(CBS4) – A snowmobiler who triggered an avalanche near Independence Pass on Tuesday received injuries from the ordeal. His companion, also on board a snowmobile, found the injured rider, stabilized him, and then rode out to a trailhead to call for help.
The incident occurred in the area of Mountain Boy Gulch, less than a mile to the southeast of the 12,095-foot summit of Independence Pass. The pass is closed during the winter months.
The pair was riding near treeline and made several runs before the slide broke, according to a preliminary incident report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
The avalanche carried the snowmobiler into and through a stand of trees. The degree of the rider’s injuries was not reported, but he was eventually taken to a hospital.
A Flight For Life helicopter responded to the scene, as did members of Lake County Search and Rescue.
In recent weeks, several rescue agencies had joined the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s call for conservative decision-making by those exploring the backcountry during the global coronavirus crisis. Social distancing, they pointed out, is largely unavoidable during rescues and puts all parties involved at risk for exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
“We know the weather is beautiful right now,” Lake County Search and Rescue stated in a Facebook post about Tuesday’s incident, “and you all want to get after it, but please do not take any unnecessary risks right now. In total, 13 people from 3 different agencies responded to this incident. This is not ideal considering the current state of affairs.”