UDOT worker shares story of being trapped between two avalanches in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Local News

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah (ABC4 News) – A nearly 30-foot high wall of snow and debris now sits on the side of State Road 210 at a turnout between mile marker seven and eight in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

It’s the remnants of two avalanches that trapped Utah Department of Transportation worker Jake Brown and a coworker Wednesday morning just before 6 a.m.

“We were sitting here, I had a snowcat fired up ready to go ready to proceed up Canyon to remove slides as the avalanche crew pushed them down,” said Brown.

Brown, who works as a Roadway Operations Manager for Cottonwood Canyons, says he and his coworker were sitting in his work pickup truck when he noticed the snow was sliding down from higher elevation.

“I noticed the snow increased in intensity,” said Brown. “As I looked out my driver-side mirror, I just saw a wall of snow coming at us. All of a sudden, my truck just moved about four feet.”

Brown and a coworker had to climb through the truck’s passenger side window to safety. “As we tried to do that, we had this avalanche path split so another avalanche came a little further down the road,” he said. “So, we were trapped in between two avalanches.”

Crews were unable to get to them. So, the pair walked through the avalanche to a safe zone located lower in the canyon to meet an avalanche forecaster.

“I think I covered 200 yards for a big guy like me really fast especially in deep snow,” said Brown.

Brown says Little Cottonwood Canyon is one of the world’s most dangerous canyons for avalanches. He says while the experience was scary, he’s doing well despite what he’s been through.

Neither he nor his coworker were injured. Brown says they went to work shortly after the incident.

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