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Experienced climber found dead in Mount St. Helens crater, officials say

By Jillian Sykes, CNN

(CNN) — Roscoe “Rocky” Shorey lived his life one adventure at a time until his sudden death after a fall while summiting Mount St. Helens, his roommate told CNN.

The 42-year-old experienced mountain climber of Washougal, Washington, was found Saturday within the crater of the Mount St. Helens volcano, approximately 1,200 feet below the summit, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office said in a social media post.

“A snowboarder summited the peak. While standing near the top, he triggered a cornice and fell into the crater triggering a large slab avalanche on the slope below,” the Northwest Avalanche Center said in a release.

Snow cornices – overhanging masses of snow on the edges of mountains – “are difficult to detect and become weaker during warm, sunny periods,” the sheriff’s office said.

Shorey had successfully summitted Mount St. Helens 28 times before the fatal accident, the sheriff’s office said. The current summit elevation of Mount St. Helens, located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington, is approximately 8,300 feet.

“It was absolutely wild to hear about his day,” Shorey’s roommate, Jennifer Neitling, said. “He was a private guide so people would hire him to take them through treacherous mountains all around the world. Then he would come home and tell these epic stories.”

Shorey was also employed at a skydiving company and his friends grew suspicious when he didn’t show up for work, Neitling said.

“His friend reached out to me to ask if he had been home, but I hadn’t seen or heard from him,” she said.

His body was found after a group of climbers ascended to the summit of the volcano near the Monitor Ridge Climbing Route and “located a backpack, digital recording devices, and other personal effects near the rim of the crater,” the sheriff’s office said. Nearby, a snow cornice close to the rim had fractured and fell into the crater of the mountain.

The climbers saw a motionless person inside the crater of the volcano, according to the sheriff’s office.

During the search-and-rescue mission, members of a Volcano Rescue Team were airlifted into the crater where they successfully recovered Shorey’s body, according to the sheriff’s office.

After learning of his death, Shorey’s friends held a memorial summit for him Tuesday morning on Mount St. Helens, Neitling told CNN.

“He had such an adventurous spirit and we’re all better off having known him,” she said.

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