The Sawtooth Avalanche Center has released its full report of a fatal avalanche that occurred on Jan. 15 in the Baker Creek drainage, north of Ketchum.
According to the report, two experienced male snowmobilers rode up Baker Creek Road to the Apollo Creek drainage, crossing into Brodie Gulch, climbed to a high saddle near the head of the gulch and then descended into the Baker Lake area.
“They did not observe any avalanches or obvious signs of instability and were avoiding large avalanche paths they knew had claimed lives in past years,” the report states.
At about 2 p.m. on Jan. 15, one or both of the riders triggered an avalanche from well below the crown. One rider was caught briefly and managed to escape the slide. The second rider, later identified by the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office as Jerome resident Kirk Douglas Rongen, 50, was caught in the slide. He was located and dug out by his partner about 40 minutes after the slide but was not breathing.
The full report is available on the avalanche center’s website.