MOUNT DICKERMAN, Snohomish County - A six-day search for Christian Isaacson ended yesterday when the Everett boy's dead body was discovered in a steep ravine on the southwest side of mountain.
The massive search, which was hampered from the beginning by bad weather and dangerous terrain, ceased at 11 a.m. yesterday when a two-person Snohomish County Rescue helicopter crew saw Isaacson lying about 800 feet below where the body of 16-year-old Erin Montgomery was found Thursday.
Isaacson and Montgomery disappeared last Monday during a training hike with their cross-country track team on Mount Dickerman, 28 miles east of Granite Falls.
Yesterday, climbers had to be lowered into the ravine in an effort to recover Issacson's body. Because the terrain was extremely hazardous, with sheer cliffs and dense underbrush, it took rescue workers more than seven hours to recover the body.
"They got the body up to a ledge where the helicopter could get a line down to it at 6 p.m.," said Elliott Woodall, spokesman for the Snohomish County Sheriff' Department.
Lee Leavitt, who piloted the helicopter that found Issacson, said they began the search at about 2,400 feet and flew upward.
"I was hovering straight up the crevices in the rocks when we saw the body lying at the bottom of a rock ledge."
Woodall said the end of the search was a relief.
"It's been a long, difficult search," he said. "The weather hampered much of the search, and it's a relief for everyone that it's over. The family was very, very relieved. The idea of not knowing . . . left a big void in their lives, and now that void is filled. It was a big relief for them."
Issacson and Montgomery disappeared during an annual outing organized by Cascade High cross-country coach Steve Bertrand.
Issacson and Montgomery were among the last students to reach a meadow about four miles up the mountain, about 6:30 p.m. last Monday. When the coach prepared to lead 28 other students back down the mountain, he gave Isaacson and Montgomery permission to remain behind in the meadow a few minutes.
When, after an hour, the pair did not catch up with the group, Bertrand started a search.
Eventually, despite rain, clouds and cold, up to 60 volunteers scoured the mountain on foot and in helicopters. Hazardous terrain made the search difficult even for trained rescue workers. One searcher was stuck briefly in a ravine, and a 160-pound search dog had to be rescued from a gully.
Three days after the teens disappeared, a helicopter pilot with Snohomish County Search and Rescue found Montgomery's body at the base of a 1,000-foot gully on the southwest side of the mountain near the 3,500-foot level. Isaacson's body was found at the 2,700-foot level.
Search-and-rescue workers speculate the teens fell into the ravine while trying to find their way down the mountain in the dark Monday night.
Services for Montgomery are scheduled for for 1 p.m. Wednesday in Alderwood Manor Community Church. Her family has suggested memorials may be made to Snohomish County Search and Rescue.
Services for Isaacson have not yet been set.