Avalanche kills former Durango man

An image from the report at the Colorado Avalanche Information Center website shows what is referred to as the crown face, or the upper edge of where the avalanche began.

By Jordyn Dahl
Durango Herald

A skier killed in an avalanche Saturday in Paradise Bowl near Cameron Pass in north-central Colorado has been identified as former Durango resident Joseph Philpott.

Philpott, 26, and his friend Alex White, 24, were caught in the avalanche about 1:15 p.m. White was buried about three hours before being rescued and flown to the Medical Center of the Rockies, according to George Crocket, Jackson County coroner.

Philpott, White and two other skiers arrived at the Cameron Pass trailhead Saturday afternoon. Alex and Philpott continued up to Paradise Bowl, while the other two skiers headed in a different direction.

Philpott and White skied along the left side of the bowl to the bottom of the path, about 400 to 500 feet below the bowl's ridgeline, while a dog with the men trailed after. The two looked up to see where the dog was and saw the avalanche release, said Scott Toepfer, mountain weather and avalanche forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

White was unburied and flown to the hospital about 6 p.m. He is in fair condition today, said Kelly Tracer, spokeswoman for Medical Center of the Rockies.

There is currently no sign of the dog, Toepfer said.

Philpott was a junior majoring in forestry at Colorado State University, according to the school's online records. He is the son of George and Margo Philpott.

Philpott is the second Durangoan to be killed an avalanche this year.

Peter Carver died in a slide near Silverton in early February about 1 miles north of Gladstone on Bureau of Land Management land outside the boundaries of Silverton Mountain Ski Area.

John Duncan Rothwell, 53, was injured in the accident, and Nate Klema, 23, escaped without serious injuries.

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