Four hikers, some ill-equipped for early-season conditions, spurred rescue missions in just five days on Mount Pilchuck, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.
Crews responded to four rescues in the past week on Mount Pilchuck, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Wednesday.
The hike is well-known for expansive views and for a lookout that sits on top of the 5,237-foot peak.
But it can be a challenging mountain for many hikers, particularly when early-season conditions and heavy snow linger.
“A late spring meltout and heavy winter snow pack on the mountain has made the trail up Mt. Pilchuck slippery and very hard to navigate,” said Sgt. Danny Wikstrom in a news release from the sheriff’s office. “All of our recent rescue missions to Mt. Pilchuck have been above the snowline and three of them involved persons not dressed or equipped for the conditions on the mountain.”
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Last Thursday, a woman slipped and hurt her leg after attempting to self-arrest with an ice ax, according to the sheriff’s office. She was rescued in a helicopter.
Three days later, a 19-year-old man dislocated his shoulder when he punched through the snow and had to be transported by helicopter. Also on that Sunday, a 27-year-old man got lost. He was able to return to the trailhead on his own, but rescuers spent hours looking for him, the sheriff’s office said.
The next day, another woman became lost and called 911 from somewhere on the mountain. A search-and-rescue team found her just before midnight Monday and brought her back to trailhead, where she was treated for mild hypothermia, the sheriff’s office said.
On early-season hikes that venture into alpine terrain, snow levels can vary widely, and mountain weather can be finnicky. It’s important to carry the “10 essentials” for survival (and perhaps an ice ax, if conditions warrant), check trip reports before you go, know how to navigate if snow impedes the trail, and be ready to turn around.