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Cameron Pass avalanche: Backcountry skier dies after being 'fully buried' in Colorado

A backcountry skier was killed after being caught and "fully buried" in an avalanche on Christmas Eve in Colorado, officials said. 

The avalanche occurred near Cameron Pass at 10,500 feet on the southeast portion of South Diamond Peak, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The avalanche broke on a layer of snow 1 to 2 feet below the snow surface, and it was about 150 feet wide.


Looking up the avalanche path, which broke about 150 feet wide and ran almost 100 vertical feet, officials said. (Credit: Provided / Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

"The victim's partner was able to locate him with a transceiver and probe pole and extricate him from the snow, but he did not survive," officials said in an incident report. 

"Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family and everyone affected by this tragic accident," the CAIC added in the report.

It was Colorado’s first avalanche death of the 2021-2022 season, CAIC data shows. A total of 12 people died in the state in the 2020-2021 avalanche season — the most in over a decade.

Officials were investigating the cause of the avalanche. The victim's identity was not released. 

"Our deepest condolences go out to the friends and family and everyone affected by this tragic accident," the CAIC added in the report.


Satellite image looking northwest towards South Diamond Peak and Cameron Pass. The red circle indicates the approximate location of the fatal avalanche accident on Dec. 24, 2021. (Credit: Provided / Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

Cameron Pass is located in the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado, sitting on the border between Jackson County and Larimer County.

Over the last 10 winters, an average of 27 people died in avalanches each winter in the U.S., a number that has steadily increased since the 1950s, according to the CAIC. Most fatalities have been reported in Colorado, followed by Alaska, Washington state, Utah and Montana.

Most avalanche deaths have involved backcountry skiing on unmarked or unpatrolled areas, the CAIC’s data shows.

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This story was reported from Cincinnati.