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Top 10 deadliest avalanches in Colorado

Posted at 5:53 PM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 21:41:11-05

COLORADO – We’ve heard a lot about avalanches lately as the high country has been hammered with snowfall. This year there have been 6 backcountry deaths in 5 different avalanches. The majority of the deadliest avalanches happened over a century ago.

1. Woodstock (1884) 13 deaths
2. Shenandoah Mine (1906) 12 deaths
3. Liberty Bell Mine (1902) 12 deaths
4. Silver Plume Mine (1899) 10 deaths
5. Homestake Mine (1885) 10 deaths
6. Whale Mine (1877) 8 deaths
7. Mendota Mine (1883) 8 deaths
8. Twin Lakes (1962) 7 deaths
9. Monarch (1907) 6 deaths

10. Loveland (2013) 5 deaths

The deadliest avalanche was in Woodstock back in 1884. It killed 13 children and railroad men. The small town was never rebuilt.

The next several avalanches on the list all involve mines and took place over 100 years ago. The fatalities were miners and their families who worked and lived near the mines. Obviously, a lot of these don’t exist anymore and mining has become more sophisticated over the past 100 plus years.

The Twin Lakes avalanche was a little more recent, in the 1960’s. This avalanche destroyed 4 homes and killed 7 people. The Monarch avalanche in 1907 actually killed 6 people in town, not skiers or snowboarders on the mountain.

The most recent avalanche on the list happened near Loveland Pass. This was on April 20, 2013. 6 skiers and boarders were buried, only one survived. This is the most deadly ski related avalanche on record. All of the other deaths on the list were non-recreational.

Mitigation has become a practice and really evolved over the last century. We’re also more aware of when avalanche danger is high. We have numerous avalanches each season and they’re not going away anytime soon. Always be on the lookout and be prepared every time you head to the high country.