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He slid 300 feet down an icy slope, fracturing his neck. Then he walked out of the wilderness

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Ryan Cairnes walks around the fourth floor of Central Washington Hospital on Friday, recovering from a 400-foot tumble down part of Cannon Mountain near Leavenworth on Sunday. He was rescued Tuesday after making his way to the Stuart Lake Trail with broken bones in his neck, knee, scapula and ribs.

LEAVENWORTH — On Tuesday, Ryan Cairnes snapped a picture of the dirt, removed the camera’s memory card and then put it in his pocket. It was a throwaway, but at least now the authorities would have an idea of when he was last alive should he die.

It’d been a day and a half since he tumbled 300 feet down an icy slope on Cannon Mountain in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. His neck, right patella and sternum were fractured. His ribs were battered, his arms bruised and his legs bloodied. Because no one knew where he was, it might be days before anyone noticed he was missing.



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Ryan Cairnes winces as Registered Nurse Kristen Baltz puts on his robe at Central Washington Hospital on Friday. He says he hopes to be out of the hospital later that day, recovering from broken bones in his neck, knee, scapula, and ribs.

Pete O'Cain: 664-7152 or

on Twitter@peterocain

World News Editor

Pete O’Cain is a graduate of Central Washington University and served in the Marines Corps. He previously covered public safety and led The World's wildfire coverage.

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