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Mercer Island teen presumed dead in hiking accident near Aasgard Pass

Benjamin Gore seen with his sister, Alex on a recent hike. (Photo courtesy: Gore Family)

CHELAN COUNTY, Wash. -- A 19-year-old man from Mercer Island is missing and feared dead in an accident while hiking near Colchuck Peak Saturday afternoon, the Chelan County Sheriff's Office said.

The Sheriff's office said Benjamin Gore was with another person as they attempted to glissade down the snow field from the summit of Aasgard Pass at 7,800 feet elevation to the glacier area below around 5 p.m., according to Sheriff Brian Burnett.

A satellite text for help stated that the man had fallen into a hole and disappeared under the snow pack. The text gave GPS coordinates, but offered no other information.

Two helicopters were sent to the scene for a search and rescue effort, but all attempts to locate the man in the hole, which runs well below the deep snowpack, were unsuccessful, Brunett said. The search was called off later in the evening due to darkness.

Burnett said glissading is the act of intentionally descending down a steep slope in a controlled slide on a person’s feet or buttocks, routinely using an ice-axe or similar device to assist in controlling the slide.

"Glissading is a high-risk activity due to the unforeseen dangers (such as holes or crevasses) in the snow path," Burnett wrote.

On Monday, a team from Chelan County Mountain Rescue and deputies from the Chelan County Sheriff's Office attempted to find Gore. A deputy, attached to a belay line was lowered into the hole, but said there was no sign of the teen. They also said the view was obstructed by a high water flow under the snow.

The team said the hard snowpack is estimated to be 25 to 30 feet deep. They said the hole had been formed by a waterfall of snow melt runoff.

Rescuers said the amount of snow is preventing them from being able to access the area where Gore went missing. They said they'll need to wait several weeks before they can attempt and actual recovery of his body.

The family has been notified.

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