Avalanche Accidents in the Lookout Pass-Stevens Peak Backcountry

The Lookout Pass-Stevens Peak Backcountry is a wild place and winter travelers in the area must be aware of and prepared for hazards including traveling in avalanche terrain. The following is a brief summary of three notable incidents that have occurred in the area.

Most recently, on January 13, 2016, a critically injured skier was evactuated by helicopter after an avalanche accident. Three Spokane area backcountry skiers were descending a slope in upper St. Regis Basin, when one skier triggered and was involved in a slab avalanche. His injuries included a broken femur an massive blood loss with nearly fatal consequences. A more complete report on this incident was written by Rich Landers can be found HERE.

Three have died in two separate avalanche accidents in the complex terrain of the Willow Creek drainage in the Stevens Peak Backcountry.  On January 16, 2005, two died in the West Fork of the Willow Creek drainage on the slope shown on the right side of this photo, which was taken below Lone Lake. This accident occurred as the party of three descended the steep chutes from the ridge above, when they triggered a large slab avalanche that involved the entire group.

Ironically, the second fatal accident occurred in nearly the same location on April 29, 2006.  While descending the steep chutes from the ridge to the east, a skier triggered a soft snow slide.  The skier was tumbled down the chutes in the avalanche.  The traumatic collisions with rocks and trees were fatal.

Thanks to Kevin Davis of the IPNF Avalanche Center, Mitch Alexander, Shoshone County Sheriff, and Bruce VanBroeke for providing information regarding the 2005 and 2006 incidents.

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