Third hiker killed on Mount Whitney within five days

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Mount Whitney after snowstorms blanketed the Eastern Sierra Nevada near Lone Pine, California, in February 2019.

A hiker on Mount Whitney’s east flank was killed Sunday by falling rock, the Inyo County sheriff’s office said.

The death was the third on Whitney in five days: Last week, two hikers who went missing on May 7 were found dead near the 14,505-foot summit.

The latest accident was reported on the morning of May 12. The sheriff’s office was told that a hiker was severely injured at Ebersbacher Ledges, an area along the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek below Lower Boy Scout Lake.

A helicopter crew from the California Highway Patrol lowered a search team member to the site, and it was determined that the hiker had died. The body was taken to Lone Pine.

Ebersbacher Ledges, at about 9,600 feet elevation, is along the Mountaineer’s Route, a more direct and more challenging alternative to the hiking trail to the summit. The route is a Class 3 climb, meaning it requires some hands-and-feet scrambling.

In last week’s accident, no cause of death has been released. The two hikers had reportedly intended to ski or snowboard from the Notch, near the top of the Mountaineer’s Route, to their campsite at Upper Boy Scout Lake.

A statement Monday from the sheriff’s office said: “Early spring conditions prevail on the mountain, with treacherous steep snow, loose rock and variable weather. Parties venturing onto Mt. Whitney should stay together, turn around before deteriorating conditions become unmanageable, make responsible decisions, and be prepared and fit.”

A permit is required for day use of the Mountaineer’s Route as well as the hiking trail at any time of year. From May 1 to Nov. 1, a quota system limits the number of people in the Whitney zone.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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