WEST GLACIER – A 21-year-old California man died Thursday when he fell at least 60 feet from Grinnell Point in the northeastern part of Glacier National Park.

Rangers recovered the body of Matthew Needham, 21, of Simi Valley, Calif., on Thursday afternoon. Officials said he was climbing with two others when he fell to his death earlier in the day.

Park dispatchers received a report from a Glacier Park Boat Co. employee at about 11:15 a.m. that a climber had fallen from below Grinnell Point. A group of eight hikers later reported finding the man, but did not see signs of life.

The area is very steep, with cliffs and rocky terrain.

Park rangers arrived by helicopter and located the climber’s body several hours later. A 100-foot-long line helicopter operation was utilized to recover the body.

Needham’s death was confirmed by rangers at about 2:30 p.m.

All three members of the climbing party are employees of the park’s concessioner, Glacier Park Inc., and work at the Many Glacier Hotel. Grinnell Point is located near Lake Josephine in the Many Glacier Valley.

The Glacier County coroner confirmed death and the body will be transported to a local funeral home. The incident is under investigation by the National Park Service.

Needham’s is the fourth death this summer in Glacier Park caused by a fall.

Earlier this month, a 25-year-old Kalispell man died in a fall below The Loop area of Going-to-the-Sun Road.

His death came just 10 days after a 21-year-old Florida man died after falling 1,000 feet while climbing Apikuni Mountain. That man also was an employee of Many Glacier Hotel.

And in late June, a 64-year-old Washington man died when he fell 100 feet down a snowfield in the Rim Rock area about a mile west of Logan Pass.

Editor Sherry Devlin can be reached at 523-5250 or at sdevlin@missoulian.com.

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(6) comments


I will miss you greatly Matt. You will always be in my thoughts.


Activity means risks, means accidents, means some deaths. Get over it news media.


Regardless of the circumstances a young man lost his life in a tragic accident, my thoughts and prayers are with the family.


I'm getting pretty cynical about things like this. Of course as more people hike, swim, paddle, boat, snowmobile, ski, etc., more are simply going to die doing them. Chalk it up to stupidity, whatever. People do outdoor things for fun, but don't realize the dangers (loss of life) involved. Cynical: I don't see why these things are news. It's just a part of the "pleasures" of outdoor life in Western Montana.

boo boo da bear
boo boo da bear

They really need to do something 4 deaths this year already, maybe do background checks on parks visitors

sofaking tired of the GOP
sofaking tired of the GOP

Disgusting, all I can say is wow troll.

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