Fallen hiker’s dog alerts passer-by, but rescue arrives too late

GRANITE FALLS – Zippy summoned help the only way she could: She barked.

The black and white corgi paced at the top of a gully on Mount Dickerman and barked at her owner, Dale Godsey, below.

Godsey, 48, of Lake Stevens had tumbled about 600 feet into the gully while hiking Friday along a trail covered in ice and snow, Snohomish County sheriff’s Sgt. Danny Wickstrom said.

His body was recovered Saturday morning after Zippy, a passing climber and volunteer rescuers tried to bring him to safety.

Godsey, an experienced climber, died of hypothermia and injuries to his head and body from the fall, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“The trail can be treacherous. We’ve had fatalities in that area before,” Wickstrom said, recalling the two Everett teens who fell to their deaths in 1991 during a school outing.

A climber descending the summit Friday afternoon heard Zippy bark, Wickstrom said. As the climber drew closer, he heard Godsey call for help from below.

For a couple of hours, the climber tried to hike down the rough terrain to reach Godsey.

When he wasn’t able to make it, he hiked several miles back to the trailhead and to his vehicle, Wickstrom said. He drove to Silverton, about 20 miles east of Granite Falls, where he called for help with an emergency radio.

“He did everything he could do. If he would hadn’t been up there and heard the dog, this would have turned into a missing person,” Wickstrom said. “We would have found his car at the trailhead but we would have no idea where he was at.”

Snohomish County Search and Rescue volunteers mobilized Friday evening, and an Everett Mountain Rescue team set out to find Godsey.

But Godsey was dead when climbers reached him. Because it was dark and too dangerous to rig a pulley system, crews waited until Saturday morning to bring his body down from the mountain.

Two rescuers reached him by helicopter, and his body was flown to Paine Field.

Zippy was taken to the Everett Animal Shelter until Sunday, when she was returned to Godsey’s family, Wickstrom said.

“She was his hiking partner. She is a beautiful dog and was just beside herself without (Godsey),” Wickstrom said. “It’s really a tragedy, and a lot of us are taking it hard.”

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