Backcountry Visitors Stranded Overnight on Mt. Brown
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park Officials are pleased to announce that three men stranded in the park on Mt. Brown overnight Sunday, December 26, 2010, successfully made it off the mountain Monday morning and are all in excellent condition.
On Sunday 18-year-old Dan House, 18-year-old James McCarthy, and 20-year-old Justin Newton, all from Kalispell, Montana, attempted to reach the Fire lookout on Mt Brown located northeast of the head of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. The group started out on snowshoes at about 11 a.m. planning to ski down before dusk. They ran out of light before they could exit the mountain. Around 6:30 p.m., one of the men was able to use a cell phone to notify a family member that they were stranded. The family member then notified Flathead County Dispatch about an hour later. The group was not able to provide an accurate location.
Glacier National Park rangers and members of the volunteer Flathead County Search and Rescue team started searching for the group around 9 p.m. Visibility was very limited due to wind and snow. Searchers covered high-probability areas, scanned for signs of fire, and used whistles to try to locate the group. Ranger and search and rescue volunteers spent the entire night unsuccessfully looking for the three men.
In the early morning hours, a ranger sent a text message to one of the group's cell phones requesting them to call 911. Monday morning around 8 a.m. they called 911, and Flathead County Dispatch was able to get a latitude and longitude pinpointing where the group was located. The group reported that they had been able to make a fire, shelter in place, and all three were doing well. With an exact location, a group from the Flathead Nordic Ski Patrol and a park service employee headed up to meet the group. At 10:30 a.m., the ski patrol made contact, and all three men were in excellent condition. Everyone was off the mountain around 11 a.m.
Incident Commander park ranger Gary Moses says the park is very appreciative of the mutual aid it received from the Flathead County Search and Rescue team and the Flathead Nordic Ski Patrol. Moses also reminds visitors that mountain weather conditions can change quickly, and recommends that winter recreationists prepare for all types of weather conditions, terrain hazards like avalanches, and for the possibility of unplanned extended stays.
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Did You Know?
Lake McDonald is the largest lake in the park with a length of 10 miles and a depth of 472 feet. The glacier that carved the Lake McDonald valley is estimated to have been around 2,200 feet thick.