Grand Teton avalanche sweeps snowboarder 600ft into Death Canyon

Winter at Grand Teton National Park
(Image credit: Getty)

A snowboarder managed to escape without serious injury after being caught in an avalanche at Grand Teton National Park. The man, who lives locally, was swept around 600ft off the west side of Albright Peak, into Death Canyon, and hit several objects before eventually coming to rest against a tree.

One of the man's companions called 911, and Park Rangers set out on a rescue mission together with crew from Teton County Search and Rescue. 

After finding him, medics decided that he would be able to walk the short distance to  the rescue helicopter. He and his companions were flown to a nearby road, but he declined further medical help at the scene and was taken to a local hospital by his friends.

According to the National Park Service (opens in new tab) (NPS), there was a moderate avalanche risk warning in force at the time of the accident.

"Anyone planning to recreate in the backcountry should visit the Bridger-Teton National Forest Avalanche Center at jhavalanche.org (opens in new tab) to obtain an avalanche forecast," said the NPS in a statement, "Anyone recreating in avalanche terrain should utilize safe travel practices whether on skis, a snowboard, or a snowmobile."

Avalanche safety

An avalanche happens when a mass of rocks, ice, and snow suddenly slide down a mountain. They can vary in side from patches of snow a few feet across, through to slabs hundreds of feet thick. The avalanche at Grand Teton ran a total of 2,400 feet from beginning to end, was about 300 feet wide and ranged from one to five feet deep.

Avalanches can be triggered by storms, seismic activity, or the sheer steepness of the mountain, but the single biggest cause is human activity.

They can happen with little or no warning, so the best way to keep yourself safe is to pay close attention to avalanche forecasts and avoid high risk areas. It's also sensible to take an avalanche safety course, which will teach you how to recognize unstable snow, ways to navigate out of an avalanche if you get caught, and how to use devices like an emergency beacon and shovel.

For more advice, see our guide avalanche safety: an introduction to the risks and warning signs of snow slides.

Cat Ellis
Editor

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).