Posted: Jan 31, 2013 7:00 PM by Dax VanFossen - MTN News
FLATHEAD COUNTY - The Flathead County Sheriff's office has released the official cause of death for a man who died hiking Glacier National Park last year.
Jakson Kreiser, 19, of Michigan, went missing in Glacier Park in late July for days before his remains were found.
The Flathead County Coroners Office lists hypothermia and drowning as contributing to his death.
According to Flathead County Sheriff and Coroner Chuck Curry, Kreiser may have had other experiences, but it was a combination of drowning and hypothermia that claimed his life.
Park spokeswoman Denise Germann says her office was made aware of the findings as well.
"What we believe happened was he probably fell, he fell into the water, with lots of snow runoff, and that's what happened," Germann said.
Park rangers and other searchers combed the areas between Avalanche Lake and Hidden Lake including Floral Park, but found only limited signs until they finally located Kreiser almost two months later.
"He was found below southwest of Hidden Lake, and it's a small drainage, it's a waterfall drainage, on a talus slope, in between cliff bands, and so I think at the time, it was very much lots of water and snow."
Hikers found his body submerged in about four inches of water. The water was three feet deep at the time he fell in, with whitewater from snow runoff, according to the sheriff's department. Kreiser likely slipped while trying to cross the drainage and went in the water, which was just above freezing, and he was unable to recover.
The cold water preserved Kreiser's body, but also hid it from view of the search parties.
Germann said drowning is the number one cause of death in Glacier Park.
Kreiser had been spending the summer as a Glacier Park employee.
After several teams of searchers had found no clues, his parents issued a press release in August saying they believed their son had "found the world's greatest resting place. Jakson absolutely fell in love with Glacier National Park, all that it has to offer, as well as all of the people he came to know."