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He climbed down to see Racehorse Falls, but the rope broke when he tried to leave

Where are the best waterfalls in Whatcom County?

Whatcom County has more than 250 charted waterfalls, according to the website Aaron's Waterfall World. Many of them are easily accessed by car or short trail.
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Whatcom County has more than 250 charted waterfalls, according to the website Aaron's Waterfall World. Many of them are easily accessed by car or short trail.

A man out hiking spent nearly 24 hours stranded at Racehorse Falls northeast of Deming after getting trapped between the upper and lower falls until Whatcom County Fire District 14 got him out with a technical rescue.

“He wasn’t hurt or anything — just a little exposure and dehydration,” District 14 chief Jerry Debruin told The Bellingham Herald. “But he spent the night out there and said it got pretty dark and pretty cold. He was thankful to get out of there.”

District 14 was called to Racehorse Falls at 10:02 a.m. Wednesday, June 26 for the report of the stranded hiker.

Debruin told the Herald that on Tuesday morning, June 25, the hiker used a rope that is left near the falls to climb down below the upper falls — an approximately 100-foot, nearly vertical drop. When he attempted to climb back out, the rope broke, leaving him stranded between the upper falls and the approximately 50-foot lower falls.

Debruin said District 14 has rescued three or four other stranded hikers from the same area in recent years.

“It’s a beautiful area, and people can hike back in there, but the middle area should be off limits,” DeBruin told The Herald. “There’s only one way in and one way out. All the rocks are pretty slippery, and there is just a ledge down there. It’s not a place where anybody should be unless you’re technical enough to climb out.”

Fortunately, another hiker came to the lower falls Wednesday morning, and the stranded hiker was able to get their attention so they could go call for help.

District 14 crews descended into the middle portion between the falls, got the hiker secured in a harness and helped get him to safety.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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