A climber heading down after summiting Forbidden Peak in North Cascades National Park in Washington state was killed when he was hit by a falling rock that knocked him about 300 feet further down the mountain.
Park officials said the unidentified 31-year-old Seattle man died on Saturday, and that his body was recovered the next day via a contracted helicopter.
According to a park release, "the climber had summited Forbidden Peak via the West Ridge with his climbing partner and was descending when the accident occurred at 5:30 p.m. Multiple parties were also on the West Ridge route of Forbidden Peak. During the descent of a commonly-used gully using a series of rappels, the climber was hit by a falling rock, which triggered his fall of approximately 300 feet to a rock/glacier moat."
The climber was not being belayed as he descended, the release said. His partner was not injured in the incident.
"Other climbers who had completed the climb witnessed the fall, and hiked out from Boston Basin, notifying rangers at 10:30 p.m. The fallen climber’s partner was assisted in the completion of the descent by another climbing party," the release added.
On Sunday, "after complications of fog and an incoming weather system, park rangers completed the recovery via helicopter extraction by mid-day."
Forbidden Peak, at 8,815 feet, is "among the most popular mountaineering objectives in North Cascades National Park, with several known summit routes," the park said. "The West Ridge route gained notoriety when featured in the climbing guidebook Fifty Classic Climbs of North America.”