A New Jersey man was among three people who died Sunday in an avalanche while climbing Colchuck Peak in Washington.

Chelan County Sheriff Mike Morrison said deputies were notified Monday by a Maryland man who was part of the hiking party with six people from New Jersey, Maryland, New York and Connecticut. He remained at the camp while the others went on their hike.

The man said the lead hiker triggered an avalanche while attempting to climb the Northeast Couloir of Colchuck Peak which swept four members of the hiking party 500 feet down a narrow gully.

Three of the hikers died from trauma suffered in the fall. The victims were a 66-year-old New Jersey man, a 60-year-old woman from New York and a 53-year-old Connecticut man.

The rest of the party, a 36-year-old New Jersey man and two New York men age 50 and 56, hiked back to the base camp and sent the 53-year-old Maryland man for help.

Morrison did not disclose the identities of any of the hikers.

Although 22 rescue workers were sent back to the camp, the avalanche conditions were too hazardous to reach the victims.  Morrison said the sheriff's office will work with the Northwest Avalanche Center to assist in a future recovery plan.

Colchuck Peak in Washington State
Colchuck Peak in Washington State (Chelan County Sheriff's Office)

Not prepared for an avalanche

Chelan County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jason Reinfeld told the Seattle Times the hikers were members of a New York-based climbing club and had no avalanche training. Experienced hikers carry a beacon, shovel and probe to help them self-rescue and be located.

Reinfeld told the Times there were there more avalanches after the initial one that may have buried the bodies

Rescue worker Doug McCall told KING TV that the Northwest Avalanche Center issued an alert for a moderate risk of avalanches on Sunday.

Colchuck Peak sits at the south end of Colchuck Lake approximately 8 miles south of Leavenworth, Washington.

Map showing distance between Seattle and Colchuck Peak
Map showing distance between Seattle and Colchuck Peak (Google Maps)

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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