Nine climbers rescued from peak in Glacier National Park
Dragon's Tail as seen from Mount Reynolds in Logan Pass area of Glacier National Park. (Matt Baldwin/Daily Inter Lake FILE)
Daily Inter Lake | September 22, 2023 12:00 AM
A group of nine hikers were rescued this week after getting stuck on a mountain near Logan Pass in Glacier National Park.
Glacier Park’s Public Affairs Specialist Brandy Burke said on Sept. 17 at about 6 p.m., the hikers called 911 and reported being stuck on Dragon's Tail, an 8,580-foot ridge near Reynolds Mountain that overlooks Hidden Lake. The weather was cold and windy, and the hikers had inadequate equipment for the weather or traveling in darkness, Burke said.
The Two Bear Air rescue helicopter service was requested due to the late hour, weather, remote terrain, and the climbing party’s lack of appropriate clothing and equipment.
The hikers were located uninjured on the northeast side of Reynolds Mountain, above the south end of Hidden Lake, according to Two Bear Air, who landed near the party and conducted multiple trips to complete the extraction. The hikers were relocated to Logan Pass.
All nine hikers were local to the Flathead Valley, according to Burke.
Dragon's Tail is an off-trail route that is not maintained by National Park Service and not a main trail. The standard route is considered a class 3 climb with high angle cliffs and exposure.
Burke said multiple, recent search and rescues and several fatalities on and around Dragon’s Tail in recent years highlight the inherent dangers of traveling in Glacier’s backcountry.
Earlier this month, a 32-year-old man from Castle Pines, Colorado died while climbing Reynolds Mountain. His cause of death remains under investigation.
“It is critical, particularly in the shoulder seasons, for visitors to have the correct equipment, clothing, knowledge and planning to prevent tragedies. Visitors should remember that helicopter rescues are frequently unavailable due to weather and concurrent incidents. Two Bear Air receives multiple requests and responds to the most critical need,” Burke said in an email response.
The search and rescue workload has been steadily increasing in Glacier National Park, with 56 incidents in 2021 and 86 in 2022. Burke said officials have responded to 80 search and rescue incidents so far this year. Of the 80 search and rescues in 2023, Two Bear Air has been requested for 10 since May, with three of those being delayed due to weather.
Reporter Taylor Inman can be reached at 406-758-4433 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.