Experienced climber found dead 1,200 feet below Mount St. Helens volcano summit

The body of an experienced mountain climber, who had successfully ventured up Mount St. Helens nearly 30 times, was found inside its volcano after it’s believed he plummeted to his death.

Roscoe “Rocky” Shorey, 42, was found around 7 a.m. on Saturday — 1,200 feet below the summit of the Washington State mountain — when a climbing group explored the area, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office announced in a statement Monday.

The discovery came after the group reached Mount St. Helens’ summit near the Monitor Ridge Climbing Route and found Shorey’s belongings near the crater’s rim.

Members of the group then found a “motionless person within the crater of the volcano” and quickly contacted authorities.

Police said Shorey’s belongings were found near a fractured snow cornice — an overhanging edge of snow on a ridge — and believed he fell into the volcano while the climber was standing on it.

Rescuers from the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office and a rescue team from Yacolt, Wash. were airlifted to the volcano and then ascended down by foot to retrieve Shorey’s body.

Shorey’s body was flown to the command center at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park — about five miles away — where officials were able to identify the avid climber.

The Hawaii native had successfully summited Mount St. Helens 28 times before the tragic accident and was called an “experienced mountain climber.”

Bret Barnum, a long-time friend of Shorey’s, spoke with KGW Monday following the news of his death.

“It’s an extremely difficult time. Rocky was more my little brother than my friend,” his friend of over two decades told the outlet.

“In 42 years, that guy lived a hundred years of life easily…I was fortunate enough to be able to hop in the car and take a ride with him. Every time we could go out, it was an adventure.”

“The testament to his life is that he just lived it. He lived in his way. He did not live dangerously. He lived it with prediction, with passion, with intention,” Barnum, who said Shorey was more like a “little brother” to him than a friend, told the outlet.

Before his death, Shorey lived in Washougal, Wash. — about 20 miles outside of Portland, Ore. — and worked as a brand ambassador for Mountain House.

The company, which sells meals for survivalists and explorers, called him a “fearless adventurer with an appetite for the outdoors almost as big as his joyful heart” in a statement.

“We will remember him for his boundless energy, optimistic attitude, and genuine Aloha spirit… He was a true friend and will be missed by all.”

The volcano — which last erupted on May 18, 1980 — is a hotspot for new and experienced mountaineers, according to the US Forest Service.

The crater’s rim is 8,365 feet above sea level and usually takes the average climber seven to twelve hours to complete on a round trip.

While climbers are allowed to be on the rim of the crater, “entry into the crater is strictly prohibited,” according to the US Forest Service.

In 2010, a climber from Kelso, WA, also died after the cornice beneath him gave way while on the rim of Mount St. Helens.

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