| News |

Photos: Joe Philpott's avalanche death may have accidentally been caused by dog

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

The latest skiing deaths to take place in Colorado were not at a resort, but a backcountry area near Nokhu Crags, south of Cameron Pass.

The human victim was Joe Philpott, a 26-year-old CSU student and experienced skier who was enjoying the beauty of a Colorado day with a friend, 24-year-old Alex White, who survived the slide, but barely. Also lost in the avalanche was a dog that accompanied the pals and may have inadvertently triggered the disaster. Photos, videos and more details below.

According to Philpott's Facebook page, his hometown was Durango, in Southwest Colorado, and he spent much of last year traveling: The "About" section lists stops in Flagstaff, Arizona, Fairbanks, Alaska, and the Durango in Mexico. As for his photo gallery, it includes many shots of nature, including images of him trying to protect it via his work as a wildland firefighter. Here's one example....

He clearly loved the great outdoors, and was enjoying it in the company of White, also a CSU student, on Saturday when disaster struck. According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the pair were in an area known as Paradise Bowl and had both completed their run. The working theory: The dog followed them down the mountain, causing the avalanche that swept over all three of them.

White was rescued after nearly three hours in the snow -- a truly miraculous turn of events. He's expected to fully recover. But Philpott didn't survive, and attempts to find the dog were unsuccessful. Our sincere condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.

Technical aspects of the avalanche are detailed by the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which provides a video and a series of photos that catalog the destruction. Here's the first shot; like the images that follow, it features its CAIC caption.

Continue for more about the Cameron Pass avalanche, including photos and videos. Look below for the next seven photos in the CAIC series, followed by a center video showing the approximately 1,200 feet-wide, six-feet-thick crown of the avalanche and large debris pile (broken trees are visible on the slide path). Also on view is a 9News report about Philpott shared by the Coloradoan. Continue for more Colorado Avalanche Information Center photos of the slide, plus two videos.

More from our News archive: "Natalie Egleston skiing death: No charges in collision that took her life on Aspen Mountain."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.