INDEX, Wash. – A man hiking near Heybrook Lookout in Index on Friday afternoon died after a boulder fell and trapped him.
According to Heather Chadwick, a spokeswoman for the Snohomish County Technical Rescue Team, the man was hiking with friends on a steep rock field when the boulder gave way and pinned him underneath.
The friends called 911 but the man in his 20’s had already died before the Technical Rescue Team could save him.
“Saddened and, unfortunately, it’s not as big of a surprise,” said Frank Kingman of Ascent Outdoors in Ballard. “I think this time of year they call this the trauma season for a reason.”
Kingman helps outdoor enthusiasts gear up for the mountains. He said this time of year, hikers should all be using extra caution.
“They’re itching to get out and explore and, unfortunately, a lot of times the ground is a little less stable — again from water; a lot of water falling through the spring season,” said Kingman. “Rocks can slide, things can shift around so if you’re hiking off trail it can be a little more dangerous this time of year.”
The unstable ground from the long and wet winter is exactly what’s causing concern for first responders. The deadly accident on Friday marked the second technical rescue call this year involving a hiker climbing on a rock field where someone became trapped after rocks fell, according to Chadwick.
“We just urge people that while we’re hiking, when it’s starting to get sunny out, just don’t climb on rock fields– you never know what’s going to give way,” said Chadwick.
Chadwick is now urging all hikers to stay on the trails, to hike in groups, and bring a cell phone. “It’s very important just to be as safe as possible.”
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner has not yet released the identity of the victim.