Three bicyclists enjoying Glacier National Park’s iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road became trapped early Thursday evening when not one, but two avalanches separated them in just moments.

Glacier National Park Public Information Officer Gina Kerzman provided details to KGVO News.

“On Thursday evening at about 6:30 p.m. Glacier National Park Rangers responded to a report of bicyclists trapped behind an avalanche near Triple Arches on Going-to-the-Sun road,” said Kerzman. “The three bikers, which included a husband and wife, along with a friend were traveling on the road, they first encountered an avalanche as they were headed up the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and as they turned around and started back down they encountered an avalanche in progress.”

Kerzman described how the bicyclists became separated by yet another avalanche.

“The wife was a little bit ahead of the group, and she heard the avalanche and warned her husband and friend to stop where they were at,” she said. “The avalanche chute came down between the wife and the husband and friend who were then on the uphill side of the avalanche. There were no injuries.”

Kerzman described the conditions that caused the two avalanches in such a short time period.

“The sudden onset of the sunny and warm weather combined with recent new snow from the previous weekend, made for an unstable surface for snow conditions,” she said. “And with that hot weather it just warmed things up and caused the avalanche.”

Kerzman then provided details of the rescue by Glacier Park rangers.

“The wife bicycled down and called for Ranger assistance at about 6:30 at night. “The Rangers received the call and they were up at the avalanche site by 7:30pm. The rescue began around 9:30 p.m. and the Rangers belayed across the avalanche chute and belayed the bikers back individually across the chute.”

Kerzman said visitors are encouraged to start and finish their trip before the warmest part of the day, and to not stop under gullies or snowfields.

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Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

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