A teenager died in a suspected fall while climbing Mount Brown in Glacier National Park on Tuesday.
The death is the first visitor fatality in the park this year, according to National Park Service officials.
Winslow Nichols, 19, of Columbia Falls, set out to hike and climb the 8,500-foot peak on Tuesday with a friend, the park stated, but the pair became separated. The friend reported Nichols missing around 3 p.m., prompting a ground search by park rangers and an aerial search by Whitefish-based Two Bear Air helicopter. Ground crews located Nichols’ vehicle at Lake McDonald Lodge, and Two Bear Air found and recovered Nichols’ body around 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The park stated on Wednesday that the death remained under investigation, and although “the exact circumstances leading to Nichols’ death are unknown … rangers suspect he fell while climbing.” Upper elevations of Mount Brown are a mixture of snow and rock. A weather station at 6,300 feet elevation on nearby Flattop Mountain measured 82 inches of snow on Tuesday. Brandy Burke, a spokesperson for the park, said in a phone call Wednesday afternoon that she was not sure where on the mountain, or at what elevation, Nichols’ body was found.