‘It’s kind of a shock’
On Sunday, John Jensen’s passion for the mountains cost him his life in the backcountry near Aspen Highlands.Growing up in northern California, Jensen was an Eagle Scout who learned to ski at June Mountain, near Mammoth, according to an article published Tuesday in The New Mexican in Santa Fe, N.M.As an adult, he immersed himself in science and nature. He earned a bachelor’s degree in laser optics and manufacturing from the Oregon Institute of Technology and a master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas. His last job was with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a sprawling research base in northern New Mexico. He was working on a hand-held device that will be used in the collection and tracking of forensic evidence, according to a laboratory bulletin posted on the Internet.Jensen died in an avalanche Sunday near the Five Fingers area near Aspen Highlands.A member of Atalaya Search & Rescue in Santa Fe, Jensen “was not reckless,” his mother, Sue, told The New Mexican. Ann Pagliarulo, vice president of Atalaya Search & Rescue, told the paper Jensen “was very dedicated” and attended more trainings “than most others.””It’s kind of a shock,” Pagliarulo told The New Mexican. “Here he was studying something to benefit other people in search and rescue.”As a child, Jensen progressed from skiing to telemarking. His mother said he enjoyed snow camping, kayaking, rock climbing and hiking.Marie Caldwell worked with Jensen at Los Alamos.”I knew him as a member of the Los Alamos Mountaineers,” she said, referring to a local climbing group. She called Jensen “a great guy. Easy, warm, personable. Nice to talk to.”His family is planning a memorial in Los Alamos.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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