Jakson Kreiser - Harrowing deaths in U.S. national parks

Jakson Kreiser, Disappeared July 28th, 2012, Body found, September 13th, 2012, Glacier National Park, Montana

Jakson Cole Kreiser, Glacier National Park

The following case in the Glacier National Park is a story which is not so much strange or mysterious but shows the dangers posed if you go solo hiking in the wilderness. Even experienced, well prepared outdoors people can succumb to drowning, bears, mountains lion or fatal falls. Be careful out there!

Warning signs Glacier National Park

Jakson Cole Kreiser, 19, of Hudsonville, left Logan Pass for a day hike in the Glacier National Park on July 28th, 2012. Glacier National Park is a national park located in the U.S. state of Montana, on the Canada–United States border with the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1 million acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges (sub-ranges of the Rocky Mountains) and over 130 named lakes.

Jakson was working as a seasonal employee at Lake McDonald Lodge and it was his first year working in the national Park.

Logan Pass, Glacier national park

He planned to hike a trail known as the Floral Park Traverse, a route that begins at Logan Pass and ends at the Sperry Chalet trailhead, near Lake McDonald Lodge. But that the last day he was seen alive.

Floral park traverse, Glacier national park

The day after he disappeared a large ground and aerial search was launched in the area between Hidden Lake and Avalanche Lake which lasted eight days but found few clues other than boot prints. Park employees were assisted by North Valley Search and Rescue, Flathead Search and Rescue, Can Am Search and Rescue, the Flathead and Lake county sheriff’s offices and the U.S. Border Patrol in an extensive ground and aerial search for eight days after Kreiser’s disappearance. An average of 50 people were reportedly involved each day.

The search area was focused on the rugged and in the Floral Park area. This area includes treacherous country filled with rock cliffs, waterfalls, wet and slippery rocks and boulders, and dense vegetation.

His body was eventually found by hikers southwest of Hidden Lake on September 13th, 2012 and was submerged in about 4 inches of water in a small waterfall drainage running between two cliff bands southwest of Hidden Lake. Park rangers and Flathead County Deputy Coroner Dick Sine traveled to the site off-trail in a subalpine talus slope between two cliff bands. The slope has several small waterfall drainages, and he was in one of the waterfall drainages, about halfway down the slope. The water would have obscured Kreiser’s body from search parties.

Jakson Kreiser missing person poster

Prior to the autopsy, officials believed the likely cause of Jakson's death likely was trauma caused by a fall into water. Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said the water would have been several feet deep and running fast in July, and at a temperature of just above freezing. Curry believed that Kreiser slipped while trying to cross the drainage, which was likely 20 feet wide at the time.

But the cause of death was found to be exposure caused by hypothermia or submerged cold-water drowning. 

Drowning is the No. 1 cause of death in Glacier National Park, and hikers are encouraged to travel in groups.

Kreiser’s family wrote in his obituary that “Jakson found heaven with an endless view of snow-capped mountains, tumbling waterfalls and cool glacial lakes.”. A very sad story of a solo hike gone wrong in the US wilderness.

Sources

Thank you to http://traveladventurenotes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/glacier-national-park.html for some of the images from the park.

http://www.dailyinterlake.com/archive/article-3946f23a-feda-11e1-b537-0019bb2963f4.html

http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/drowning-or-hypothermia-likely-killed-glacier-hiker/article_a00a8b82-6ce7-11e2-8b61-0019bb2963f4.html

http://missoulian.com/news/local/missing-glacier-hiker-s-body-recovered-southwest-of-hidden-lake/article_5abe10e0-fe14-11e1-821d-0019bb2963f4.html

https://books.google.ch/books?id=ePKeCwAAQBAJ&pg=PA26&lpg=PA26&dq=jakson+kreiser+death&source=bl&ots=wxF_YH2sil&sig=tJeMINyMkfO1IJamSY2Df1qrnYE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjJ8eHc_MDYAhVKaVAKHeolDsMQ6AEIWDAI#v=onepage&q=jakson%20kreiser%20death&f=false