Three people killed in an avalanche near Leavenworth Sunday have been identified.
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office says Seong Cho, Jeannie Lee and Yun Park died as a result of trauma from a fall as they were being swept down a steep, narrow channel. Three others survived.
Sheriff’s Sergeant Jason Reinfeld says recovery crews will take their time to assess the situation before making their way up Colchuck Peak.
“No air asserts have been able to take a look at the scene at all so we don’t even have a good visual on what the avalanche looked like.” Reinfeld said.
The recent weather is another reason why recovery crews will err on the side of caution before heading up. Reinfeld says avalanches happen frequently in that area.
“There isn’t a good trail that goes up to Colchuck Peak and they were climbing the northeast couloir, which is essentially a chute up through the rocks. This isn’t a place that a common hiker would go to. This is more of a technical climb.” Reinfeld said.
The hikers were known to be experienced in mountaineering, but were not equipped for self-rescue in the event of an avalanche. Reinfeld says it would not have mattered.
“They didn’t have the most common items you’d have for snowmobiling or any activity that might have an avalanche risk. It would be the beacon, probe and a shovel,” Reinfeld said. “In this instance, it wasn’t being buried by the avalanche that killed the climbers. It was trauma from the slide down the couloir.”
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office has identified 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
Hiking Safety Tips
Before you head off on your hike, let’s go over a few tips to help keep you safe. It’s best to be overprepared than underprepared, especially when it comes to your safety.