New UM Scholarship to Keep Adventurous Alum’s Legacy Alive

Bryson Allen leads a Campus Recreation Spring Break trip to Capitol Reef, Utah.

MISSOULA – University of Montana incoming students now will have the opportunity to receive financial support to experience the wilderness the same way Bryson Allen did before his freshman year in 2014.

Bryson Allen looks up and smiles while rock climbing
Bryson Allen

Allen would have turned 24 on Jan. 25, but he died in a climbing accident on the Mendenhall Towers in Juneau, Alaska, last June. Now his family, friends and the Outdoor Program at UM have established the Bryson Allen Wilderness Experience Fund in his honor that will cover the cost of the Freshman Wilderness Experience for qualifying freshmen with financial need.

“Creating a scholarship fund to enable incoming students with financial need to participate in the Freshman Wilderness Experience is the best way I can imagine to honor Bryson,” said Bryson’s dad, Demi Allen. “This fund will carry on Bryson’s legacy by helping new students experience the beauty and peace of wild places.”

Allen loved the outdoors since he was a young boy. As an incoming student from Bainbridge Island, Washington, Allen was part of the Outdoor Program’s inaugural Freshman Wilderness Experience, which introduces students to the stunning natural surroundings in western Montana over four days and three nights in the backcountry. Allen took a climbing class, and eventually became an instructor, a wilderness leader and mentor.

His colleagues and friends remember him as a reliable friend and teacher, a courageous and careful climber, and a kind and humble young man. Allen earned a wildlife biology degree at UM in 2018, graduating with University Scholar distinction from the Davidson Honors College.

The Bryson Allen Wilderness Experience Fund is nearly halfway to its $29,000 goal. If the fundraising goal is reached, the fund will be endowed, meaning it will become a perpetual fund from which awards will be given. If the goal is not reached, it will make awards until the fund’s resources are exhausted. To donate or for more information on the fund, visit


Contact: Elizabeth Fricke, senior assistant director, UM Outdoor Program, 406-243-5176,