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Hiker dies on Dragontail Peak near Leavenworth on Sunday

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Hiker dies on Dragontail Peak near Leavenworth on Sunday

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July 3, 2012

Update: July 7: Sheriff Brian Burnett advises that the body of the deceased climber on the north face of Dragontail Peak was successfully recovered on Wednesday July 4th.  The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue coordinators worked with a Snohomish County helicopter crew (SnoHawk10) to recovery the body of Matthew Trinkle from a rock gulley on a steep slope at approximately the 7,600ft level of the mountain.  A Chelan County Mountain Rescue team inserted in from the bottom of Dragontail on Tuesday night to assist with the recovery effort if needed.  The body has been released to the Chelan County Coroner’s Office.  Trinkle appeared to have been free climbing a route to the summit of Dragontail Peak beginning Saturday morning when he fell a substantial distance.  There are no known witnesses to the accident.

Original Story:
(Leavenworth, WA) Sheriff Brian Burnett reports that recovery efforts will continue for a deceased climber below Dragontail Peak west of Leavenworth,WA.  Matthew Trinkle, 19, from Ellensburg is believed to be the victim of a significant fall from near the summit of Dragontail Peak.  Sheriff’s Office rescuers and Chelan County Mountain Rescue members along with helicopters from both Chelan County and  Snohomish County Sheriffs Offices spent Monday evaluating the safest possible method to recover the body which is just off a steep slope and in gulley on the mountain side.  An attempt was made to remove the body Monday afternoon, but had to be aborted due to rescuer safety concerns.

The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the overdue climber late Sunday evening.  Trinkle’s roommate in Ellensburg advised search and rescue coordinators that Trinkle had planned to summit Dragontail Peak on Saturday and return home by Saturday night.   A deputy located Trinkle’s vehicle at the Stuart Lake Trailhead Sunday night.  While at the vehicle, the deputy was contacted by a group of climbers who had ascended Dragontail Peak Sunday morning and discovered the body of a deceased climber in a rock gulley.  It took the climbers most of the day to descend the mountain and report the discovery. The body is believed to be that of Trinkle.  He had been climbing alone.

Search and rescue coordinators must wait for a decent weather window to make another attempt to recover Trinkle’s body.  High winds with cloud cover are expected in the area throughout Tuesday, but a good weather window is forecast for Wednesday.

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