Body of man recovered from Colchuck Peak avalanche

Feb 24, 2023, 5:37 PM | Updated: 6:20 pm
Snohomish HRT Huey Helicopter prior to takeoff. (Photo courtesy of Chelan County Sheriff's Office)
(Photo courtesy of Chelan County Sheriff's Office)

A body from the avalanche incident on Colchuck Peak Feb. 19 was recovered, according to Chelan County Sheriff’s Office.

The body was identified as Seong Cho, a Korean national residing in West Hartford, Connecticut. Cho was one of three climbers killed in the avalanche.

The body was found and recovered from the base of Colchuck Peak.

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The accident occurred just southwest of Leavenworth and involved a group of six backpackers. Three members of the group — who were all from out of state — were buried and died in the incident. One sustained injuries. One of the three survivors was able to hike to Leavenworth to get help, but the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office told KIRO Newsradio’s Heather Bosch conditions were too dangerous to pursue recovery efforts.

“Today was the first day weather conditions allowed air resources to fly into the area,” according to Sergeant Jason Reinfeld with the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office. “Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Helicopter Rescue Team (HRT) was able to locate Mr. Cho’s body under a thin layer of snow at the GPS coordinates provided by a surviving member of the climbing party.”

The body has since been turned over to the Chelan County Coroner’s Office.

Snohomish County HRT made additional search attempts for the remaining two climbers, according to Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, but have been unsuccessful so far. Jeannie Lee, a 60-year-old female from Bayside, New York, and Yun Park, a 66-year-old male from Palisades Park, New Jersey were identified as the other avalanche victims.

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The lead climber triggered an avalanche while attempting to climb the Northeast Couloir of Colchuck Peak, according to the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office’s report. Four of the climbers were swept down the couloir by approximately 500 feet. Three of the climbers died as a result of trauma sustained in the fall.

The fourth climber, a 56-year-old male from New York, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was able to hike back to base camp with the remaining two. They were a 50-year-old male from New York and a 36-year-old male from New Jersey. When they arrived at camp, they sent the reporting party for help.

The Sheriff’s Office will not deploy ground teams to the area until conditions are safe.

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Body of man recovered from Colchuck Peak avalanche