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Follow up to Avalanche Fatality in Glacier National Park

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Date: April 20, 2010
Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406 888-5838
Contact: Wade Muehlhof, 406 888-7895

WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Officials at Glacier National Park today announced that investigations are now complete following the death of Brian Curtis Wright, 37, of East Glacier and Whitefish, Montana, whose body was recovered Thursday, April 1 , 2010, on the northeast face of Peak 6996 (elev. 6,996 ft.) near Mount Shields (elev. 7,131 ft.) in the Marias Pass area of Glacier National Park.

Wright, a lone snowboarder riding on Peak 6996 (locally known as Palindrome Peak, Little Shields, or False Shields), was caught in an avalanche and sustained fatal injuries by an avalanche that occurred on March 31, 2010.

Following the incident, the National Park Service (NPS) assembled a team of avalanche experts and investigators to analyze the conditions that contributed to the death of Mr. Wright.

Supplemental findings from field investigations conducted by the NPS and regional avalanche experts are available at the Glacier Country Avalanche Center web site: http://www.glacieravalanche.org/incidentsdetail.cfm?RECNUM=59.

Exact details of the actual avalanche event are not known because the victim was alone. According to friends, Wright was very familiar with the area and snowboarded there quite often.

All backcountry travelers are urged to be familiar with current avalanche conditions and heed avalanche warnings when venturing into avalanche prone backcountry areas as well as to have appropriate avalanche equipment (avalanche transceivers/beacons, probes and sturdy shovels).

Backcountry enthusiasts are also urged not to travel alone, to have and know how to operate avalanche transceivers/beacons and to let someone know their itinerary and expected return date and approximate time.

Avalanches are a real danger in the mountainous areas throughout Glacier National Park and surrounding areas.  All backcountry travelers are urged to check www.glacieravalanche.org for the latest avalanche hazard and weather advisory before entering the park’s backcountry.

-NPS -

Did You Know?

Lake McDonald

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.