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Bodies of two overdue hikers found in GNP; Park announced another hiker fatality Tuesday

Whitefish Pilot | July 26, 2022 1:00 AM

The bodies of two men were found in Glacier National Park on Monday morning after the pair were reported overdue from a climb on Dusty Star Mountain on Sunday.

Tuesday the Park announced in a release that a separate incident also occurred Monday morning when a man fell trying to ascend Rising Wolf Mountain several hundred feet above the Two Medicine Campground.

It marked the third hiking fatality in less than a week within Glacier National Park.

On Monday Minuteman Aviation located the bodies of the missing climbers — a 67-year-old male from Columbia Falls and a 67-year-old male from Kalispell. The names of the climbers are being withheld pending notification of their families.

According to a press release from the park, the men were climbing Dusty Star Mountain and initiated the trip July 21 with the plan to hike out July 22. They were reported missing July 24. Park rangers located their vehicle at the trailhead on the same day.

An air search began July 24 in the Dusty Star Mountain area on the east side route of approach where vegetation is extremely dense. Officials said the area is marked by potentially dangerous terrain as well.

Two Bear Air flew July 24 in daylight and darkness. Minuteman Aviation took over Monday morning and located the bodies of the climbers. Efforts to recover the bodies of the climbers and their belongings are underway, according to the release.

In the second incident, a 79-year-old man from Florida fell to his death while attempting to ascend a steep off-trail slope with a group of friends on Rising Wolf Mountain, according to Park officials.

The friends descended to his location, shouted for help and called 911 where Glacier County Dispatch then diverted the call to Glacier National Park, the release states.

Park Service staff mobilized after campers heard shouts for help. Two Bear Air diverted from a separate incident and transported the unconscious patient to Two Medicine Ranger Station where ALERT was standing by for patient care. The man was declared deceased by ALERT personnel.

Park staff expressed their deepest condolences to the men’s families and asked that the public respect their privacy.

There have now been four climbing deaths in the Park this summer. A 19-year-old died attempting to climb Mt. Brown in June.

Falling has been determined to be the No. 1 cause of death in the park, slightly ahead of drowning.

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