Boy, 9, tries to save father after hiking accident in Wash.

Boy, 9, tries to save father after hiking accident in Wash.

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Nine-year-old Finn Berry is being hailed a hero for trying to save his father after a hiking accident.

Finn and his family were hiking near Loch Eileen when his father, Will Berry, fell down a 150-foot cliff.

"He folded up a T-shirt and put it under his dad's head," said Will's wife, Anneke Berry. "And he hugged him and he listened to everything Daddy said. And he did just what he was supposed to."

Then Finn climbed down a hill he could only have imagined before. It was dark when Finn climbed back up the cliff, yelling for someone to call 911.

But it would be another 12 hours before rescue crews could reach the injured man, and it would be too late.

Will's family finds solace in knowing the avid outdoorsman, whom his four children called "Papa Bear," died doing what he loved.

"If I had an image of what Will would have wanted, it is to die falling off a cliff somewhere. Because he loved the outdoors, and he was with his son. And to him, that's what life was all about," said father-in-law Jack Ernst.

His mother remembers Finn's words: "(He said,) 'You say you and Daddy would always give your life for us, and Daddy did.' And I said, 'You sacrificed your life by climbing up that rock wall. So you're even, you know. You're even,'" Anneke said.

Anneke has dealt with tragedy before. Max, her twin son, died when he was just 2 months old. His memorial was a collection of kid-sized climbing rocks. Finn had climbed those very rocks again and again; those rocks had taught him how to climb.

"He's an absolutely amazing boy, and I don't just mean for that day," said Anneke.

Today, Finn plays in the backyard his father built, from a tent-covered sandbox to a treehouse, to Finn's favorite -- a rope swing. The yard, Anneke said, is Will's heritage.

The family has set up a Facebook page in honor of their loved one.