Wyoming skier killed in Grand Teton avalanche

A backcountry skier died in an avalanche Friday in Grand Teton National Park, the second avalanche death this season. (NPS photo)

A backcountry skier died in an avalanche Friday in Grand Teton National Park, the second avalanche death this season. (NPS photo)

From Staff Reports

A backcountry skier died Friday in Grand Teton National Park during an avalanche in the Teton Range. Jarad Spackman, 40, of Jackson, Wyo., was killed while ascending Apocalypse Couloir near the mouth of Death Canyon.

Spackman and a companion were ascending Apocalypse Couloir at about 10:30 a.m. on Friday, according to a statement released by the Grand Teton public affairs office.

The climbers were seeking to access a narrow and steep chute on the flank of Prospectors Mountain, with a plan to ski down the mountain. Approximately 200 feet below the fork of the couloir, Spackman and his partner were struck by an avalanche that originated further up the slope.

Spackman was caught in the slide and carried approximately 1,000 feet. Spackman’s climbing partner found him partially buried, and began attempts to resuscitate him before using a cell phone to call authorities.

Grand Teton National Park rangers organized a rescue mission and enlisted the assistance of the Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter and members of the county rescue team. Rescuers set up a landing zone and staging area near Sawmill Ponds on the Moose-Wilson Road.

Spackman’s body was flown from the mountains at 2:30 p.m. and turned over to the Teton County coroner’s office. Spackman’s partner and rescuers skied out of the backcountry together, arriving at park headquarters around 4:00 p.m.

The incident is the second avalanche fatality in Grand Teton National Park this year. An avalanche on Survey Peak in the northern Teton Range took the life of a skier on January 27.

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center reported the avalanche danger as moderate for the morning hours of March 1.

A general advisory also stated that “pockets of wind slab up to 20 inches in depth exist and could be triggered by the weight of a single person in steep avalanche starting zones and cliff areas with fresh deposits of wind drifted snow.”

The center does not provide reports for extreme terrain.

Contact Yellowstone Gate at 307-213-9818 or [email protected]

One thought on “Wyoming skier killed in Grand Teton avalanche

  1. Dear Ruffin,

    Did the NPS solicit the assistance of Teton County because of sequestration?

    With respect to the ginned-up dire consequences of sequestration, will there be mutual aid in Yellowstone?

    Steve Torrey
    Cody, Wyo.