Friends tried to save Frisco man killed in avy
January 15, 2013
It started as a shallow slide.
Only approximately 8-10 inches deep, according to experts who are assembling a report on the avalanche near Marble that killed Frisco resident James Lindenblatt Sunday afternoon.
But further down the slope, the avalanche stepped down into a deeper weak layer of that gave way. Lindenblatt, 37, was knocked off his feet and moments later buried 3 feet deep in snow.
Two friends who had skied the pitch above Raspberry Creek ahead of Lindenblatt watched him get swept up by the slide. They immediately followed, armed with beacons and shovels.
With the help of the tools, they located and were able to pull Lindenblatt from the snow within minutes, but it was too late.
“It was almost an immediate response,” said the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s Brian McCall, who is investigating the incident. “He did not have a pulse and he was not breathing when they did uncover him.”
The two friends began CPR, while a third person skiing with the group skinned back up the slope to go for help.
The two men who tried to save Lindenblatt speculated he died in the turbulence of the slide, according to a statement from the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office. Avalanche victims who are fully buried in the snow can survive for over an hour before the air supply runs out.
The avalanche was reported to the sheriff’s office at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday, but due to the weather and waning daylight, rescue teams were unable to get to the site until Monday morning.
Lindenblatt’s friends waited with him for help to come until it began to get dark and the cold forced them to ski out, McCall reported.
Lindenblatt’s death was the first avalanche death in Colorado in 2013 and the state’s second avalanche death of the season.
McCall, an avalanche forecaster, put together a timeline of the incident from survivor interviews and photographs of the site where the slide took place.
Lindenblatt was a Frisco resident and asset manager for Summit County government with the road and bridge department. He helped keep track of all the county’s physical assets, including the recpaths, supervisors said.
“He was an incredibly talented guy,” assistant county manager Thad Noll said.
Friends said it was Lindenblatt’s love of the outdoors that brought him to Colorado from Texas more than a decade ago.
During the summer months, he was a competitive mountain biker who had reportedly completed the Colorado Trail Race, a 470-mile self-supported run through the Rocky Mountains gaining 65,000 feet in elevation. In the winter, he was an avid backcountry skier.
Friends who had skied with him said he knew how to handle the risks associated with skiing out of bounds. Safety equipment including, a beacon and shovel, were found with his body, McCall said.
“He totally knew what to do,” Lindenblatt’s friend Jeff Rank said. “It could happen to any of us if you’re out in the backcountry.”
Friends remembered Lindenblatt as a good friend with a big heart.
“He would do anything for anyone,” Rank said. “He was always there for you.”
The Aspen Time’s Scott Condon contributed to the reporting of this article.