LEAVENWORTH, WA (PIX11) – Three people, including residents of New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut, were killed in an avalanche while mountain climbing in Washington state, authorities said.
The avalanche occurred on Sunday as a group of six people were climbing Colchuck Peak in the Cascades, located about 8 miles south of Leavenworth, Washington, according to the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office.
The lead climber triggered the avalanche, which swept four of the climbers down the northeast couloir about 500 feet, authorities said.
A 60-year-old New York City woman, a 66-year-old New Jersey man and a 54-year-old Connecticut man died from injuries sustained in the fall. The victims were identified as Queens resident Jeannie Lee, Palisades Park resident Yun Park and West Hartford resident Seong Cho.
Additionally, a 56-year-old New York man suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the fall and was able to hike back to base camp with the remaining two climbers, a 50-year-old New York man and a 36-year-old New Jersey man.
“When they arrived at camp, they sent the reporting party for help,” a Chelan County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said in a news release. “A total of 22 rescuers responded to the trailhead to assist with this effort … They escorted the surviving climbers back to the trailhead.”
The bodies of the climbers killed still haven’t been recovered as of Wednesday due to hazardous avalanche conditions, authorities said.
“Two avalanche experts from Northwest Avalanche Center deployed to the
Colchuck area to assess the current avalanche hazard,” a Chelan County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said. “Recovery efforts from this point forward will be based on avalanche and weather conditions as well as overall rescuer safety.”