Climber dies after fall on Twin Sisters

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 20, 2014 

Twin Sisters near Acme

A view of the rugged Twin Sisters as seen from Highway 9 near Acme.

THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

A mountain climber who fell about 100 feet on the Twin Sisters near Mount Baker died from his injuries, and rescue crews were expecting to retrieve his body Saturday, June 21.

The man, whose name was not released pending notification of relatives, fell while at the 6,300-foot level of the North Twin, a 6,600-foot peak southwest of Mount Baker, on Thursday. He and a partner were free climbing and not using any ropes or harnesses at the time, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.

His climbing partner trekked down to the 4,900-foot level to call 911 around noon Thursday. The partner said the man suffered a head injury in the fall but was alive at the time he left to call for help.

A rescue helicopter attempted to pluck the climber from the mountain Thursday afternoon but was unable to reach him. The crew reported the man wasn't moving at all. Further attempts to reach him by helicopter Thursday were thwarted by bad weather.

Search and rescue teams with the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office and Bellingham Mountain Rescue navigated through a maze of remote logging roads east of Acme, toward the north side of North Twin. Late Thursday afternoon they were able to get into the steep area where the climber had fallen. By then he had died from his injuries.

Because of the difficult terrain and with nightfall upon the rescuers, the man's body was left overnight.

Removing the man's body by ground was determined to be too dangerous, so on Friday morning crews began coordinating retrieval by helicopter. There was too much cloud cover Friday for the helicopter, though, Sheriff Bill Elfo said. He believed there should be a window of opportunity Saturday that would allow for recovery.

Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com.

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