Experienced mountaineer dies skiing at Mt. Bachelor; fell into tree well


A 28-year-old Seattle man and experienced mountaineer has died after falling into a tree well on Mt. Bachelor, according to the resort’s spokeswoman.

Leigh Capozzi said Ski Patrol received the 911 call around 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

She said the man, identified as Birkan Uzun of Seattle, was taken by patrollers to Mt. Bachelor’s First Aid Clinic and was then taken to St. Charles by ambulance.

On Saturday afternoon, Capozzi issued a statement saying Mt. Bachelor had learned Uzun had passed away. 

Courtesy Madrona Venture Group

“Our entire team is heartbroken by our guest’s tragic passing and offer our deepest condolences and support to his family and friends,” she said.

Uzun’s employer, Madrona Venture Group, posted about their colleague’s death on Saturday.

“He was incredibly curious, kind-hearted, and caring and shared that with everyone around him,” they said. “His intelligence, work ethic and good nature all positively impacted our firm, our investment decisions, and the portfolio companies with whom we work.”

Madrona’s statement also said he summited Mt. Vinson in Antarctica a few weeks ago – part of a quest he had to climb the seven highest peaks across seven continents. 

“He dove fully into his many passions – including software programming and innovation, Turkish Cypriot culture, and mountaineering,” Madrona wrote.

It’s unclear where the accident happened or whether Uzun was skiing with anyone at the time.

The ski area frequently issues reminders to visitors about the dangers of tree wells, especially after recent snowfall.

In March 2019, 53-year-old Kenneth Brundidge, an experienced skier from Oregon City, died on Mt. Bachelor after falling into a tree well.

In 2018, 24-year-old Alfonso Braun of Bend and 19-year-old Nicole Panet-Raymond of Eugene suffocated in tree wells in separate incidents on different parts of the mountain.

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