A 34-year-old Seattle man was killed Friday when he inadvertently skied off a cliff on the northwest slope of Mount Baker.
Keith Hardy was believed to have been with a team of adventurers that had just summited the 10,781-foot North Cascades volcano and were skiing down after their climb. They apparently did not see the precipice.
Others in the team reportedly heard a warning cry and were able to stop in time.
A Whatcom County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said authorities were advised of a mishap at the Coleman Headwall of Mount Baker about 4 p.m. Friday and a rescue team skilled in technical rope procedures was activated by text message. A helicopter from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station flew over the area and its crew confirmed that one person had been killed.
Coleman Headwall the top of the Coleman Glacier is an approximately 2,000-foot cliff face about 1,000 feet below the summit on the northwest side, according to the website mountainproject.com. It's near the Roman Nose, which is the right side of Baker as seen from the Bellingham area, and is considered a Class IV on the Class VI scale of technical climbing difficulty.
On Saturday, a Bellingham Search and Rescue team attempted to reach the 8,200-foot site where the victim's body was located, but had to turn back at the 7,700-foot level because of inclement weather.
Further information was sketchy, because members of the team could not be contacted Sunday, said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo. He said climbers are bivouacked on the mountain, waiting for weather conditions to improve before making another attempt to recover Hardy's body.
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