WEST GLACIER - Glacier National Park officials have released the names of the two Flathead County men killed in a climbing accident on Dusty Star Mountain earlier this week.
The victims have been identified as 67-year-old Brian McKenzie Kennedy of Columbia Falls, and 67-year-old Jack Dewayne Beard of Kalispell.
According to park staff who knew the men personally, Kennedy and Beard were considered expert climbers and have been summitting mountain peaks in Glacier National Park for decades.
As long-time members, both men contributed greatly to the Glacier Mountaineering Society and were well-known in the Flathead Valley community.
The men were climbing Dusty Star Mountain and began their trip on July 21 with the plan to hike out July 22.
They were reported missing on July 24 and park rangers located their vehicle at the trailhead on the same day.
An air search began on July 24 in the Dusty Star Mountain area on the east side route of the approach with Two Bear Air flying in daylight and darkness.
Minuteman Aviation took over the air search with NPS spotters on board on the morning of July 25 and located the bodies of the climbers.
The bodies were recovered on the same day by Two Bear Air.