19-Year-Old Climber Died 'Living the Life He Loved' in Fall at Glacier National Park

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Going to the Sun Road Going to the Sun Road
Going to the Sun Road Going to the Sun Road

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A 19-year-old has died at Glacier National Park in Montana while attempting to climb Mount Brown, according to park officials.

Winslow Nichols, of Columbia Falls, was found dead Tuesday following a brief search, Glacier National Park said in a statement on Wednesday.

Two Bear Air rescuers recovered his body around 7 p.m., about four hours after he was first reported missing by his climbing partner.

The Glacier Nordic Club wrote in a post on Facebook that Nichols recently graduated from West Point Preparatory School and was preparing for his freshman year at West Point.

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"He was energetic and motivated for life's adventures, and will be incredibly missed by many," the group wrote in Thursday's post, which featured photos of Nichols over the years. "We express our deepest condolences, and support for the family."

Glacier National Park dispatch was informed of the teen's disappearance around 3 p.m. on Tuesday "from a concerned friend who lost contact with his climbing partner,'' with whom he planned to "hike and climb" Mount Brown, a 8,500-foot mountain, per the national park's news release.

But the two eventually "became separated," Glacier National Park said, leading to a ground and air search of the area late Tuesday afternoon.

Rangers believe Nichols fell while climbing, the national park said. No foul play is suspected in connection with his death, though the "exact circumstances" are unknown.

"Park staff would like to express their deepest condolences to the family and ask that the public respect the family's privacy," the national park said.

Glacier National Park law enforcement officials are investigating Nichols' death.

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The Glacier Nordic Club said its community "is deeply saddened" by the death of Nichols, who they said "was always smiling no matter the circumstances and his positive outlook on life had a major impact on those around him."

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Nichols began skiing with the club at age 4, the group said, and served as team captain during his junior and senior years of high school. He also "showed leadership in soccer and academia," per the Facebook post.

"The Columbia Falls community has lost a bright star. Winslow Curt Nichols, age 19, died on June 7th, living the life he loved while climbing," read an obituary shared by his high school soccer team.

"We hope you're knocking the ball around on a pitch in paradise," the team wrote in a social media tribute.

A memorial for Nichols is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Monday at the Columbia Falls High School soccer field, according to the Glacier Nordic Club.