Press Release


Avalanche claimes the life of two snowmobilers in Kittitas County.

Kittitas County, WA - 03/03/2018 - Of the four men swept in the avalanche, one made it out with minor injuries, one was air lifted with serious injuries and two died on the mountain.

Members of the Kittitas County Search & Rescue responded to the area North of Esmeralda Peak shortly before Noon today in response to an avalanche. Due to the remoteness of the area, 20 miles North East of Cle Elum and above 4,600 feet elevation, communication is very difficult. Witnesses described one serious injury and two missing. Aided by other snowmobilers' in the area, all of the victims were located.

With the assistance of Yakima County SAR, King County and Chelan County Aircrews, all of the victims have been recovered from the mountain. Sheriff Deputies in the field have reported the following;

Deceased:  27 year old Zach Roundtree of Bonney Lake, full burial
Deceased:  41 year old James Larson of Buckley, full burial
Injured:       26 year old Kyle Ottwell of Bonney Lake, full burial, air-lifted to Harborview
Injured:       27 year old Ryan Journey of Bonney Lake, partial burial, self extricated, minor injuries

Per Undersheriff Myers, "On behalf of the Sheriff's Office, there are just no words that will answer all the questions the friends and family have about why their loved ones were taken. Only patience, time and support will lessen that pain. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and we hope that some level of peace comes soon. The Avalanche danger in many areas is still high, please be aware of the risks, as this marks the 5 Avalanche death in the past 7 days."


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


Contact: Clay Myers, Undersheriff