Cooke City avalanche claims snowbiker


Gallatin National Forest reports that a snowbiker died in an avalanche outside Cooke City, Montana late Saturday afternoon. The report says group of 3 snowmobilers and 2 snowbikers were in the Sheep Creek drainage north of Cooke City. Two snowbikers were high on the slope when one stopped on a small ridge while the other climbed higher and triggered a large avalanche.

The avalanche carried him down through a gully and over a waterfall where he was partially buried near the toe of the debris. His arm and airbag were visible and his head was one foot under the surface. Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful and the victim was evacuated by Park County Search and Rescue.


The avalanche was estimated to be 800 feet wide, averaged 2 feet deep and ran 1200 vertical feet. Investigators say the debris was up to 15 feet deep and the avalanche size is rated R3-D3. The victim has been identified as 34-year-old Nathaniel Wolfe of Bismark, North Dakota.

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