Getting Beyond the Bear

Father-daughter grizzly attack survivors hike to the scene of their horrific encounter in Glacier

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

In August 2005, father-daughter hikers Johan and Jenna Otter faced down any Glacier hiker’s worst fear—a charging mother grizzly defending her cubs. Johan attempted to distract the grizzly, potentially saving her life, but both incurred serious physical injuries. They described the ordeal in their own words in “Attacked!”, from BACKPACKER’s 2006 Survival issue.

But the mental scars would prove even more lasting. As part of moving on, Jenna and Johan returned to Glacier National Park to revisit the scene of their horrific mauling two years later. The LA Times went with them.

Johan survived major lacerations, a torn-off scalp, and skull fractures to continue his career as a successful physical therapist and continue to compete in marathons. Jenna recovered from facial lacerations and a broken back to return to dancing at the University of California-Irvine, where she goes to college.

Don’t miss their incredible and inspiring survival story (but be prepared for some graphic moments).

Could you have survived a similar attack? What would you have done? Tell us in the comments section below.

Jenna Otter returns to scene of grizzly bear attack