Three fatalities have been confirmed by the King County Sheriffs office as a result of an avalanche near Stevens Pass today. Another fatality occurred earlier today at Alpental when a snowboarder reportedly plunged off a cliff.
Details at this time are sketchy, but early reports suggest the avalanche in the Stevens Pass area occurred on the south side of the mountain, beyond the boundary of the resort. The avalanche seemingly swept down into the Tunnel Creek Basin. According to some reports from the scene, it may have been triggered by solo backcountry skier, than swept up as many as three separate groups. Early reports from Sheriff’s office said two were killed and as many as eight others were caught up in the slide. They have now confirmed three fatalities: all males, ages 30-40. Everyone else believed to be in the incident has been accounted for. All them were said to be experienced backcountry skiers who were well prepared for backcountry travel.
Shortly before the Stevens Pass area avalanche, a snowboarder at Alpental near Snoqualmie Pass, triggered an avalanche that swept him off a cliff, resulting in a fatal fall of about 500 feet. His friend, also caught in the slide but not the fall, was uninjured. The two were riding out-of-bounds at the resort.
The Northwest Avalanche Center reported high avalanche danger above 5,000 feet today, and considerable avalanche danger below 5,000 feet. The area the Stevens Pass avalanche appears to have occurred is between 4,000 and 5,200 feet on a known avalanche slope.