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Updated: Fall From Grinnell Glacier Trail Kills Hiker In Glacier National Park


Editor's note: This updates with the identification of the hiker.

The dangers of snowfields, perhaps unexpected at mid-summer, played out in Glacier National Park when a hiker died from injuries sustained in a slide down a snow-covered slope off the Grinnell Glacier Trail.

Nicholas Ryan, 30, from Omaha, Nebraska, was hiking with two friends Monday morning when he slid 50-100 feet down a snowfield along the trail, park officials said Tuesday.
An interpretive ranger was leading a hike elsewhere on the trail Monday morning when a report was received just before noon that a male hiker had slid down a snowfield.

Park rangers and personnel from the Kalispell Regional Medical Center’s ALERT helicopter and Minuteman Aviation responded to the incident in the Many Glacier Valley. 

Medical personnel pronounced Mr. Ryan dead at approximately 1:53 p.m.  The Glacier County Coroner’s Office is establishing the cause of death.


My family has hiked the Grinnell Glacier Trail several times. The first
time we tried to hike the trail was when the gentleman (from Denver?)
was mauled by a grizzly bear several years ago, the trail was closed
down. Parts of that trail are definitely steep and I would imagine the
heavy snowfall that the park has seen, it's still significant in places.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this hiker, very sad...

What a Beautiful Place to be on Planet Earth; In Memory too of Joseph Grinnell 1877-1939:

How would you be killed sliding 50-100 feet down a glacier?? I don't get it?? Did he hit his head?

Unfortunately, no details were available, Dick. But I'm guessing a head injury.

Dick, a person can reach speeds of over 40 mph pretty quickly once you get going and this time of year there would be plenty of exposed boulders. There are no details, but the accident may have been on a snow field crossing a trail as opposed to the glacier itself.  If the former, then the angle of descent may have been very steep with both boulders and trees as obstructions.

[color=#40372c]Man who fell on Grinnell Glacier trail was avid hiker[/color]

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Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 10:42 am

We hiked this trail early July and pulled up at the rope due to the amount of snow on the trails. We also hiked the Lake Oesa trail at Lake Ohara in Yoho National Park where my son slipped and slid 40 - 50 feet down a slope before I caught up with him and got him by the leg and got us anchored as we slid into the trees right above a cliff. Condolences to the family and me and my son have learned that a good piece of rope can be invaluable in the high country, even during July.

We hiked this trail the day before this accident.
Does anyone know if this was before or after the sign/rope with the snow warining (I'm guessing about 2 miles up the trail) ? 

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