Local Doctor Killed in Avalanche in Idaho’s Lost River Range

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Terence “Terry” O’Connor and his partner Emily Williams. | Picture: Terry O’Connor Facebook

An avalanche caught and buried a backcountry skier at Donaldson Peak in Idaho’s Lost River Range on Friday, May 10. The skier was buried under more than five feet of snow, and unfortunately, all resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful, and he died at the scene. The deceased skier has been identified by Idaho Mountain Express as Dr. Terence O’Connor, a local physician aged 48. O’Connor was a very experienced mountaineer, former ski patroller, ultra-marathon runner, and emergency doctor. According to Ski Magazine, he was at Donaldson Peak with his girlfriend.

On Friday, May 10, around 11:55 a.m., two experienced backcountry skiers were traveling on Donaldson Peak in Idaho’s Lost River Range. According to the Sawtooth Avalanche Center, the pair was climbing down to their ski descent when one of the skiers triggered a small wind slab avalanche. He was carried downhill, and the slide triggered a second, larger avalanche, which buried him under at least five feet of snow.

The avalanche site on Donaldson Peak, ID. | Picture: CAIC Website

The skier’s backcountry partner set off a call for help via satellite communication. She could also locate her partner with her rescue transceiver and probe pole. She shoveled the other skier out of the snow and initiated CPR. However, when search and rescue teams reached the site of the avalanche, they could only confirm the backcountry skier’s death.

Donaldson Peak is one of Idaho’s nine “12ers” with an altitude of 12,023 feet, making it the eighth-highest peak in Idaho and the seventh-highest peak in the Lone River Range.

This avalanche death marks the third avalanche death in the 23/24 season in the State of Idaho and the 16th death in the United States after two backcountry skiers died at Lone Peak, Utah, the previous day, Thursday, May 9. 

The location of the avalanche in the Lost River Range, ID. | Picture: CAIC Website

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3 thoughts on “Local Doctor Killed in Avalanche in Idaho’s Lost River Range

  1. My heart is saddened for this doctor, his family, and his patients. I know people are going to do what they love to do but sometimes I wish people would leave mother nature and her majestic places alone.

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