Snowmobilers fall into deep crevasse on Mount Baker

Two snowmobilers who fell into a crevasse Sunday on Mount Baker were rescued by a Navy helicopter crew, officials said Monday.

According to a post and photos at Bellingham Mountain Rescue Council’s page on Facebook, the two snowmobilers fell into a deep crevasse on the Squak Glacier, which is on the southeast slopes of the 10,781-foot volcano.

As team members were assembling their gear to make a rescue attempt, a helicopter was dispatched from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station to assess the situation. A Navy official confirmed Monday that the pair were rescued, but could provide few details immediately.

“Fortunately, the crew from the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station was able to get the injured subjects out via helicopter quicker than we could’ve gotten to them,” Bellingham Mountain Rescue posted on its Facebook page. “Sounds like they’re going to be OK as well.”

Although much of the land in the Mount Baker National Recreation Area is designated wilderness and off-limits to vehicles, there is a small portion that’s open to snowmobilers. It’s accessible only by unpaved U.S. Forest Service roads and hiking trails.

Nevertheless, experienced mountaineers were posting messages of caution on social media Monday, warning that the snow and ice are unstable this time of year. The Northwest Avalanche Center was warning of extreme avalanche danger Monday on the west slopes of the North Cascades, according to a story in The News Tribune of Tacoma.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty