(CNN) -- Joe Bohlig loved to climb mountains and knew what he was doing. But despite his vast experience, one false step cost him his life.
Bohlig's body was recovered Tuesday from the snow-covered crater of Washington's Mount St. Helens volcano, where he'd fallen Monday from the peak he and a friend had reached 68 times over the years.
"I introduced him to climbing," the friend, Scott Salkovics, told CNN affiliate KGW. "It was his passion. He just liked the physical aspect of it, the accomplishment, the challenge."
There will be no autopsy, Chris Lanz of the Skamania County, Washington, prosecuting attorney and coroner's office said Wednesday.
"It is obvious from an initial examination by coroners that Mr. Bohlig died from injuries as a result of the fall," Lanz told CNN.
The cause of death is blunt trauma, he said, adding that it is unlikely that an autopsy would have revealed whether Bohlig initially survived the fall. Bohlig's injuries were extensive, Lanz said.
Salkovics said he and Bohlig had been on at least 120 climbs together.
"I think he was never happier than when he was climbing," he told KGW.
Salkovics was the last person to see Bohlig, 52, alive, as Bohlig got ready to pose for a picture before a lip of snow gave way and he fell 1,500 feet to his death.
"Boom. It busted off, and I saw him clawing for the edge with a startled look on his face, and then he disappeared," Salkovics, an Army Reserve helicopter pilot, told KGW. "I was looking right at him. He was only 10 feet away ... then he just disappeared."
The two men had just returned from climbing mountains in Ecuador, Bohlig's 84-year-old father, Richard Bohlig, told CNN affiliate KOIN.
Video: Climber's father speaks
Video: Body found in crater
* Mount St. Helens
"Matter of fact, one was one that he'd tried before, but they stopped because of a crevasse they couldn't get across," the father said. "Their guide didn't want to go any further, so they had to come down."
The father takes some comfort that the "happy-go-lucky guy" who lived around the corner from him in Kelso, Washington, died doing something he loved to do.
"He's climbed quite a few mountains," Richard Bohlig told CNN affiliate KPTV. "He went over and climbed a couple in Switzerland, and he's been down in South America about three times (and) most of the ones along the West Coast."
Bohlig's sister, Catherine Munden of Lewiston, Idaho, told the Oregonian newspaper in Portland that her brother's 18-year-old son died in an auto accident in 1996, but the marathon runner and Weyerhaeuser Paper Co. employee maintained a positive outlook.
She told the newspaper that with his vast climbing experience, Bohlig knew an accident could happen at any time.
"He always knew that was a possibility," she said, according to the Oregonian. "I think that we're all just grateful that it happened near home, not somewhere in a foreign country."