Snowmobiler dies in avalanche near Choteau; snow biker injured in Swan slide

Print Article

A snowmobiler who died in an avalanche Jan. 5 near Choteau was not wearing an avalanche transceiver, according to information in a preliminary report from the Flathead Avalanche Center.

The fatal avalanche occurred in Waldron Creek west of Choteau on the Flathead National Forest. Teton County Sheriff Keith Van Setten identified the victim as 35-year-old Eric S. Greyn, of Choteau.

Greyn was a member of a four-person party of relatives who were snowmobiling 2 miles south of Teton Pass Ski Area.

According to the avalanche center’s report, the snow slide was unintentionally triggered by a snowmobiler in the group, and was large enough to “destroy a car or wood frame house,” the report said.

“Two riders were caught, one was injured and one buried 2 feet deep. Unfortunately, the buried rider was not wearing a beacon and did not survive.”

Searchers found the victim’s body by using poles to probe the snow.

The snowpack failed 1 to 5 feet deep on a weak layer near the ground.

Also on Saturday, a man riding a motorized snow bike was seriously injured after being swept by an avalanche off a cliff at the top of Spring Slide Mountain in the southern Swan Range.

According a preliminary report from the Flathead Avalanche Center, the group of motorized snow bikers was stopped on top of the peak to take pictures and check maps. A large cornice broke beneath one of the riders.

“The cornice subsequently triggered several thick slab avalanches in very steep, rocky and cliffy terrain,” the report stated. “These appear to be persistent slabs.”

The rider fell 200 feet over cliff bands and was carried another 100 feet down the slope and buried. His partners were able to dig him out, but he suffered numerous serious injuries from the fall.

Two Bear Air evacuated the victim and he was recovering from surgery on Sunday.

Avalanche danger was rated as considerable above 5,000 feet across the forecast area on Monday. Careful snowpack evaluation, cautious route-finding and conservative decision-making essential, the avalanche center warned.

Monday’s avalanche reported stated that persistent slab avalanches remain a problem.

“They are a low probability high consequence problem as was unfortunately illustrated with the recent avalanche fatality outside of Choteau.”

Print Article

Read More Local News

Huge summer powwow planned at fairgrounds

March 24, 2019 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Bruce Grant of Havre said when he was 15 years old, he was given a vision during a tribal Sun Dance of exactly what Herd Bull, or how he is known to the powwow circle, would look, what he would stand...

Comments

Read More

Kalispell ROTC cadet alleged to have white supremacist ties

March 24, 2019 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake A young man from Kalispell has quit his ROTC program at Montana State University in Bozeman amid an investigation by the United States military into allegations of his potential connections to a whit...

Comments

Read More

Apply now for Kalispell’s sidewalk cost-sharing program

March 24, 2019 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The city of Kalispell’s successful 50/50 Sidewalk Replacement Program is taking applicants now that the snow is melting and the spring construction season is just weeks away. Kalispell homeowners,...

Comments

Read More

Project adds affordable housing in C-Falls

March 24, 2019 at 6:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Columbia Falls City Manager Susan Nicosia is happy the city has an experienced partner helping to boost rental opportunities. The Highline Apartments complex now under construction is a project of ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

News: (406) 837-5131
Advertising: 406-758-4410
Bigfork Eagle
c/o Daily Inter Lake
PO Box 7610
Kalispell, MT 59904

©2019 Bigfork Eagle Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X