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NJ man killed in Washington avalanche identified as Bergen County resident, sheriff says

CHELAN COUNTY, WA – Authorities have identified a New Jersey man and two other climbers who were killed mountain climbing Sunday in Washington state.

Yun Park, 66, of Palisades Park, Jeannie Lee, 60, from Bayside, NY, and Seong Cho, 54, Korean National residing in West Hartford, CT died in an avalanche on Colchuck Peak, which sits at the South end of Colchuck Lake approximately 8 miles South of Leavenworth, WA, on Sunday after the slide swept the climbers about 500 feet down the mountainside, according to Chelan County Sheriff Mike Morrison.

On Feb. 20, deputies were contacted by a 53-year-old Maryland man about an avalanche that occurred near Colchuck Lake on Sunday. The man reported the group he was with had attempted to climb Colchuck Peak, Morrison said.

There were six climbers in that group and the reporting person had stayed at their base camp that day. The lead climber triggered an avalanche while attempting to climb the Northeast Couloir of Colchuck Peak/ Four of the climbers were swept down the couloir approximately 500 feet, Morrison said.

Park, Lee, and Cho all died as a result of trauma sustained in the fall, Morrison said.

The fourth climber, a 56-year-old male form New York suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was able to hike back to base camp with the remaining two climbers, a 50-year-old male from New York and a 36-year-old male from New Jersey. When they arrived at camp, they sent the Maryland man for help, Morrison said.

When Deputies took the report, A SAR coordinator started gathering resources. A total of 22 rescuers responded to the trailhead to assist with this effort. They were from Chelan County Mounty Rescue, Chelan County Volunteer Search and Rescue and ORV unit, Seattle Mountain Rescue, Tacoma Mountain Rescue, and Yakima Mountain Rescue. A group of four from Chelan County Mountain Rescue responded to the lake driven part of the way by the CCVSAR ORV unit. They reached the base camp at around 1:30 p.m., Morrison said.

They were able to determine avalanche conditions were too hazardous to continue to the deceased climbers., and then escorted the surviving climbers back to the trailhead, Morrison said.

“No rescuers were sent in to the avalanche scene near Colchuck Peak on Feb. 22. Two avalanche experts from Northwest Avalanche Center deployed to the Colchuck area to assess the current avalanche hazard. The bodies of the climbers killed in the avalanche remain at the scene,” Morrison said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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