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Contact: Kevin Bacher, (360) 569-6567
Rangers and Mountain Rescue volunteers today recovered the body of an individual who fell through a snow bridge at Paradise yesterday. The individual, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of family, was found at the bottom of a steep drainage under 8-10 feet of snow.
Rangers initially received the report of someone who had fallen through the snow from a hiking companion who called 911 at 4:22 pm. Rangers responded with a hasty team and swiftwater rescue gear, and were able to tentatively spot an unresponsive person sixty feet downslope through a hole in the snow. The terrain was too steep and hazardous to safely conduct a recovery in the dark.
This morning, thirteen Mountain Rescue Association volunteers and three National Park Service rangers began digging a trench at the base of the slope. At 12:30 pm a ranger in a dry suit descended into the trench and recovered the body from the base of a waterfall fed by snowmelt under the snow.
Volunteers from Central Washington, Everett, Olympia, and Tacoma Mountain Rescue units assisted with the search and recovery.
Water flowing underneath melting snow is one of the greatest dangers that hikers face in the Cascades Mountains this time of year. Water can carve and melt large voids, which may be partially or completely invisible from the surface. To avoid this danger:
- Do not hike alone. A companion may be able to call for help.
- Check in with a visitor center for current information about hazards in the area where you will be hiking.
- Stick to well-marked routes over the snow.
- Avoid hiking in drainages where water is likely to be moving under the snow.
- Look for holes or depressions in the snow, and listen for the sound of rushing water.
- When hiking in steep terrain, carry an ice axe or wear traction devices to prevent falls.
- Carry the “10 Essentials,” including extra food, water, clothing, and navigation aids.
Last updated: June 16, 2021