Gallatin Co. Search and Rescue team member killed in climbing accident

Posted at 3:20 PM, Jul 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-15 18:34:56-04
Travis Swanson, by Speed/Coaching + Creative

BOZEMAN – A Gallatin County Search and Rescue team member was killed in a rockfall climbing accident on Sunday afternoon on Mount Cowen in Park County.

According to a press release, Travis Swanson was climbing with fellow SAR members Jackson Negri and Will Hitchcock when Hitchcock and Swanson were swept downslope in a rockfall.

Jackson contacted Park County Sheriff’s Office and Gallatin County SAR teammates, who responded with specialized alpine rescue resources. With Jackson’s help, they were able to rescue Hitchcock and recover Swanson. Hitchcock is currently at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Billings with stable injuries.

All three climbers were extricated by GCSAR with assistance from Park County.

Travis Swanson during a rescue operation on Granite Peak in 2016.

“The highly complex rescue was executed in a skilled and efficient manner that would have made Travis proud,” said Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin in a press release. “Travis was a significant contributor to the Alpine and Helicopter rescue teams and we owe a part of the team’s performance to the many efforts that he put into Search & Rescue. He loved spending time with friends doing things that allowed him to excel at saving others. He demonstrated the highest level of teamwork and commitment. When good days went bad, Travis was always there to help his community.”

“We thank Park County for allowing us the privilege of being able to recover one of our own,” Gootkin added.

The Park County Sheriff, Search and Rescue, Park County Rural Fire, and Livingston Fire and Rescue responded to the incident.

Dahl’s Funeral Home is organizing memorial arrangements.