Gallatin County Sheriff Deputy Dies Rock Climbing - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Gallatin County Sheriff Deputy Dies Rock Climbing

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BOZEMAN -

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Department is mourning the loss of one of its own.

John "Amos" Ridenour fell to his death in a rock climbing accident in Hyalite Canyon.

The sheriff's department said Ridenour was climbing Practice Rock in Hyalite Canyon Monday morning with his neighbor and young son when he fell 35 to 40 feet.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said Ridenour, an experienced rock climber, was teaching his son to rock climb when the accident happened around 8:30 a.m.

He said fortunately the boy didn't see his father fall, but his neighbor did.

Ridenour's wife wasn't home when they left Monday morning.

Gootkin said the department will do everything it can for the family.

"His family, his wife, Elizabeth's family, are out of state," said Gootkin.  "They will be here tomorrow and we are doing our best to take care of them."

That includes taking care of his work family.

Gootkin said they are bringing in outside Chaplains to help people in the sheriff's department handle the death.

"We have our Chaplin and also the Central Valley Chaplin has come in and we will actually have other people coming in throughout because this isn't, this will be ongoing so we will be sure to keep an eye on our folks and make sure they are okay because this impacts everyone," he said.

Gootkin described Ridenour as a great co-worker.

"He was just full of life," said Gootkin.  "He was just a great guy. He was a great deputy.  It's tragic.  All we can do is do our best to take care of his family."

It took about five hours to recover Ridenour's body.

The Montana Highway Patrol blocked off traffic while they removed his body from the mountain.

Ridenour came onto the Gallatin County Sheriff's Department in September 2005 after serving on the Montana State University Police Department.

While on the Gallatin County Sheriff's Department, he served as a patrol officer and on the drug task force.

Ridenour leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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