*** UPDATE February 22nd, 2023 1530 ***
Sheriff Mike Morrison reports on February 22nd no rescuers were sent in to the avalanche scene near Colchuck Peak. Two avalanche experts from Northwest Avalanche Center deployed to the Colchuck area to assess the current avalanche hazard. The bodies of the climbers killed in the avalanche remain at the scene.
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office is identifying the avalanche victims as:
• Seong Cho, a 54-year-old male Korean National residing in West Hartford Connecticut
• Jeannie Lee, a 60-year-old female from Bayside New York
• Yun Park, a 66-year-old male from Palisades Park New Jersey
Recovery efforts from this point forward will be based on avalanche and weather conditions as well as overall rescuer safety.
Sheriff Mike Morrison reports on February 20th, 2023 Deputies were contacted at the CCSO Leavenworth substation about an avalanche that occurred near Colchuck Lake the previous day. The reporting party, a 53-year-old Maryland man reported the group he was with had attempted to climb Colchuck Peak on Sunday February 19th. There were six climbers in that group and the reporting party had stayed at their base camp that day.
The lead climber triggered an avalanche while attempting to climb the Northeast Couloir of Colchuck Peak. Four of the climbers were swept down the couloir approximately 500 feet. Three of the climbers died as a result of trauma sustained in the fall. They were a 60-year-old female from New York, a 66-year-old male from New Jersey, and a 53-year-old male from Connecticut. The fourth climber, a 56 year old male form New York sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was able to hike back to base camp with the remaining two. They were a 50-year-old male from New York and a 36-year-old male from New Jersey. When they arrived at camp, they sent the reporting party for help.
When Deputies took the report, A SAR coordinator started gathering resources. A total of 22 rescuers responded to the trailhead to assist with this effort. They were from Chelan County Mounty Rescue, Chelan County Volunteer Search and Rescue and ORV unit, Seattle Mountain Rescue, Tacoma Mountain Rescue, and Yakima Mountain Rescue. A group of four from Chelan County Mountain Rescue responded to the lake driven part of the way by the CCVSAR ORV unit. They reached the base camp at approximately 1:30 pm. They were able to determine avalanche conditions were too hazardous to continue to the deceased climbers. They escorted the surviving climbers back to the trailhead.
Rescuers were not sent back in to the scene today due to hazardous conditions. CCSO continues to work with Northwest Avalanche Center to assist in a recover plan.
Colchuck Peak sits at the South end of Colchuck Lake approximately 8 miles South of Leavenworth, WA.