Weekend avalanches at Rocky Mountain National Park caused by humans

Avalanche at Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday, May 11, 2019. (Photo: Colorado Avalanche Information Center)

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. — Multiple avalanches at Rocky Mountain National Park on Saturday were triggered by humans, officials said Tuesday.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said at least seven people were caught in avalanches, but no one suffered serious injuries.

Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said the avalanches occurred in steep terrain. Despite the danger rating being moderate, the conditions increased the activity.

That included snowfall the previous week, wind slab formation and warming temperatures, and Patterson said park visitors underestimated conditions.

“It is important for those who recreate in the backcountry to be knowledgeable concerning safe travel in avalanche terrain,” Patterson said.

“These users should also practice good situational awareness and decision-making and be aware there may be other users above or below them.”

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said people should avoid “overhanging cornices.”

“Small cornice fall is triggering large avalanches especially on east-facing slopes,” it said. “Also be wary of unsupportable snow where you are sinking past your ankles.”

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