This week there was another hiker rescued from Mount Pilchuck. That’s the fifth rescue in two weeks, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit (SAR).
“The hiker got into the parking lot. Everything looked fine. The weather looked fine,” said Randy Fay, a volunteer rescuer with SAR. “Then (the hiker) got up above the snow line. If you then wait for a while to come out… it all gets very slippery.”
Fay said a lack of preparedness is a common theme he’s seen from recent rescue hikers.
“Anything that’s a popular day hike in our area, this tends to be a common thing,” he said. “Because people have it in their mind for four or five hours and I’m done. What could happen?”
Here’s a summary of the recent Mount Pilchuck missions, according to SAR:
June 8, 2017 – SAR personnel and volunteers rescued a woman from the west side of Mount Pilchuck. The woman slipped on snow at approximately 4,800 feet and sustained a leg injury. The hiker, who was well-equipped, sustained injuries after attempting an ice axe self-arrest. She was transported by helicopter to the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue facility around 3 p.m. and then transported by private vehicle for medical treatment.
June 11, 2017 – SAR received a report around 5 p.m. that a 19-year-old man broke through the snow, fell and dislocated his shoulder. The man was unable to move, and he was transported by helicopter to the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue facility around 9 p.m. and then transported by private vehicle for medical treatment.
June 11, 2017 – While responding to the injured 19-year-old man, SAR received a call that there was a 27-year-old man who had become lost. Rescue crews searched the area by air and ground, but were unable to locate the missing man. Several hours later, the man made it back to the trailhead on his own. He was cold and wet, but uninjured.
June 12, 2017 – A 20-year-old woman became separated from her hiking partner and called 911 around 6 p.m. She was about 400 yards off-trail on a dangerous snow slope. Due to conditions and nightfall, SAR personnel and volunteers deployed ground rescue teams. She was safely escorted back to the trailhead just before midnight. She was treated for mild hypothermia. She was extremely fortunate to have cell phone coverage in that area.
Mount Pilchuck rescues
SAR officials said a late spring meltout combined with this winter’s heavy snow pack can be dangerous if hikers aren’t prepared.
Fay said the recent rescues this early in the hiking season could impact his organization later.
“The volunteers are donating in a lot of time, and that puts a lot of pressure later in the season,” he said.
He implored hikers prepare with a hiking kit of 10 essentials.