Avalanches took two more lives in the backcountry last week, including that of Petzl America Inc. employee who became the 14th avalanche victim of the year.
Garrett Smith, a senior customer sales and support rep with Petzl America Inc., died Sunday, March 27 from injuries sustained in an avalanche while skiing Utah’s backcountry the day before.
Smith, 26, was caught in an avalanche with two of six companions touring in the backcountry on Horseshoe Mountain, in the Manti-La Sal National Forest near Ephraim, Utah.
The group had determined conditions were not safe for skiing when the avalanche hit, according to local media reports. KSL.com quoted a brother of one of the skiers as saying Smith was buried for 10 to 20 minutes before being dug out by the other two victims. They were able to revive him with CPR before he slipped into unconsciousness while being transported to the hospital. He died in the hospital Sunday afternoon.
“Garrett's bright spirit, infectious smile, and passion for the outdoors made a powerful impression on everyone he encountered,” said Roody Rasmussen, President of Petzl America. “Garrett touched all of our lives and always taught us by example the importance of following our passions and living a purposeful life.”
Also killed was snowboarder Riley McCarthy, who triggered a 5,000 to 6,000 foot vertical slide after jumping off a rock in the sidecountry off the backside of Cowboy Mountain ski area in Washington, according to a report on the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The avalanche carried the 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Washington through trees before burying him in snow. He was extricated within 15 minutes by three others in his party but did not respond to CPR. Riley was the 15th person killed in the United States by an avalanche this season.