West Hartford Man Among Victims of Fatal Avalanche in Washington

Colchuck Peak. Chelan County Sheriff's Office Facebook image

The Chelan County (Washington) Sheriff’s Office issued a media release Wednesday identifying Seong Cho of West Hartford as among the victims of an avalanche.

By Ronni Newton

Three climbers were killed in an avalanche Sunday on Colchuck Peak, near Leavenworth, Washington, and a 54-year-old man from West Hartford was listed among the victims identified by the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday.

A news release posted on the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page stated that Seong Cho, a 54-year-old Korean national who lives in West Hartford, was killed in the avalanche along with another man, 66-year-old Yun Park of Palisades Park, NJ, and 60-year-old Jeannie Lee of Bayside, NY.

Due to continued hazardous conditions in the area, as of Wednesday the bodies had not yet been removed from the scene. Officials said that avalanche experts from the Northwest Avalanche Center had been deployed to assess the conditions and determined that it remained too dangerous for rescue efforts to resume.

According to the media release from the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Mike Morrison said that his office was contacted Monday about an avalanche near Colchuck Lake that had occurred on Sunday. The incident was reported by a 53-year-old Maryland man who was part of the climbing group but had remained at base camp on Sunday while six others from the group were attempting the ascent of Colchuck Peak.

The news release states: “The lead climber triggered an avalanche while attempting to climb the Northeast Couloir of Colchuck Peak. Four of the climbers were swept down the couloir [a steep, narrow gully] approximately 500 feet. Three of the climbers died as a result of trauma sustained in the fall.” The other climber involved in the avalanche, a 56-year-old man from New York, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was able to return to base camp with two other climbers who were uninjured.

The Seattle Times report, which has detailed coverage of the incident, said that the seven people were part of a climbing group from New York.

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