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Wyoming avalanche victim grew up in Eugene, graduated UO

Wyoming avalanche victim grew up in Eugene, graduated UO
Nick Gillespie

BONDURANT, Wyo. (AP) — A backcountry skier killed Sunday in an avalance in Grand Teton National Park grew up in Eugene, graduating from Willamette High School and the University of Oregon.

Nick Gillespie, 30, of Jackson, Wyo., got caught in an avalanche around 5 p.m. Sunday on the southeast face of Survey Peak and died of injuries from the slide, park officials said Monday.

Gillespie graduated from Willamette High School in 2001 and the University of Oregon in 2007.

Gillespie had worked as a seasonal park employee for years. He had worked as a wildland firefighter and was active in the University of Oregon outdoors program while earning his bachelor's degree.

Gillespie, who had worked on Grand Teton National Park's trail crew the past six seasons, was with three other people who tried to resuscitate him, park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said. When they were unable to, they carried his body to a backcountry patrol cabin, where they spent the night.

They weren't able to make a telephone call to authorities until around 9 p.m. Sunday, so rangers weren't able to fly in to the remote area until Monday.

The Tetons got significant snowfall over the weekend following a prolonged dry, cold period. The snowpack is unstable because the new snow is resting on old snow that is either weak because it has crystalized and become grainy or slick because the snow melted and then turned icy, said Jim Springer of the Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center.

Eight people have died in avalanches in the West since the day before Christmas 2012, according to Avalanche.org.

KVAL News contributed to this report