Lost River Range, Idaho- Just one day after an avalanche claimed the lives of two experienced backcountry skiers in Utah, another pair of slides took the life of a beloved physician.

Last Friday, two avalanches on Donaldson Peak claimed the life of Dr. Terrence “Terry” O’Connor. That day, Terry and another experienced backcountry skier traveled to Donaldson Peak. While downclimbing to their planned skiing route, Terry triggered and got caught in a small wind slab slide. The first slide created a larger avalanche, burying him under five feet of snow. After witnessing and not being captured by the slides, the second skier called for help with a satellite communication device and went down the avalanche path. She then put in a herculean effort to save Terry, shoveling him out of five feet of heavy snow and beginning CPR. Search and rescue teams then promptly evacuated Terry. Unfortunately, he did not survive. The preliminary avalanche report can be read here.

The forty-eight-year-old was a physician in Ketchum, Idaho, working at the St. Luke’s Wood River Emergency Department. In addition, he was the director of the Blaine County Ambulance District for numerous years. His calm demeanor led to him winning awards from the Idaho Hospital Association and the South Central Public Health District.

O’Connor was an avid outdoorsman. Before becoming a physician, he worked as a ski patroller, bike tour guide, and climbing ranger for the National Park Service. He visited Mount Everest thrice, summiting the peak on his third try in 2006. Terry even did a TEDx talk.

Following his death, the Idaho EMS Physician Commission issued the following statement to the Idaho Mountain Express:

“Terry was an outstanding physician and played a pivotal role in the early days of the COVID pandemic, really demonstrating the public health role of the EMS medical director within a community. His loss will be missed not only in the valley itself but throughout the entire state and region. We express our condolences to his family and the Wood River Fire and EMS community.”

We here at Unofficial Networks send our condolences to his family and friends during this challenging time.

Image/Video Credits: Sawtooth Avalanche Center, St. Luke’s, TedX

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