Grand County coroner’s office releases name of Berthoud Pass avalanche victim |

Grand County coroner’s office releases name of Berthoud Pass avalanche victim

A map showing the approximate location of the avalanche. The avalanche site is marked by the red box.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center/Courtesy image

The Grand County coroner’s office identified the snowboarder killed Monday in an avalanche on Berthoud Pass as 44-year-old Brian Bunnell from Lakewood, Colorado. Bunnell’s cause of death is still under investigation.

Four backcountry tourers were caught in the avalanche around 1 p.m. on Dec. 26, and two were buried, according to a report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The two unburied tourers were able to locate both of the buried ones using avalanche transceivers. When they pulled the buried riders out, one was breathing and one was not. 

The party performed CPR on Bunnell, who was not breathing, but they were unsuccessful in their attempts to resuscitate him. The report stated Grand County Sheriff’s Office and county search and rescue workers were able to recover Bunnell’s body before sundown.

The slide occurred near the summit of Berthoud Pass in the Nitro Chute, an east-facing avalanche path around 11,500 feet of elevation. The avalanche information center’s avalanche forecast currently rates avalanche danger in the area as “Considerable,” a level 3 out of 5, for Dec. 30-31. According to the center, the last avalanche death in the Berthoud Pass area before Bunnell’s was on Dec. 26, 2020, which was the first in nine years.

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