Press Release


Avalanche claims the life of 32 year old Issaquah man

Kittitas County, WA - 02/25/2018 - Members from the Kittitas County Sheriff's Search & Rescue responded to the Stampede Pass area this afternoon when 5 snowmobilers were swept in an avalanche while eating lunch at the base of the slope.

The group, friends from Western Washington were sledding in the area of Mirror Lake, which is located South of I-90 and Lake Keecheluss.  They stopped for a break and to have some lunch when the slope above them broke free. When the slide stopped, 32 year old Joseph Simenstad, his wife, 30 year old Sabeo Simenstad of Issaqua and 24 year old Josh Winter of Snohomish were fully buried. 29 year old Tyler Johnson of Renton and another man whose name is not known at this time, were partially buried. Working with others in the area, all were dug out. Josh Winter was unconscious when recovered but was able to be revived. Mrs. Simenstad suffered minor injuries, but her husband, Joseph, had suffered extensive trauma and could not be revived.

Per Undersheriff Myers;

"On behalf of the Sheriff's Office, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Mr. Simenstad as they work through the loss of their loved one. 

"We would like to remind those of you who recreate in the back country to be cautious of the past and current conditions, as they can change rapidly and without warning. Avalanche conditions are often the result of previous weather, sometimes from weeks prior. We encourage you to research and educate yourselves from the many sources available. Just Google 'Avalanche Danger'."

The attached photo, Titled Mirror Lake, is from the scene.


Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at


Contact: Clayton Myers, Undersheriff