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News / Clark County News

Washougal man killed on Mount St. Helens while summiting the peak

Roscoe “Rocky” Shorey, 42, summited the peak and, while at the top, triggered a cornice — an overhang mass of snow

By Mia Ryder-Marks, Columbian staff reporter
Published: April 1, 2024, 3:02pm

A Washougal man was killed early Saturday morning on Mount St. Helens when the snow underneath him collapsed and he fell into the crater, causing an avalanche.

A climbing group reached the summit near the Monitor Ridge climbing route about 7 a.m. the same morning and located a backpack, digital recording devices and other personal items near the rim of the crater. The climbing group reported a motionless person within the crater about 1,200 feet below the summit, according to a news release from the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities determined Roscoe “Rocky” Shorey, 42, summited the peak and, while at the top, triggered a cornice — an overhang mass of snow, according to the sheriff’s office and Northwest Avalanche Center. Shorey fell into the crater, which triggered a large slab avalanche on the slope below, according to the center.

“Large cornices still overhang many steep alpine slopes. They often fail much farther back than expected. During these warm, sunny periods, they can become weaker and easier to trigger,” the avalanche center wrote on its website.

The sheriff’s office coordinated a search and rescue mission to recover Shorey’s body. Members of the Volcano Rescue Team based out of Yacolt and JL Aviation responded. Rescue personnel were airlifted to the crater and then ascended by foot, the sheriff’s office said.

Shorey was an experienced mountain climber and had summited Mount St. Helens 28 times prior to the accident.

“The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office offers their condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Shorey,” the news release states.