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Warmer Weather Increases Danger at Big Four Ice Caves


CONTACT: Shari Ireton, Director of Communications,
Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, 425-388-3377, Media line: 425-249-6263

Tracy O’Toole, US Forest Service, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest  425-783-6015

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Wash. – US Forest Service Field Rangers assigned to the Big Four Ice Caves trail have reported that sections of the cave have collapsed, causing concern for visitors to the area.

“As we head into the busiest and warmest part of the season the cave is in its most dangerous state,” said Lead Field Ranger Matthew Riggen. “The cave is in a condition that we would normally not see until at least September – large, inviting and collapsing.”

Visitors are urged to stay on the trail, NOT to enter the cave and to take extreme caution in the area outside the caves below Big Four Mountain as well, which is prone to falling rocks and ice.

“I would ask that in addition to looking at that beautiful mountain, visitors should stop and look at that beautiful marker for a beautiful little girl,” said Search and Rescue Sgt. Danny Wikstrom, referring to 11 year-old Grace Tam who died in 2010 when a chunk of ice broke free and struck her.  Tam’s family worked with the US Forest Service to install a message at the trail viewpoint to connect visitors with the Tam family’s tragedy and warn them of the dangers.  “I wouldn’t want anyone else to experience that horrible loss.”

Summer-like weather the past few weekends have resulted in an increase in visitors to the Big Four Ice Caves Trail.  Last Sunday, rangers counted at least 442 visitors to the trail.