolences to the family.
Please be safe out there. Avalanche conditions are considerable. This is the 4th avalanche death in the state in 8 days. Always carry a beacon, probe and shovel and know how to use them. Check the avalanche forecast before heading out. Recreate with a buddy. Stick to safer terrain – it’s just as beautiful and fun and you will live to ski/snowshoe/snowmobile another day.