New rescue details: CAIC forecaster caught in avalanche

A trained forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center was caught in an avalanche yesterday on Bethel Mountain, just east of the Eisenhower Johnson tunnels overlooking I-70. 

The forecaster was not seriously injured. He was rescued by two other CAIC employees, plus Alpine Rescue Team from Clear Creek County.  Alpine Rescue Team shared more images and details on social media.

Rescue teams reached the injured forecaster when it was almost dark. The Alpine Rescue Team reports that the first rescuers traveled on skis climbing 1500 vertical feet to the accident site. A Flight For Life Colorado helicopter then arrived and made two trips to bring in more rescuers and additional equipment. They then put the injured forecaster in a protective hypothermia wrap and then loaded the person on a toboggan for evacuation. Shortly after 10pm the person was handed over to Clear Creek EMS for a ride to the hospital.

Says the CAIC in a Facebook post, “This incident highlights that even risk management planning does not eliminate the inherent risk of working in the backcountry.” As with all avalanche incidents they will investigate the incident and follow up with a full report.

The forecaster was equipped with a beacon, shovel and probe, and the training to use them.