Poor Choices Amount on Berthoud Pass

"Our mountains are not a city park and *demand* your respect and experience, knowledge, gear, and at least one partner." -Grand County Search and Rescue

Sneeringer, B. (2021, January 25). Errors "too obvious to enumerate" in dangerous incident on Colorado mountain pass. OutThereColorado. Retrieved From

We have all heard this story, or one similar, numerous times this winter alone. An inexperienced backcountry user wanders into unknown winter avalanche terrain alone without proper clothing, footwear, water, food, or appropriate knowledge and training. In this particular case a Colorado Springs woman snowshoed up Colorado Mines Peak on Berthoud Pass in yoga pants, sports bra, a light jacket, one small bottle of water, and zero knowledge of her surroundings. She became disoriented at the top of a known avalanche path and her phone was dead. Instead of attempting to retrace her steps she descended the avalanche chute on foot, severely risking her own life and possibly others. The story ends well as she made it back to US40 just as Search and Rescue was deploying, but her choices were described as, "too obvious and enumerate". As Grand County Search and Rescue has elaborated over and over again, "our mountains are not a city park", they are highly adverse, unpredictable environments that "demand our respect and experience, knowledge, gear, and at least one partner." Anyone lacking these traits should either educate themselves before venturing into the backcountry or go with trained and knowledgeable individuals. The moral of the story, please respect our mountains, make good choices, educate yourself, and stay safe out there!