Man escapes Alpental avalanche, digs himself out

SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. - Rescue teams rushed to the snowy peaks of Snoqualmie Pass Saturday afternoon in search of a man believed to be trapped in an avalanche.

The King County Sheriff's Office received a call from a man at Alpental around 11:30 a.m. who said there had been an avalanche, and that a person was caught in the slide.

The agency launched a full search and rescue mission on Chair Peak where the avalanche occurred.

A helicopter dropped members of Back County Avalanche Canine to search the area with dogs, while an additional beacon and probe search determined no one was below the snow pack.

"We found out, after we had people in the field - yeah - the guy had been swept down, he was not badly injured, he managed to dig himself out and walked back down. He hiked out and had gone home before we even got here," said Deputy Peter Linde with the King County Sheriff's Office.

Conditions were considered moderate, but Saturday's avalanche proves Mother Nature can always make an unexpected move.

"You can get in trouble, like I said, things are fairly stable, but that can change and new snow can definitely slide," said Benj Wadsworgh, Executive Director at the Northwest Avalanche Center.

If you plan to hit the mountains, officials say be sure to bring a beacon, and check current conditions for avalanche risks.