Montana snowmobiler killed in Idaho mountain avalanche

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

HAMILTON (AP) — A Montana man was killed in a large avalanche while riding a snowmobile in the Sawtooth Mountains in central Idaho.

Andy Jessop, 30, of Corvallis died Friday while trying to climb a slope in the Smiley Creek area, Ravalli Republic reports.

A preliminary report from the Sawtooth Avalanche Center said Jessop’s activity triggered the avalanche.

Jessop deployed an airbag but was caught in a debris flow and carried 600 feet (183 meters) down the mountain. The avalanche traveled about 1,000 feet (305 meters) and debris was piled up to 30 feet (9.1 meters) deep.

Members of his party were not able to revive him.

Jessop was a member of the Ravalli County Police Reserves. His body was escorted by a procession of vehicles from the top of Lost Trail Pass to Hamilton late Friday.

The caravan organized by Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton included vehicles from the sheriff’s office, the Montana Highway Patrol, Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, volunteer fire departments and personal vehicles.

“It was supposed to be pretty small, but by the time it was done there was a line that was three-quarters of a mile long,” Holton said. “It was a pretty amazing tribute to a pretty amazing young man.”