Recreation

Well-known Bitterroot Valley Climber Dies in Weekend Fall

Bryan Louis Kercher, 55, was with a group of climbers when he slipped and fell near Sugarloaf Peak Saturday

By Associated Press

HAMILTON — A well-known Bitterroot Valley climber died in a weekend fall from an ice-covered slope southwest of Darby, Ravalli County officials said.

Bryan Louis Kercher, 55, was with a group of climbers descending from a slope near Sugarloaf Peak Saturday when temperatures dropped significantly, Sheriff and Coroner Steve Holton said Monday.

The ice on the mountainside hardened and winds increased, covering the trail with loose snow.

Kercher slipped and fell about 1,000 feet (305 meters) before striking a large boulder, Holton said.

Fellow climbers used an emergency beacon to summon help. A search and rescue crew didn’t reach the site until Sunday morning. Two Bear Air assisted with the recovery effort.

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