Falling boulder kills man near Heybrook Lookout in Index

The Snohomish County Technical Rescue team used cables to pull the boulder off a man near Heybrook Lookout. (Snohomish County Fire District 7)

The Snohomish County Technical Rescue team used cables to pull the boulder off a man near Heybrook Lookout. (Snohomish County Fire District 7)

INDEX — A 21-year-old man died Friday afternoon after a boulder fell on him near Heybrook Lookout in Index.

He and four others were climbing on a steep rock field when the boulder gave way. The man was pinned underneath. Others in the group called for help around 1:40 p.m. They were more than a mile up the steep road.

The Snohomish County Technical Rescue team used cables to pull the boulder off the man and recovered his body.

The county Medical Examiner will determine the identification of the climber, as well as the cause and manner of death.

Warm weather attracts hikers to county from all over the region. Most communities are forecast to reach temperatures in the 80s over the next week.

This is the second time this year where rescue crews were called out to help someone who had been trapped under a rock while climbing, according to Heather Chadwick, a spokeswoman with Snohomish County Fire District 7.

“We urge hikers to stay on the trails,” she said in a press release. “We have had a very long, wet winter and the ground under the rocks is unstable. Do not climb on rock fields, and always hike in a group.”

Search and rescue crews also were called out Wednesday after a 16-year-old boy from Marysville got separated from his hiking group. They were walking the trail from Bridal Veil Falls to Lake Serene near Index. Crews looked for him through the night. He was found safe the next day.

Safety experts call late spring and summer the “trauma season,” as outdoor enthusiasts take to trails, rivers and lakes.

It was just about year ago that a 6-year-old Mill Creek boy drowned while his family hiked to the Big Four Ice Caves, a popular destination near Verlot.

The family had been near the footbridge over the South Fork Stillaguamish River just before the boy went missing. His body was found about a mile downstream.

Falls are always a serious concern for hikers.

In June 2014, a Lynnwood High School freshman fell to his death after going off trail at Lake 22 on Mount Pilchuck. Two years earlier, a 15-year-old from Granite Falls suffered critical injuries after a 100-foot fall on the mountain. A 29-year-old fell off a cliff on the mountain and died in 2011.

Heybrook Lookout is known for its family-friendly hiking trail. It is about 2.5 miles long round trip.

Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; ctompkins@heraldnet.com.

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