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Family and friends remember Utah father killed in avalanche

Posted at 9:40 PM, Jan 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-02 11:53:08-05

SPANISH FORK, Utah - Loved ones recalled moments before a Utah father died after being buried by an avalanche.

“We just started CPR. That's the only thing we knew how to do. We did it for about 2 hours,” said Marcus Case, who was there when the avalanche broke.

Despite the efforts of his brother and friends, 35-year-old Brennan Walpole died in an Idaho hospital after he was buried in an avalanche while snowmobiling in southwestern Wyoming.

Walpole, of Spanish Fork, was with a group of 15 people near Afton, Wyoming when the mountain slid Friday.

“I looked up and saw the mountain coming down,” Case said.

Walpole was trapped under deep, heavy snow.

“We pulled out our beacons and we started going through,” Case said. “Saw the ski of the snowmobile, his brother saw the ski, and he was about 30 feet up from there.”

The group frantically dug Brennan out.

“His brother gave him breaths for two hours and stayed calm and did compressions and held his head,” Case said.

While Walpole was being flown to a hospital in Idaho, Ryan Pickering got a call that his childhood friend and business partner was hurt but didn't realize how serious it was until he got to the hospital.

“Until I walked into the room and saw him on his bed and even then I was like get up and ya know you can do this,” Pickering said.

Reality set in while Ryan watched his best friend’s children.

“His little girls are sitting on his lap and saying daddy you gotta get up so we can go home and you’re thinking he's never going to get up,” Pickering said.

Brennan passed away Saturday, leaving behind his daughter’s, ages eight and five, and his six-month-old son.

“He went on and on how excited he was to show his boy how to ride a motorcycle, how to snowmobile, and that's when your heart gets ripped out of your chest a little bit thinking he won't have this opportunity with his boy,” Pickering said.

A life of love was cut short with his wife, Brennan’s high school sweetheart, who waited for him on his mission.

“She’s having a tough time as you can probably imagine, but I told her last night out of anyone who can handle this it’s you,” Pickering said.

His loved ones said they will always remember the light and love Brennan brought into their lives.

“Very rarely does a person of this caliber come around,” Pickering said.

Ryan set up a GoFundMe to help Brennan's wife pay for the funeral.

Walpole's friends said he had safety equipment, including an avalanche airbag, with him, but the airbag didn't deploy. They believe this was a tragic accident.