Jackson man dies in avalanche

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - A backcountry skier from Jackson, Wyo., died in an avalanche in the Teton Range at Grand Teton National Park.

Jarad Spackman, 40, and a friend were ascending Apocalypse Couloir near the mouth of Death Canyon about 10:30 a.m. Friday to access an adjacent narrow and steep chute on the flank of Prospectors Mountain, which they intended to ski, park officials said in a news release.

About 200 feet below the fork of the gully, Spackman and his companion were impacted by an avalanche that originated further up the slope. Spackman was caught in the slide and it carried him about 1,000 feet. Spackman's partner immediately began to search for Spackman and found him lying face down and partially buried.

The skiing partner began CPR to revive his friend and about 15 minutes later used a cell phone to make an emergency call and alert Grand Teton National Park rangers of the situation.

Rangers immediately organized a rescue mission and enlisted the assistance of the Teton County Search and Rescue contract helicopter and members of the county rescue team.

Four rangers were flown to the backcountry location, where they landed at 1:15 p.m. near the base of Apocalypse Couloir.

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 the rescuers then skied out of the backcountry together.

This marks the second avalanche death in Grand Teton National Park this year. An avalanche on Survey Peak in the northern Teton Range took the life of a skier Jan. 27.

The Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center reported the avalanche danger as moderate for the morning hours of Friday. A general advisory also stated, "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."

Park officials stressed that the avalanche forecast center does not provide reports for extreme terrain.

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