Bicyclist trapped by Going-to-the-Sun Road avalanche discusses experience

Posted at 10:42 AM, May 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-29 12:44:33-04

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK – On Monday, 13 bicyclists were stranded on Glacier National Park’s scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road at Triple Arches after an avalanche blocked their return down.

Lauren Alley with Glacier National Park told MTN park crews received a call around 3 p.m. notifying them that people were stuck on the iconic highway. No one was injured, however.

MTN spoke with Richard Bridges, who was one of the 13 bicyclists stranded. Bridges has biked Going-to-the-Sun Road several times, but he was surprised when snow started sliding down the mountain and blocked the bikers from getting down.

“It was just sliding. You could see it move and there was a slide. Every several minutes a big slide would come down,” he said.

According to Alley, the incident is uncommon and the mistake Bridges made was descending from Logan Pass later in the day. She said warmer weather increases avalanche danger.

“If you start to see what we call roller balls or snow balls coming down the mountain or if you see fresh snow on the road or certainly if you see snow crossing the road, time to call it a day,” explained Alley.

It was unsafe for the bikers to cross back over the snow to crews. Instead, it took park crews eight hours to reach the stranded bikers and plow a path for them to ride down.

“They said they were going to bring up a loader and it was already parked up there, they had been working on that part of the road. So, the park service was great,” said Bridges.

It was nighttime before Bridges returned safely to the parking lot. While scary, he said the incident will not stop him from riding Going-to-the-Sun again.

“I think I’m going to ride next weekend again,” he laughed.

-Reported by Maren Siu/MTN News