How to stay safe in Colorado backcountry amid first avalanche deaths of 2022

After the death of two snowshoers in an avalanche near Hoosier Pass on Saturday, Summit County Rescue Group and the Colorado Avalanche Information Center shared ways those who explore the backcountry can stay safe.

Hannah Nash, 25, and Drake Oversen, 35, of Colorado Springs, died along with their dog Valerie after they were caught and buried in an avalanche they triggered while snowshoeing near North Star Mountain. The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma and asphyxiation, according to the Summit County coroner.

Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, said anyone who explores in the backcountry should be sure to have an avalanche rescue transceiver, a device that can connect to others of its kind and help locate someone in the case of an avalanche.

He said when getting ready to go out in the backcountry, the transceiver should be set to send a signal, and in the case that a group is split up where one person is buried and another isn’t, one can set their transceiver to search where it will pick up on another transceiver’s signal.

Greene said while he doesn’t know if the couple who died this weekend were experienced in the backcountry, they did not have these devices on them. He also said snowshoers typically don’t go into avalanche terrain as much as skiers, snowboarders and snowmobilers who are looking for the steeper slopes.

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