CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2022/12/26 - Colorado - Nitro Chute, north of Berthoud Pass

Published 2022/12/26 by Spencer Logan - Forecaster, CAIC

Avalanche Details

  • Location: Nitro Chute, north of Berthoud Pass
  • State: Colorado
  • Date: 2022/12/26
  • Time: 12:00 AM (Estimated)
  • Summary Description: 4 backcountry tourers caught, 2 fully buried, and 1 killed
  • Primary Activity: Backcountry Tourer
  • Primary Travel Mode: Snowboard


  • Caught: 2
  • Fully Buried: 2
  • Injured: 0
  • Killed: 1


  • Type: SS
  • Trigger: AR - Snowboarder
  • Trigger (subcode): u - An unintentional release
  • Size - Relative to Path: R2
  • Size - Destructive Force: D2
  • Sliding Surface: --


  • Slope Aspect: E
  • Site Elevation: 11500 ft
  • Slope Angle: --
  • Slope Characteristic: Unsupported Slope,Sparse Trees,Gully/Couloir

Accident Summary

PRELIMINARY: On December 26, 2022, at around 1:00 PM, four backcountry tourers were caught in a large avalanche near the summit of Berthoud Pass in an area locally known as Nitro Chute. Nitro Chute is an east-facing avalanche path around 11,500 feet. Two of the riders were able to stay on the surface; unfortunately, the other two riders were completely buried. The party was able to locate both buried riders using their avalanche transceivers. One of the riders was breathing when he was uncovered. The other was not. The party, along with a group of bystanders, performed CPR, but unfortunately, their efforts were unsuccessful. Deputies from the Grand County Sheriff's department, along with Grand County SAR, were able to recover the victim before sundown.  

Our deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of the people involved in this tragic accident. CAIC staff will visit the accident site on Tuesday, December 27, and we'll publish a final report in the next week.