Springs Teacher Buried In Summit County Avalanche

Jeff Uppendahl Dies On Quandary Peak

A backcountry skier who died after being buried in an afternoon avalanche has now been identified.

Quandary Peak rises to 14,265 feet in Summit County.

Jeff Uppendahl, of Colorado Springs, 26, was buried in an avalanche Thursday on 14,265-foot Quandary Peak near Breckenridge.

The slide was 400 feet wide, 2,000 feet long and roughly 10 feet deep.

The avalanche happened at about 12:30 p.m. It took rescue crews four hours to find Uppendahl's body. Rescuers said he wasn't wearing a locator beacon. Search-and-rescue teams began the search from mid-mountain to the bottom of the avalanche chute in debris 9 to 10 feet deep.

A search dog from Summit County Search and Rescue alerted searchers to the location of the body at 4:15 p.m., under 4 feet of snow.


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Another man was able to ski out of the slide and report that his friend was trapped. It's still not clear what caused the avalanche.

Teams from Copper and Breckenridge Ski Resort, Alpine Search and Rescue, Park County Search and Rescue, and the Red, White and Blue fire department all assisted in the search.

Uppendahl was an aide working with special education students at Liberty High School, Academy School District 20 spokeswoman Nanette Anderson said.

Quandary Peak, just off Highway 9, is popular with backcountry skiers and snowboarders during the winter months, and with hikers during the summer. It is one of the state's 53 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as a "fourteener."

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