The man was skiing on Mount Herman in an area near the Mount Baker Ski Resort before two avalanches covered the area within 15 minutes, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
Authorities have recovered and identified the body of the man who died in a pair of avalanches Sunday on Mount Herman, nearly 24 hours after emergency responders confirmed he was dead, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
Mark Panthen, 36, of Bellingham, died Sunday afternoon after two avalanches on the north slope of the mountain, next to the Mount Baker Ski Resort, a news release from the sheriff’s office says.
A man who was skiing with Panthen called an employee of the resort from a cellphone around 12:45 p.m., saying Panthen was injured and needed help, the release says.
Search-and-rescue crew members observed the area where the skiers were located, realizing there were two avalanches within 15 minutes, according to the release. The avalanches were at 4,200 feet.
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Using a helicopter, emergency responders confirmed Panthen died around 2:20 p.m., authorities said. They provided aid to the other skier, who suffered a head injury, and then airlifted him to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bellingham.
Authorities are not releasing the identity or injury status of that man.
Search-and-rescue crews, both on the ground and in the air, recovered the deceased around 1 p.m. Monday.
John Gargett, deputy director of the county’s division of emergency management, said Sunday night’s darkness and the area’s rugged terrain delayed recovery.
“It’s not exactly” easy, he said of the rescue location. “It’s kind of hard to get in and out of there.”
Scott Schell, program director for the Northwest Avalanche Center, said Mount Herman is 6,260 feet high, and its base is about 4,000 feet. Witnesses told experts that the avalanche came down from above the victims.
Panthen’s death is the second from an avalanche in Washington in the past four weeks, and the seventh avalanche death in the United States in the last week alone, according to the Northwest Avalanche Center.
In late December, Washington entrepreneur and outdoorsman Douglas W. Walker was killed in an apparent avalanche while snowshoeing and hiking on Granite Mountain, about 19 miles east of North Bend.