A 44-year-old Seattle woman was killed Saturday when a falling block of ice caused an avalanche above her on the Dungeon Ice Climbing Route south of Ouray.
Ouray County Emergency manager Glenn Boyd said Van Le Little was in a party of four with two other student ice climbers and a guide.
Around 10:30 a.m., she was off to the side taking pictures of the others in the party when a chunk of ice caused a slide of snow and ice to come down on the climbers.
Little was covered with snow and ice and swept into a creek, Boyd said. The other members of the party were uninjured.
Boyd characterized it as a small slide, and he said he was unaware of any other avalanche ever occurring on Dungeon Ice Climbing Route. Boyd said he believed this is the first avalanche death in Ouray County this season.
The route is fairly popular with guides who take students there for classes, he said.
According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, Little was untethered at the time.
The Dungeon Ice Climbing Route is across the Uncompahgre River from mile maker 89 on U.S. Highway 550.