Two dead in climbing accident were distinguished mountaineers

Griffen Smith

Two well-known climbers died on a mountain in Glacier National Park after they attempted to summit a remote peak last week.

The bodies of Brian Kennedy, 67, of Columbia Falls and Jack Beard, 67, of Kalispell, were recovered on Monday below the east face of Dusty Star Mountain, a distinctive peak at the western end of St. Mary Lake. 

The pair planned to summit Dusty Star Mountain through Virginia Creek. Both were considered high-level mountaineers and had decades of experience climbing in the park, according to Glacier staff who knew them. They left on Thursday with intention to return Friday.

They were declared missing by family Sunday. Park rangers found the climbers’ car at the trail head and transitioned to searching for the climbers. 

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An air rescue started that evening with Two Bear Air searching the cliffs into the night. Minutemen Aviation took over Monday morning, and spotted the two quickly on the mountain. The Two Bear Air helicopter team recovered the bodies.

Greg Notess, the president of the Glacier Mountaineering Society, said Kennedy and Beard were exploring a new, technical route.

“It is a great loss

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