Baxter State Park officials identified the hiker whose body was found last week at the summit of Mount Katahdin as a 27-year-old Maryland man.

Rangers are investigating the circumstances around the death of Nathan Leigh Bell of Walkersville, Maryland, who was found dead the morning of Oct. 8 by other hikers.

He was the second hiker to die on Maine’s highest mountain in two days, prompting park officials to remind hikers that the mountain “is a formidable place, especially as winter approaches.”

Park Director Eben Sypitkowski said Tuesday there is no evidence of foul play in Bell’s death.

“Last Wednesday evening the weather was foggy and rainy, with temperatures plummeting to single digits with sub-zero windchills by Thursday morning. Mr. Bell’s clothing and equipment were insufficient for a prolonged stay in such conditions,” he said.

Sypitkowksi said rangers are still trying to determine which trail Bell used to get to the summit, whether he was on the mountain overnight and if he ever signed in at a ranger station before the hike.


“Those are all questions we’re trying to answer,” he said.

Bell’s body was found by other hikers at about 10 a.m. Thursday and reported through a 911 call at about 11:30 a.m., park officials said.

Park rangers began a recovery mission with help from the Maine Army National Guard. A UH60L Blackhawk landed atop the mountain at 3:44 p.m. and helped transport the body to Caribou Pit on the park’s southern border at 4 p.m.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office said it is investigating the cause of death.

On Oct. 7, Donald MacGillis, a longtime Boston Globe editor from Pittsfield, Mass., died after he was airlifted from the mountain following a fall.

MacGillis and his 25-year-old nephew, Paul MacGillis, started up the Dudley Trail from Chimney Pond at 11:30 a.m. and then started across the Knife Edge trail, but lost the path around South Peak in fog, rain and darkness. They spent the night on the mountain before being rescued, according to park officials.

Fatal accidents in Baxter State Park are relatively rare, despite the potential danger when climbing Katahdin in difficult conditions.

Eight people have died in Baxter State Park in the last 10 years, including the two last week. Four of those deaths came in 2017, the only other year in the past decade in which there were multiple deaths.

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