A snowboarder buried in a backcountry avalanche near Jackson Hole is still missing after almost 30 volunteers from Teton County Search and Rescue searched a debris field on Taylor Mountain’s south face for five hours Wednesday afternoon. The search will resume today.
The Jackson Hole New & Guide reports the slide was triggered just before 3 p.m. The crown was two to three feet at its deepest point with an average depth of six to eight inches. The buried snowboarder’s female ski partner conducted an unsuccessful beacon search and then went to the Coal Creek parking area west of Teton Pass and borrowed a cell phone to call for help.
“His ski partner did a brief beacon search but couldn’t find him. We sent rescuers up and down Taylor and couldn’t get a beacon signal.” -TCSAR Chief Advisor Cody Lockhart
A helicopter search wasn’t an option because of low visibility. Rescue efforts were called off at dark Wednesday night and will resume Thursday morning. Helicopter searches will be conducted today if possible.
Members of the public are asked to avoid the Coal Creek parking area as it will be closed for search efforts. Skiers are asked to avoid Teton Pass altogether on Thursday.
Teton County Search and Rescue Facebook Post:
“A large avalanche on Taylor Mountain just west of Teton Pass prompted a search and rescue effort on Wednesday, April 1. Teams from Teton County Search and Rescue and Wyoming Department of Transportation searched the avalanche path and debris pile on the south face of the 10,352-foot mountain.
By nightfall, the search was called off as the teams could not locate a snowboarder last seen descending the mountain by his partner after the avalanche was triggered. The teams used avalanche beacons, a probe line of seven people, and a drone. Inclement weather prevented the use of a helicopter.
Given the ongoing status of the search, TCSAR is asking everyone to stay off of Taylor Mountain on Thursday, April 2. Coal Creek parking lot will be closed. Even though other areas of Teton Pass will be open, backcountry users are being asked to avoid Teton Pass altogether, as the search will entail a massive effort.