Snowmobiler Killed In Cooke City Avalanche Identified - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Snowmobiler Killed In Cooke City Avalanche Identified

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BOZEMAN -

The 18-year-old man killed in an avalanche near Cooke City has been identified. 

Zachary Junkermeier from Lake Lillian Minnesota was buried and killed in an avalanche up a slope in the Daisy Pass/Crown Butte area.

Junkermeier is one the five people killed by an avalanche in Montana this season, four of those deaths have occurred in the last 18 days.

Junkermeier was buried in an avalanche near Cooke City on Tuesday afternoon.
He was with a group of six friends, sitting on a snowmobile, halfway up a slope in the Daisy Pass/Crown Butte area when he was buried.

"He was taken down toward the bottom and he ended up in the toe of the debris," said Doug Chabot, Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center Director. "He was buried under 6 feet of snow and about 20 feet from the edge of the debris."

Doug Chabot with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center said about 35 people were on scene, helping to locate Junkermeier.

He was found more than two hours later. He was not wearing any avalanche rescue gear.

"They got some probe poles and other riders came up to assist," said Chabot.

Chabot said this has been the worst avalanche season in five years.

"We added a lot of snow onto these weak layers and they are at their breaking point," said Chabot.

This year so far, Chabot said his center has responded to 70 avalanche incidents.

"An avalanche incident is when someone unintentionally triggers or gets caught in an avalanche," said Chabot.

He said last year there were only 27 avalanche incidents and no fatalities in the Gallatin National Forest.

"It's looking like we're going to have three times the amount of avalanche incidents this year than we did last year," said Chabot.

Chabot said even though temperatures are rising, he expects more incident calls.

"We know the snow pack is still very dangerous. I do except to see more close calls," said Chabot.

The 2009-2010 avalanche season was another high-danger year.

Chabot said they responded to 87 avalanche incidents, which resulted in three fatalities.

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