Teen Identified In Fatal Clear Creek Avalanche

Pair Was Snowshoeing Between 14,000-Foot Peaks

An 18-year-old man from Colorado Springs died Thursday when he was buried in an avalanche near Grays and Torreys peaks.

Patrick David Niedringhaus' body was found nearly three hours after the avalanche, the Clear Creek County sheriff's department said in a statement.

Niedringhaus and a 17-year-old friend were snowshoeing on Kelso Ridge, which runs above timberline between the 14,000-foot peaks, said Bill Barwick, spokesman for the Alpine Rescue Team.

They decided the area was unsafe and were leaving when they triggered the avalanche about 12:30 p.m., Barwick said.

"His friend was hit by the slide and then turned around and saw him disappear," said Barwick.

Niedringhaus was buried completely in six or seven feet of snow, while his friend was partially buried.

The younger man managed to climb out and contacted a cross-country skier, Joel Kelly, who then called 911 at about 1 p.m., the Clear Creek County Sheriff's office said.

Rescuers, along with a search dog, had to snowmobile to the avalanche area after high winds and blowing snow prevented a helicopter drop.

About 24 people searched for the other man for about an hour, before a rescue dog found him, Barwick said.

Barwick estimated the slide was about 100 yards wide and 100 yards long.

Neither teen had avalanche beacons, rescuers said.

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