Above is a photo of the area where a Seattle skier died in a fall caused by a snow slide Wednesday morning on Mount Shuksan, in North Cascades National Park, northeast of Bellingham.
Here’s the text of a statement released Wednesday night from North Cascades National Park:
“At 10:45 this morning, North Cascades National Park dispatch received a report of two skiers, both from Seattle, who were ascending the north face of Mount Shuksan for a ski tour when the party was hit by a snow slide. One skier narrowly avoided getting hit by the snow, but his partner was swept away and could not be located. The reporting skier, who was uninjured, was able to call for assistance using his cell phone.
Two climbing rangers were dispatched via the park’s contracted helicopter to perform an aerial search. At around 3:30 this afternoon, climbing rangers located the missing skier. Rangers were able to determine that he did not survive the fall, which is estimated at over 2,000 feet. Due to the nature of the terrain, and the warm weather with potential for continued unstable snow conditions, park rangers could not complete the recovery Wednesday afternoon.
Recovery operations will take place Thursday morning via helicopter, pending stable conditions.”
UPDATE, 4:35 p.m. Thursday
Around 10 a.m. Thursday, park rangers recovered the body of John Cooper IV, 46, of Seattle. With the help of a helicopter, rangers were able to move the body from a still slide-prone area and turned it over to Whatcom County authorities, according to the Associated Press.