Two caught in Quandary avalanche |

Two caught in Quandary avalanche

SUMMIT COUNTY – Two hikers were caught in an avalanche Saturday evening on the south face of Quandary Mountain, about 1.5 miles above the base of the trailhead.

According to Sgt. Raymond Padilla with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Mason Kass, 18, and an unidentified male hiker, 28, were descending the mountain when they were caught in the avalanche.

Kass told authorities it was twilight when the slide hit, knocking him unconscious. It was dark when he awoke.

Kass was able to walk about a mile and a half to a home on Blue Lakes Road, where residents called 911 around 5:30 p.m.

Padilla said emergency personnel with Summit County Rescue Group, assisted by paramedics from Summit County Ambulance, responded and were able to stabilize the unidentified hiker at the scene. He was transported to an ambulance waiting on Blue Lakes Road, then airlifted by a Flight for Life helicopter to St. Anthony’s Central in Denver.

Officials at St. Anthony’s also were unable to identify the hiker but said he was unconscious and listed in critical condition Saturday night, suffering from hypothermia.

Padilla estimated the unidentified hiker spent at least an hour in the cold before rescue personnel could be contacted and make it to the scene.

“It was cold,” Padilla said. “It was in the teens – that’s my best guess.”

Kass was taken to Summit Medical Center. At press time, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office had no information on his condition.

Authorities were not able to determine the cause of the avalanche Saturday night. It’s not clear whether or not the hikers played a role in triggering the slide. They estimate the slide to have been about 40 yards long.

Padilla said authorities believe both men are students at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, but he could not confirm that.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Red, White and Blue Fire also responded to the scene.

Abigail Eagye can be reached at

(970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or by e-mail at

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