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Friday, September 29, 2023
Sept. 29, 2023

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2nd body recovered from Colchuck Peak avalanche


LEAVENWORTH — The body of a Colchuck Peak climber who died in a February avalanche that killed three was recovered Monday by authorities.

Jeannie Lee, 60, of Bayside, New York was found by a volunteer with Chelan County Mountain Rescue during a personal trip in The Enchantments, the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday in a news release.

Lee was one of three people who died Feb. 19 in the avalanche.

Six climbers took part in an attempt to scale the 8,705-foot Colchuck Peak by way of the northeast couloir when the lead climber triggered a slab avalanche that carried four climbers about 1,000 feet down the mountain.

The mountain rescue volunteer was en route Monday to ski Colchuck Glacier, located east of the couloir’s base, when he spotted something in the avalanche area, said Sgt. Jason Reinfeld. He investigated and found Lee’s body about 10:45 a.m.

The volunteer hiked to the top of Colchuck Glacier for cell phone service and notified authorities about 12:30 p.m. Reinfeld said.

Two more mountain rescue volunteers were flown to the area to help with the recovery. Lee’s body was taken to the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery and turned over to the Chelan County Coroner about 4:30 p.m., the news release said.

One climber killed in the avalanche has not been recovered: Yun Park, 66, of Palisades Park, New Jersey.

Although the snow has melted “significantly” with recent warm weather conditions, the area of the avalanche remains too unsafe to conduct a thorough search for Park, the sheriff’s office said.

The body of Seong Cho, 54, of West Hartford, Connecticut was recovered Feb. 24. He died of severe injuries shortly after the avalanche.

A March 23 report by the Northwest Avalanche Center was critical of the climbing trip and suggested the group was unprepared, with only one considered an advanced climber and only one who wore a helmet. None had avalanche training.

The avalanche center noted that rescue gear likely would not have saved the climbers’ lives.

The group also did not carry radios. Without adequate communication gear, survivors were unsure of what happened to their teammates, which slowed the speed of the rescue.

“As a result, they climbed higher on the route before descending to the surviving members of their party,” the report said.

The sheriff’s office was not notified of the avalanche until the following morning.