|To visit Glacier National Park is to enter a place where Heaven touches Earth affording brief glimpses into the Wonders of Creation.|
The “Ceded Strip”.
The park was established in 1910.
|Summit Name and Location in Colored Zone||Elevation in Feet|
|Northern Region = Maroon|
|Central Region = Orange|
|Southern Region = Red|
|Great Northern Mountain||8,705|
|Red Sky Mountain||8,173|
|Red Plume Mountain||7,947|
|Great Bear Mountain||7,668|
|Big Lodge Mountain||7,657|
|Dry Park Peak||7,196|
In Montana there are planes and there are mountains. Most of the time mixing the two together results in terrible tragedies. The Essex Mishap is a story of tragedy and amazing survival.
On September 20, 2004 the United States Forest Service chartered Cessna 206 to fly from Glacier Park International Airport, Kalispell, MT, to the Schafer Meadows Airstrip.
Aboard the plane were the pilot and four Forest Service employees. After a protracted delay due to weather the flight through the Flathead Valley to West Glacier, Montana was uneventful. Upon reaching the Middle Fork of the Flathead River the flight plan called for following U.S. Highway 2 to near Essex and then continue up the Middle Fork to the Schaffer Airstrip. This was done due to poor weather conditions with low clouds and intermixed sunshine and clouds.
For some reason the plane flew up the Tunnel Creek drainage which was about 5 miles north-northwest of the next point to begin the leg to Schaffer Meadows. According to investigators the plane flew up the drainage and impacted Liebig Mountain at the 6600-foot level above timberline at the base of a near vertical cliff that extended on up for another 1500 feet. The plane caught fire upon impact.
Upon determination that the plane was overdue a search was launched at 3:30 p.m. and was suspended at 5:25 p.m. due to poor weather. The search commenced again on Tuesday and after the wreckage was located an investigation team was dispatched.
Upon arrival the sheriff said they found no signs such as footprints or written notes that would lead them to believe anyone had walked out. The report was that there were no survivors and the families were notified. They determined that due to the impact there was no way anyone could survive. The sheriff reported that the plane went from “traveling at 100 mph to zero in about 30 to 40 feet.” Searchers tried to recover what was left of the remains, and one body was airlifted from the scene before sunset Tuesday.
Here is the amazing part of this story.
Three passengers survived the crash. They stayed at the crash site until morning until Ken Good died due to his injuries. The two remaining survivors decided to descend to a lower elevation due to the extreme cold (20 degrees Fahrenheit at night) and precipitation with the threat of hypothermia looming.
They were found on September 22, 2004 after surviving a plane crash that investigators found the melted wreckage and pronounced the crash unsurvivable. Both survivors were hospitalized and then released. According to the sheriff, they hiked three miles down a steep incline and through “very, very dense” brush. “Three miles doesn’t sound like much,” he said, “but considering their injuries and the terrain they had to go through, it’s amazing.”
Here are the names, ages and hometowns of the victims and the survivors of this terrible tragedy.
Pilot Jim Long, 60, reportedly tried to push others out of the burning plane before he succumbed to the fire.
Passenger Davita Bryant, 32, of Whitefish, MT also died from the flames.
Ken Good, 58, of Whitefish, MT was pushed out of the plane, but succumbed hours later to burns, shock and a compound fracture to his leg.
Jodee Hogg, 23, of Billings, MT and Matthew Ramige, 30, of Jackson, Wyo., walked out of the woods.
After standing on Mount Aeneas in the Jewel Basin in 1919, the Reverend Eugene Cosgrove would give a moving sermon on “The Secret of Wilderness” in Helena, Montana.
He stated:“Hidden away by the Gods, like a necklace of pearls, among the crags and fastness of the [Swan] Mountains, lies the Jewel Basin, the enchanted land of this our Montana. Friends, I have seen the sun set on the minarets of Spain, and make splendid the dome of St. Sophia in Constantinople. I have watched the play of color upon the desert of Egypt, with the Sphinx and pyramids. I have made a trail through the hinterland of the Canadian Rockies, to where the aurora Borealis from the polar skies make the northern night glorious… but for kaleidoscopic lights and shadows, for octaves of tone and color, for unending variety of the moods and forms of Nature, Jewel Basin is the most charmed and charming spot in all the world.”
|Summit Name||Elevation in Feet||Latitude||Longitude|
|Big Hawk Mountain||7,542||48.09212||-113.85422|
|Mount Aeneas On SP||7,508||48.14834||-113.91962|
|Three Eagles Mountain||7,462||48.11215||-113.87069|
|Cliff Lake Peak (Point 7300)||7,300||48.15599||-113.8994|
|Pilgrim Lakes Mountain (Point 7272)||7,272||48.1037||-113.86316|
|Southern Boundary Peak (Point 7268)||7,268||48.08777||-113.86942|
|Seven Acres Peak (Point 7210)||7,210||48.14913||-113.88735|
|Black Lake Peak (Point 7175)||7,175||48.1591||-113.90881|
|Twin Lakes Peak (Point 7164)||7,164||48.17433||-113.93875|
|Noisy Creek Peak (Point 7110)||7110||48.18551||-113.94758|
|Birch Peak (Point 6948) On SP||6,948||48.1331||-113.92193|
|Wildcat Mountain (Point 6888)||6,888||48.19431||-113.9629|
|Squaw Ridge (Point 6850) On SP||6,850||48.12441||-113.91594|
|Clayton Mountain (Point 6805)On SP||6,805||48.20126||-113.90093|
|Crater Mountain On SP||6,787||48.11592||-113.9135|
|Wheeler Peak (Point 6677)||6,677||48.07938||-113.88426|