Climber Killed in Fall From Mt. Stuart


WENATCHEE, WA.- Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett reports a climber fell several hundred feet while descending Mount Stuart just before noon Sunday.  The 32-year-old male Seattle resident, identified as Varun Sadavarte, was eventually pronounced dead at the scene.

A 911 cellular call to the Kittitas County dispatch center (KITTCOM) was received from the subject’s climbing partner at 11:47am reporting the fall.  That call was relayed to the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office. The incident location was determined to be on the southeast aspect of Mount Stuart just below the false summit – east of the true summit.

Mount Stuart

Due to the high elevation (8,900 ft), search and rescue coordinators requested a hoist capable helicopter via State Emergency Management.  Naval Airbase Whidbey Island accepted the mission and a Navy Blackhawk helicopter crew responded.  The aircraft was over the scene by 2:40pm, and it was confirmed that the climber was deceased.  The body was hoisted from the scene and transported to SAR staging at the fish hatchery in Leavenworth.  The Navy crew returned to the mountain to hoist out the climbing partner of the victim who stated he was not comfortable descending the mountain after witnessing the accident.

The climbing partner informed search and rescue (SAR) coordinators that his friend had successfully summitted Mount Stuart earlier in the morning and descended to the false summit before noon. Just as they began to descend toward the Cascadian Couloir, the victim lost his footing and slid several hundred feet down a steep slope landing in rocks.  Other climbers in the area eventually scrambled down to the area of the fallen climber advising he was unresponsive.