Kirkland man dies in avalanche in Kittitas County

A Kirkland man who was caught in a large avalanche died Saturday in Kittitas County.

Mike Albertson, 45, was snowmobiling with another man in the Hawkins Mountain area, approximately 27 miles northwest of Cle Elum, around noon on Saturday when they were engulfed in the snow and debris, said Kittitas County Undersheriff Sheriff Clayton Myers.

“The second man was located quickly, as his head and arm were visible,” Myers said in a release. “He was dug out by others in the area.”

However, it took about a 30 minutes to locate Albertson, who was impacted by a tree and completely buried.

“Two attempts to respond by helicopter were hampered by weather and the decision was made to use Search and Rescue ground teams (Saturday) morning,” Myers said.

“Life saving” measures were unsuccessful and Albertson was declared dead on site.

Albertson is survived by his wife and daughter.

A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help his wife and daughter financially.

“Mike passed doing what he loved with friends,” the post on the Go Fund Me site states. “…During these difficult times of making final arrangements and transition, let’s show Mike and his family how much we loved him and support them by making sure that they don’t need to worry about finances during these tough times. Mike was always the first one to help anywhere and anytime and it’s only right to return the favor now. Please pass the word and share on your social accounts. I will ensure Christi is given all donations raised.”

With a goal of $20,000, the Go Fund Me has taken in more than $6,000 as of Monday morning, with most giving $20-100.