SAR Recovery - Inyo County Sheriff's Office was contacted on October 18th at approximately 4:30am regarding a fall victim. According to the reporting party, he was frantically woken up at approximately 2:45am at Outpost Camp by a hiker whose companion had fallen and was believed to be badly hurt or deceased. The reporting party activated his emergency satellite messenger and also descended the trail until he had enough reception to make a 911 call.
Inyo Search and Rescue and China Lake Mountain Rescue Group responded to the Whitney area, with the assistance of CHP H-80 out of Apple Valley. The fall victim, who was identified as 36-year old Michael Powell from Irvine, California, was discovered deceased in a chute near Mirror Lake.
Further interviews with Powell's hiking companion indicated that the two-person team summited Mt. Whitney on October 17th at 7:30pm. While descending they lost the trail in the dark above Mirror Lake; Powell was heard falling along with the sound of tumbling rocks. After many attempts to call out to Powell and to attempt to locate him, his hiking partner decided to find her way back to Outpost camp and get help.
This is a very tragic incident and our thoughts and prayers are with Michael Powell's family and friends.