Peninsula native falls and dies while hiking near Snoqualmie Pass

Laurine Choate

OLYMPIA — An Olympia woman and Moutaineer member died Sept. 5 while hiking near Snoqualmie Pass, according to Sgt. Ryan Abbott, a spokesman for the King County Sheriff’s Department.

Laurie Choate, 64, had gone up to a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail and spent the night there with a friend, Abbott said. On their way back on the Kendall Katwalk, Choate slipped and fell 300 feet below. Choate’s friend called 911, and a helicopter from the King’s County Sheriff Department was brought in.

However, conditions were too risky to make an attempt to reach her, Abbott said. Paramedics arrived on the scene about 20 minutes later, and pronounced Choate dead.

According to The Mountaineers, a local nonprofit group for hikers and those passionate about the outdoors, Choate was an active member and volunteer leader with the Olympia branch.

She was born Sept. 28, 1954, to Lee and Virginia Wiegardt of Ocean Park. She grew up with her three brothers, Fritz, David and Bill, near their family oyster farm in Oysterville. She is survived by her children, John and Kathryn Choates, and brothers, Fritz and David.

Choate was a former director of nursing and allied health at Clatsop Community College. She also was a longtime member of the Astoria School Board.

There will be a service held at First Lutheran Church in Astoria on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 1 p.m., and a celebration of life held at Mount Rainier National Park on Sunday, Oct. 7.

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