Glacier National Park Visitor Falls While Climbing 8,500-Foot Mt. Brown

by Amy Myers

Yesterday, Glacier National Park emergency staff received notice that a man was missing on Mt. Brown. At roughly 3 p.m., the man’s hiking and climbing buddy alerted officials that he had lost contact with his friend and had become separated. The missing man was 19-year-old Winslow Nichols of Columbia Falls, Montana.

Following the call, emergency teams launched a search near Mt. Brown, during which they found a vehicle at Lake McDonald Lodge. This car matched the description that Nichols’ climbing partner had provided earlier.

“Glacier National Park ground crews searched the nearby area, and Two Bear Air performed an air search,” the park explained in an official report. “Around 7 pm the same day, Two Bear Air found Nichols deceased on Mt. Brown and recovered his body.”

Located near Whitefish, Montana, Two Bear Air provides aviation support for Search and Rescue operations within the Northwestern region of the U.S. The organization supplied similar services for a rescue effort late last year in which a hiker sustained injuries while returning from Mt. Gould in Glacier National Park. Thankfully, teams were able to successfully bring the hiker back home. Unfortunately, crews found that Nichols had passed following the fall from Mt. Brown.

Most of the details of the current rescue mission are still unknown. However, according to Glacier National Park, rangers suspect that Nichols fell while climbing. So far, authorities do not suspect foul play. The park’s rangers are investigating the details of the man’s death.

“Park staff would like to express their deepest condolences to the family and ask that the public respect the family’s privacy,” Glacier National Park concluded.

Spring Conditions at Glacier National Park May Have Contributed to Climber’s Death

Mt. Brown is roughly 8,500 feet tall and is a part of the Lewis Range in Glacier National Park. One of the most dangerous times to visit the park is during the spring when the snow begins to melt. Paired with a few loose rocks, the melting ice and snow become a huge hazard for unsuspecting hikers and climbers.

In fact, behind hypothermia, falling and wintry conditions are the two most common causes of death at the national park. In order to help curb tragic accidents, Glacier includes a list of safety tips for visitors on its site.

“Many accidents occur when people fall after stepping off trails or roadsides or venturing onto very steep slopes. Stay on designated trails and don’t go beyond protective fencing or guardrails. Supervise children closely in such areas. At upper elevations, trails should be followed carefully, noting directions given by trail signs and markers. Avoid hiking in locations with a high level of danger involved if you were to fall,” the park informed.