CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2020/12/26 - Colorado - First Creek, north of Berthoud Pass

Published 2020/12/27 by Mike Cooperstein - Forecaster, CAIC

Avalanche Details

  • Location: First Creek, north of Berthoud Pass
  • State: Colorado
  • Date: 2020/12/26
  • Time: 12:00 AM (Estimated)
  • Summary Description: 1 skier caught, buried, and killed
  • Primary Activity: Backcountry Tourer
  • Primary Travel Mode: Ski


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


  • Type: SS
  • Trigger: AS - Skier
  • Trigger (subcode): u - An unintentional release
  • Size - Relative to Path: R2
  • Size - Destructive Force: D1.5
  • Sliding Surface: G - At Ground/Ice/Firm


  • Slope Aspect: N
  • Site Elevation: 11000 ft
  • Slope Angle: 40 °
  • Slope Characteristic: --

Accident Summary

A backcounty skier was caught buried and killed in an avalanche in the First Creek Drainage, of Berthoud Pass, on December 26, 2020.

Preliminary reports are, the avalanche occurred in an area locally known as Chimney Chute, which is a steep, narrow, north-facing below treeline chute. The victim was located by Grand County Search and Rescue team members with an avalanche probe. 

The Grand County Sheriff and Grand County SAR worked into the night to recover the body. CAIC forecasters will visit the accident site on Sunday. Our condolences to the friends and family of the victim.