Colorado Springs man dies in Torreys Peak avalanche – Colorado Springs Gazette
A 39-year-old Colorado Springs man was identified Thursday as the victim of a fatal avalanche this week in Clear Creek County.
Christopher Thomas was snowshoeing on Torreys Peak with two other people Wednesday morning when he got caught in an avalanche at about 12,000 feet.
The Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office did not release the identities of the other snowshoers.
A Sheriff’s Office news release said a man and a woman met at Bakerville for the snowshoeing trip. Another man joined them in the parking lot.
The release does not specify if Thomas arrived with the woman or met the pair in the parking area.
A preliminary report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the three traveled up Stevens Gulch Road to the summer trailhead before following an existing route along the east side of Kelso Mountain.
The report said the snowshoers were concerned about the route along Kelso, which crossed multiple avalanche paths, but they did not leave the track.
When the three reached a slope that caused them specific concern, they decided to cross one at a time, the report said. Thomas was the second person to attempt to cross the slope. The snow tumbled from above and buried him.
The woman and Thomas had beacons, according to the news release, and the woman used her beacon when the avalanche occurred.
She and the other snowshoer found Thomas buried in the snow about 15 to 20 minutes after the avalanche hit him, the Sheriff’s Office release said.
The CAIC report said Thomas was buried about 41/2 feet deep.
The man administered CPR, but could not resuscitate Thomas, the Sheriff’s Office said. The woman called 911 and Alpine Rescue, the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office and Flight for Life Colorado responded.
Torreys Peak, with an elevation of 14,274 feet, straddles Clear Creek and Summit counties. The CAIC said another avalanche occurred at the site on Dec. 22, 2005, and killed an 18-year-old Colorado Springs man.
A CAIC team planned to visit the site Thursday and expects to release a final report within a week.
The group said Thomas’ death was the first avalanche fatality in Colorado and the third in the United States for the 2014-15 winter.
Contact Stephen Hobbs: 636-0275