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A hiker and a rescue volunteer who fell to their deaths at Pilchuck Falls on Saturday have been identified.

The Skagit County Sheriff’s Office identified the rescue-team member as JB Bryson, 62, of Sedro-Woolley. The hiker has been identified as Peder Trettevik, 25, of Stanwood.

At about 9:40 p.m. Saturday, sheriff’s deputies from Skagit and Snohomish counties, along with Skagit County search-and-rescue personnel, were called to the Lake Cavanaugh area after reports of two men in need of rescue, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.

The Sheriff’s Office said three people had gone down a cliff and, as they were climbing back up, one of them, now identified as Trettevik, fell approximately 150 feet. One of his friends tried to climb back down while the other friend climbed up the cliff to call for help.

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The friend who climbed down the cliff started to fall and had to cling to a tree until a rescue team reached him.

Bryson was in a volunteer search-and-rescue group on a training mission in the area that responded to the report of a fallen hiker. Members of the volunteer team started to deploy down the cliff to rescue the two people, while other volunteers started to clear an area of brush for the rescue team.

Bryson was clearing brush when he fell approximately 150 feet to his death.

Chief Criminal Deputy Don McDermott said it’s unclear how Bryson fell. He said the rescue team told him they did not see Bryson fall off the cliff.

Once the rescue team realized Bryson was gone, they did a head count to make sure no other rescuers were missing, McDermott said.

The bodies of the two men were recovered Sunday morning.

Wesley Trettevik, 19, said his older brother Peder enjoyed working on cars, playing in the woods and fishing. He said his brother, who did plumbing and heating work, loved to go “mudding” — to go out with a vehicle and spin in the mud.

Kelli Bowden, 40, Bryson’s oldest daughter, said her father wanted his community to be “healthy and vibrant.”

He was a well-known figure in the Sedro-Woolley community and had joined Skagit County Search and Rescue eight months ago.

Bowden said her father enjoyed spending time in the woods.

She said he was good at his job. He wouldn’t have taken a risk if he didn’t know what he was doing, she said.

He always believed he could somehow help, she said. “If you can, you should,” Bowden said was her father’s motto.

Zahra Farah: 206-464-3196 or

Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this story.

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