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Ice climber killed in avalanche in Ouray County

The avalanche was caused when a large chunk of ice broke off above the woman and her climbing group, according to authorities.
Credit: Google Maps

OURAY COUNTY, Colo. — A Seattle woman died Saturday after being swept away in an avalanche during an ice climbing trip in Ouray County.

Van Le Little, 44, of Seattle was with three other climbers on a guided climb on the Dungeon Ice Climbing Route across the Uncompahgre River from Highway 550 at around 10:30 a.m. when she went off to the side to take pictures of her fellow climbers, the Ouray County Emergency Manager said.

That's when a large chunk of ice broke off and hit the ledge above them, causing a slide of snow and ice to come down on them, according to the release. The avalanche took Little into the river below, and she died.

No one else was hurt. The official cause of Little's death will be determined in an autopsy.

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