News Bulletin: Second avalanche victim identified
January 28, 2013
1:40 p.m. Nick Gillespie, a seasonal trail crew worker in Grand Teton National Park, died in an avalanche on Survey Peak yesterday, park officials said.
Gillespie had been on a ski trip with three others since Thursday.
The avalanche occurred Sunday evening, after Gillespie and a partner skied up Survey Peak around 5 p.m, officials said. Two others did not make the hike.
Gillespie descended first and apparently provoked an avalanche.
His partner followed, skiing over the remnants of the avalanche down to the remaining two party members.
The group was able to find and remove Gillespie’s body.
To get into cellphone range, a member of the party skied up Forellen Peak and placed a call for help around 9 p.m.
Four park rangers were helicoptered to the scene today, but were not able to return with the body because of fog.
In addition to Gillespie, one other person in the group was a park employee.
Survey Peak is 9,278 feet tall and sees only a handful of skiers each year.
“It’s a real wilderness setting with poor to non-existent radio and cell coverage,” said Mike Nicklas, deputy chief of interpretation at the park.
Gillespie is one of two skiers killed in avalanches in western Wyoming yesterday.
News Bulletin: Dead skier identified
Elizabeth “Liza” Benson, 28, died in an avalanche in Sublette County on Sunday, the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office said.
Benson is one of two skiers killed in avalanches in western Wyoming yesterday.
An avalanche also killed a skier in the north end of Grand Teton National Park, park officials said. Efforts are underway to recover that victim's body.
Benson was with a group of five when she was carried by the slide, Sublette County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Smith said. A call about the avalanche came in at 3:25 p.m. Sunday, he said.
A physician was in the group and pronounced Benson dead, Smith said. Search and rescue teams are trying to retrieve the body.
The deaths caused the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center to issue a special avalanche report this morning.
If weather permits, Teton County Search and Rescue will send a team in a helicopter this afternoon to help recover Benson, Jackson Police Lt. Bob Gilliam said.
News Bulletin: Skier killed in avalanche
By Angus M. Thuermer Jr.
The Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center this morning reported an avalanche killed a skier south of Jackson near Cliff Creek on Sunday.
The center reported the fatality in its 7 a.m. forecast, saying it had only preliminary and unverified information.
The skier reached the Clause Creek area by skis and snowmobile from the Cliff Creek trailhead in Hoback Canyon. The victim is believed to have triggered a soft slab avalanche with a crown about eight inches deep, according to the report.
The slide ran from about 9,200 feet and carried the skier into a tree, the report said. Search and rescue personnel were trying to reach the area today, according to the report.
Danger at the time and elevation was forecasted to be moderate, with four inches of new snow having fallen in the 24 hours leading up to Sunday morning, the day of the slide, and another five to eight expected that day and night.
The storm “will create the potential for backcountry users to trigger soft slabs or sloughs to a foot in depth by the afternoon,” the center predicted Sunday morning. “Slides will be easily triggered as the new snow rests on weak and/or slick surfaces of wind pack, sun crusts or faceted snow.”
The incident came after the first significant snowfall in weeks and during a period of increasing danger. The center said the danger today would increase to considerable. A snow plot at Grand Targhee Resort on the west slope of the Tetons accumulated 17 inches Sunday and Monday morning.