He left his friends on a Mount Rainier trail. They heard the rockfall that killed him

Staff photographer

A 75-year-old hiker died Thursday after falling rocks hit him while he was near a popular trail in Mount Rainier National Park.

Burt Meyer and three friends hiked to the top of Eagle Peak in the Tatoosh Range, a moderate 7-mile trek that offers up-close views of the mountain.

Near the summit, Meyer chose to leave his group about 1:30 p.m. to “travel cross-country,” according to the park service.

Spokeswoman Patti Wold said she wasn’t sure whether the hiker was continuing on to neighboring Chutla Peak but believes Meyer was on the trail side of the peak facing Longmire.

Several people heard rockfall about 2:30 p.m. and were able to report it to rangers two hours later.

A helicopter was used to search for the missing hiker, who was found amid the fallen rocks. Meyer, from Olympia, was pronounced dead at the scene.