Body recovered after Marble-area avalanche

A response crew has recovered the body of a 37-year-old Summit County man killed in an avalanche in the Marble area Sunday.

The body of James Lindenblatt was transported from the scene by helicopter shortly after 2:30 p.m. today to an airport in Marble, from where it was to be driven to the Gunnison County Coroner’s Office, said county Sheriff Rick Besecker said.

Survivors had reported the fatality to authorities.

“There were three people who were on this expedition in the back country and two of them were able to survive the avalanche and ski out to make the report,” he said.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the incident occurred on a west-facing slope at about 11,000 feet in elevation in the Raspberry Creek area south of Marble, in the Raggeds Wilderness Area.

Besecker said the two surviving men said the victim was buried in the slide around 2 p.m. and they were able to dig him out, but he was no longer alive.

He said he had no preliminary indication as to the cause of death or what caused the avalanche. However, he said it reportedly occurred in the middle of a slope, leaving concern about overhanging snow that could pose a danger to response crews.

A team headed to the scene this morning from Crested Butte. Besecker said they later reported that the immediate footing beneath where the body was located was unstable, as was the entire basin crew members traveled to reach it. That prompted the decision to use the helicopter and minimize further risk to crew members in the basin.

“I think that we could have met with further tragic experience if we had not,” he said.

The avalanche information center rates general avalanche conditions as moderate in the Aspen and Gunnison areas, with heightened danger in specific terrain.

This is the state’s second avalanche fatality this winter. On Dec. 30, Patricia Hileman, 49, of Snowmass Village was killed when a small slide swept her over a cliff at the Snowmass ski area, where she was a ski patroller.



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