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#48586 - 10/19/16 09:14 AM Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16
IncredibleHuck Offline


Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 2
Loc: Southern California
Just heard the bad news that a fellow hiker from Southern California fell and died after he summited on Monday. Does anyone have any information on where he fell? Was it icy conditions or bad weather that caused it?

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#48587 - 10/19/16 11:07 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: IncredibleHuck]
surf1div1 Offline


Registered: 10/19/16
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Hearing from various sources that it was West of the area preceding Mirror Lake. Don't believe weather was casual in this one though.

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#48588 - 10/19/16 11:25 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: surf1div1]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
The bluffs up-slope of Mirror lake? That is a place where many people have fallen and gone missing.

It seems the most likely, unless of course it isn't the spot.
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#48590 - 10/19/16 04:41 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: IncredibleHuck]
IncredibleHuck Offline


Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 2
Loc: Southern California
Just found the article:

Quote:
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.

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#48592 - 10/19/16 10:13 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: IncredibleHuck]
surf1div1 Offline


Registered: 10/19/16
Posts: 3
Loc: CA


Edited by surf1div1 (10/19/16 10:28 PM)

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#48595 - 10/20/16 01:27 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: IncredibleHuck]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7874
Loc: Fresno, CA
So sorry for Mr. Powell and his friends and family.

This tragedy is certainly similar to John Likely's death in June, 2014. Here's the link.

While descending, just above Trailside Meadow, the trail makes several switchbacks, reversing direction and heading west, then back to the east. See this map. If one is hiking in the dark, it is easy to miss the switchback, and in fact, the terrain almost invites you to continue to the east.

Unfortunately, the flat bench-like path eventually cliffs out, and if anyone tries to continue that way...

It took 5 days to find Likely's body, even though it was really close to all the searching.

Edit: And here is the Shyam Das thread from August, 2012: Missing Hiker for 36+ Hours

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#48596 - 10/20/16 02:38 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
surf1div1 Offline


Registered: 10/19/16
Posts: 3
Loc: CA
Steve, 100% agreed. While I've looked at the link for John's death and a review of the SAR photo with a pic of the lake and chopper and matching it in GE where it was taken has me at least concurring that it was in that area. The photo SAR has is I believe taken here: 36.570262 -118.264830 (go to street view) or coming down from the West from Trail camp here: 36.567494-118.267758, or 36.567487 -118.267324 ( FirstChute) (Prior to the descent to Trail Meadow). Using GE those drops are hundreds of feet prior to trail meadow. Being that they started around 3:00 AM and it took them until 5:00 PM or 7:30 (depending on how accurate the source) to summit that's one hell of a day. Winds were crazy and based on those times extreme fatigue would saddle most people from continuing on. Tragic for Michael and his family and friends.

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#48598 - 10/20/16 08:15 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
Yep, we had a family friend get lost here in the twilight back in '96. He started down some steep (wrong) bluffs. His knees gave out and he slid 100ft onto a ledge he couldn't climb off of. He huddled in his windbreaker all night until a chopper could get him the next morning.

Dangerous area.
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#48607 - 10/20/16 04:24 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
"lost the trail in the dark above Mirror Lake;"

John Likely And Shyam Das. Both descending in the dark. It also took days to find Das, who barely survived
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#48610 - 10/21/16 06:52 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
I've been pretty remiss the past few months about checking in on the WZ, partly due to not making it out there this year and partly because I keep up with so many of you on FB. I finally open up the Zone in my browser and what do I see right off the bat? Another falling death from above Mirror Lake. Unbelievable. This is getting to be like a broken record. This is at least the 3rd in the past few years. By now I think it would be incumbent on Inyo to re-work the trail in that section for greater safety, or at least post signs identifying it as a dangerous area and advise hikers to use extra caution.

These slabby areas can be tricky if you're not paying close attention, especially in the dark. Going up doesn't seem to be a problem, but descending is another matter. I can recall twice I've had to backtrack while descending here because my mind wandered and I got off route. Easy to do.

Condolences to the family. I hope this is the last sad story I read about this area of the trail.

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#48615 - 10/21/16 08:23 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: saltydog]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 431
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Good to have you back, Gary!

Its easy to get lost in that area. On a cold night in December 2012, happytrails and I spent some time wandering around searching for the trail on the way down from the summit.

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#48649 - 10/27/16 10:28 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: bobpickering]
JPowell Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Thanks to everyone who commented here. It was a big help in understanding where and what happened to my dear boy. According to sheriff's office, time of summitting was corrected to 5:30 pm. I don't know when they started . . .

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#48650 - 10/27/16 10:49 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JPowell]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
We are so sorry for you loss. At least, I'm glad this has helped you understand what happened.
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#48651 - 10/27/16 11:45 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: JPowell]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7874
Loc: Fresno, CA
JPowell, we are REALLY sad for your loss. I cannot imagine the pain I would feel to lose a family member or a friend this way.

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#48710 - 11/06/16 09:39 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7874
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here's a memorial post from Instagram from Josue Sanchez


Posted Nov 6, 2016 by n3r0dstroys
Quote:
It's been three weeks since you've been gone man, and it all still feels like it happened yesterday. No point in retelling the story, everyone that matters already knows what happened... not that my mind doesn't replay every step of the way, every part of the climb, every action and every word I said, everything I could have done different that day and you'd still be here. After all this dwelling, talking to friends about it, sleepless nights, and countless replays in my head of that day I'm happy you left on a highlight doing what you loved the most after conquering one of the baddest peaks in the land. Your positivity, your smile, your attitude towards life, our conversation that day and most importantly your last words to me at the summit of Whitney the last time I saw you will be with me for the rest of my life, and in time I hope will help drown out the echoes that keep replaying in my head of what could have, should have, did and didn't happen that day.
Rest in paradise brother... we'll hike again in time... like you told me that day, fate put us together on Whitney Trail that night, and fate also set us on different trails for now...
Thanks to those of you who reached out, you know who you are and how I feel. Meant the world to me.
I'll see some of you at the memorial later.

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#48711 - 11/07/16 07:35 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 437
Loc: Reno, NV
Re: Memorial post picture - where on the trail is this?

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#48712 - 11/07/16 08:09 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: RenoFrank]
Dave F Offline


Registered: 06/24/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Northern California
Frank - it's towards the top of the 97 switchbacks, above the cables. Trail Crest is approximately on a straight line above the hiker's head where the ridgeline meets sky.

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#48718 - 11/07/16 09:21 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Dave F]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 437
Loc: Reno, NV
Originally Posted By: Dave F
Frank - it's towards the top of the 97 switchbacks, above the cables. Trail Crest is approximately on a straight line above the hiker's head where the ridgeline meets sky.


Thanks. I thought it was there or between the summit and Trail Crest. When I look at this beautiful picture, I can imagine that the trail is going up or down.

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#48731 - 11/09/16 11:53 AM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: RenoFrank]
JPowell Offline


Registered: 10/27/16
Posts: 5
Loc: California
Earlier that day.





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#48732 - 11/09/16 12:52 PM Re: Fallen Hiker on Monday 10-17-16 [Re: Steve C]
CanadianGirl Offline


Registered: 10/20/16
Posts: 36
Loc: CA, USA
Thank you for sharing that. So very sad.
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