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SKAMANIA COUNTY, Wash. An experienced climber and snowboarder was found dead about 1,200 feet below the summit of Mount St. Helens in Washington state after officials believe he triggered an avalanche after falling into the volcano.

According to the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC), it’s believed that the climber and snowboarder, whom officials identified as Roscoe “Rocky” Shorey, 42, of Washougal, Washington, triggered a cornice and fell into the crater of Mount St. Helens on March 29th.

That fall, according to the NWAC, then triggered a slab avalanche on the slope below.

Cornices grow through winter on wind-exposed ridges and summits on mountains and can break off the terrain suddenly when temperatures rise, catching outdoor enthusiasts off guard.

In a Facebook post, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office in Washington state said a climbing group that reached the summit of Mount St. Helens on March 30th notified them after locating a backpack, digital recording devices and other personal effects near the rim of the volcano’s crater and observed Shorey’s body within the crater.

Crews were then airlifted to the crater of the volcano and were able to recover the victim’s body and return to the incident command at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park.

Officials said Shoery was an experienced climber and snowboarder who had successfully summitted Mount St. Helens nearly 30 times before the fatal incident.

“The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office offers their condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Shorey,” the department said in the Facebook post.

The sheriff’s office also reminded climbers of the dangers that warmer weather brings.

“Snow cornices are difficult to detect and become weaker during warm, sunny periods,” the department said.

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