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.