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Update: Climber Who Fell 1,500 ft Into Mount St. Helen's Crater Dies

Update: Climber Who Fell 1,500 ft Into Mount St. Helen's Crater Dies

Mr Bohlig had been posing for a picture when a snow outcrop gave way underneath him. Two helicopters had to be turned back due to high winds.

The Daily Mail via YellowBrix

February 17, 2010

The body of a veteran climber who fell 1,500ft into the crater of Mount St. Helens volcano has been recovered today after he spent more than a day in the snow.

High winds and low cloud had hampered efforts to reach Joseph Bohlig, 52, who was posing for a picture on the rim of the dormant crater when a snow overhang gave way beneath him.

A Navy helicopter found Mr Bohlig partially covered by snowfall on its second pass of the mountain.

Richard Bohlig, the climber’s 84-year-old father, said: ’We’re sorry that he’s gone, that he didn’t make it.

‘He was doing something he enjoyed very much. That’s all I can say.’

He said that his son was an avid mountaineer who had climbed peaks in many countries, but Mount St. Helens was his home mountain.

‘He used to go up even before the eruption as a child, play in the snow and that,’ he added.

Family members had gathered in Mr Bohlig’s hometown of Kelso, Washington state, to await word on the search.

Skamania County undersheriff David Cox said an autopsy would be conducted to determine if Mr Bohlig died from his injuries, hypothermia, or a combination of factors.


Avid climber: A rescuer prepares to winch up the body of Joseph Bohlig, 52, who died after falling into the crater of Mount St. Helens

He had taken off a layer of clothing to cool down after reaching the summit and was not protected against the freezing overnight temperatures.

Two attempts to reach him by helicopter had to be turned back yesterday because of strong winds and fading daylight.

He had reached the summit of Mount St. Helens with his friend Scott Salkovichs after a four-hour climb. Mr Bohlig took off his backpack and some clothing, before deciding to pose for pictures.

Mr Salkovichs told KGW television that his friend handed his camera to another hiker and was backing towards the edge when the snow gave way and he fell.

He said he threw himself towards Mr Bohlig, but couldn’t catch him.

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