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Experienced Climber Found Dead in Mount St. Helens Volcano Crater — 1,200 Feet Below the Summit

"Every time we could go out, it was an adventure," Bret Barnum said of his late friend Roscoe Shorey

<p>Rocky Shorey/Instagram</p> Roscoe Shorey

Rocky Shorey/Instagram

Roscoe Shorey
  • Officials identified the victim as Roscoe Shorey, 42, a climber who had summited the volcano 28 times

  • His death was the result of a cornice fall, said the Northwest Avalanche Center

  • "In 42 years, that guy lived a hundred years of life easily,” Shorey's friend told KIRO

A mountain climber was found dead within the crater of Washington state’s Mount St. Helens on March 30, authorities said.

In an April 1 statement from the Skamania County Sheriff's Office, a climbing group reached the summit of the volcano near the Monitor Ridge Climbing Route after authorities were notified on the morning of March 30 of a body discovered.

“The climbing group located a backpack, digital recording devices and other personal effects near the rim of the crater,” per the sheriff’s office statement. “Near the personal belongings, a snow cornice near the rim fractured and fell into the crater of the mountain."

“The climbing group reported observing a motionless person within the crater of the volcano approximately 1200 feet below the summit,” the statement continued.

Related: 6 Rescued After Hiker Loses Consciousness While Climbing Infamous Trail on Maine Mountain

Authorities identified the victim as Roscoe (Rocky) Shorey, 42, of Washougal, Wash.

“Roscoe Shorey was an experienced mountain climber and had successfully summitted MT St Helens 28 times prior to this accident,” per the statement, adding, “The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office offers their condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Shorey.”

The sheriff’s office coordinated a mission to recover Shorey’s body that involved a rescue team being airlifted to the volcano’s crater. From there, the team traveled on foot to the recovery site.

The victim’s body was transported to the incident command at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park, per the Skamania County Sheriff's Office.

<p>Skamania County Sheriff's Office/Facebook</p> Authorities were notified about a deceased mountain climber (later identified as Roscoe Shorey) on Mount St. Helens on March 30, 2024

Skamania County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

Authorities were notified about a deceased mountain climber (later identified as Roscoe Shorey) on Mount St. Helens on March 30, 2024

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Sheriff’s deputies told CBS affiliate KIRO that Shorey was by himself at the time of the incident.

The Northwest Avalanche Center posted a statement on March 30, based on a preliminary report, that Shorey’s death was the result of a cornice (defined as an overhanging mass of snow) fall.

Related: American Boy, 15, and 2 Others Killed in an Avalanche Near Swiss Resort of Zermatt

“While standing near the top, he triggered a cornice and fell to his death,” the organization said.

“Large cornices still overhang many steep alpine slopes,” it added. “They often fail much farther back than expected. During these warm, sunny periods, they can become weaker and easier to trigger.”

The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office echoed a similar sentiment in its statement, cautioning climbers: “Snow cornices are difficult to detect and become weaker during warm, sunny periods.”

Related: Skier Dies, 2 Others Injured After Falling About 1,000 Feet in Alaska Avalanche

Bret Barnum, a longtime friend of Shorey, told NBC affiliate KGW that Shorey was a sky-diving instructor in addition to being a mountaineer. "In 42 years, that guy lived a hundred years of life easily,” Barnum said. “I was fortunate enough to be able to hop in the car and take a ride with him. Every time we could go out, it was an adventure."

Shorey was an ambassador for Mountain House, a company that specializes in freeze-dried food for adventurers. In a statement shared with KGW, Mountain Horse wrote in part: "Rocky was an expert mountaineer and a fearless adventurer with an appetite for the outdoors almost as big as his joyful heart. The Mountain House community is devastated by his loss. We will remember him for his boundless energy, optimistic attitude and genuine Aloha spirit."

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