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#53052 - 05/09/18 09:02 AM Fatal: Hiker fell on Whitney 2018-05-05
tntorr Offline


Registered: 05/09/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Rochester, NH
Original post:
Quote:
A friend of mine lost his life on Mt Whitney this past weekend. I have seen nothing anywhere about it. Is there some place I can go to find any information. Thank you.


Moderator's edit, May 17: Sequoia National Park reported the death in a news release (see below). The hiker was Eric Juliani, from Campbell, CA and Haddonfield, NJ. His body was recovered by helicopter on May 6, 2018.
This is a long thread, click here to view all posts.


Rest in Peace, Eric.  The entire hiking community mourns.



Summary:
Eric went up the main trail with friends and camped overnight just below Trail Camp. Next day he continued on and his friends turned around. He reached the summit, but then, apparently disoriented, he mistakenly attempted to descend the Mountaineer's Route "Walk Off" Traverse (down the north side of the mountain) instead of the Main Trail heading down the south side of the mountain. Near the Notch at the base of the Final 400, he slipped or tripped and was unable to arrest his fall, continuing down 2000 feet to his death. Other hikers descending the same route found his two ice axes where the fall began, and observed the tracks left by his slide in the ice and snow.

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#53053 - 05/09/18 11:26 AM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: tntorr]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Oh my, SO Sorry!!! We'll try to find links. Usually Inyo County Sheriff will post a news release when these things occur, or, depending on whether the death occurred on the east or west side of the crest, it could be reported by Sequoia National Park--they're on the west side.

Edit: More info: Inyo County Sheriff dispatch did not have any information. Sequoia N.P. information officer is looking for any information. I'll report here if I get anything more.


Edited by Steve C (05/09/18 12:20 PM)

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#53055 - 05/09/18 12:21 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
tntorr Offline


Registered: 05/09/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Rochester, NH
Thank you so much!

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#53056 - 05/09/18 12:26 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
The Sequoia N.P. information officer called me back. She confirmed there was a death on the Mountaineers Route of Mt Whitney. The hiker fell on Saturday, May 5, 2018, and was recovered the following day by helicopter. Tulare County, in Visalia, CA, is working to identify the body. Depending on family wishes, the climber's name may or may not be released.

The SeKi information officer is hoping to publish more information, along with safety warnings for future climbers.

Sending our sincerest condolences to the family. May he rest in peace.

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#53057 - 05/09/18 12:29 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
tntorr Offline


Registered: 05/09/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Rochester, NH
Yes, that is the one. Thank you. His family has been notified now.
From NJ, then lived in NH where I am...moved to CA last July :-(
He was hiking with 2 friends, they turned back...he continued...they seem to believe he made the summit, then fell on the way down. The Saturday and Sunday information matches what I heard as well, from his family. Devastating news to all who knew him.

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#53058 - 05/09/18 12:35 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Here are pictures of the section of the Mountaineers Route that has snow and ice this time of the year. With the current freeze/thaw cycles, it can be soft and easy to cross, or depending on temperatures, can be icy and treacherous. A fall from here would require recovery by the Sequoia N.P. SAR people, since it is on the west side of the Sierra crest, and within Sequoia National Park.

Picture link.


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#53059 - 05/09/18 12:38 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: tntorr]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: tntorr
Yes, that is the one. Thank you. His family has been notified now.
From NJ, then lived in NH where I am...moved to CA last July :-(
He was hiking with 2 friends, they turned back...he continued...they seem to believe he made the summit, then fell on the way down. The Saturday and Sunday information matches what I heard as well, from his family. Devastating news to all who knew him.


Oh, that's really sad. Do you know if the friends had to hike out and report him missing, or if anyone actually witnessed the accident?

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#53060 - 05/09/18 01:20 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
tntorr Offline


Registered: 05/09/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Rochester, NH
Ive heard he was found/seen by other hikers, but I donít know at what point that happened.
I feel like he may have been a bit unprepared for what he was getting into, but was planning on moving back to NH soon, so he really wanted to do this. Tragic lesson learned.

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#53061 - 05/09/18 01:22 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
tntorr Offline


Registered: 05/09/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Rochester, NH
Thatís scary. Family was told he fell 2000í...I can see why/how based on this picture. So scary and sad...he was the most kind-hearted person I know.

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#53062 - 05/09/18 01:23 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
tntorr Offline


Registered: 05/09/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Rochester, NH
His friends left him (or he left them when he decided to continue) and he was supposed to meet them back at the hotel. I donít know if they knew he was missing first, or if he was found first.

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#53064 - 05/09/18 02:52 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: tntorr]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
Losing a friend has got be really tough. So sorry.

Falling 2000' is what would occur in the place those pictures are taken.

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#53065 - 05/09/18 04:05 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
tntorr Offline


Registered: 05/09/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Rochester, NH
I would like to make a contribution in his name to the rescue group. Would that be possible/accepted?

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#53067 - 05/09/18 07:20 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: tntorr]
tntorr Offline


Registered: 05/09/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Rochester, NH
Cancel that. I found the donation link for this site. All set. Thank you so much for all your help and information. ❤️

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#53070 - 05/09/18 10:31 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: tntorr]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
tntorr, thank you!!

Some of the text of this thread was posted on the Mt Whitney group on Facebook. It's private, so you have to join Facebook, and then request to join the group to read what people write.

There are a number of condolences there that you or family might like to read. Here's a link to the post.

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#53072 - 05/10/18 02:08 AM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
MarkDP Offline


Registered: 05/10/18
Posts: 1
Loc: California, USA
I did not realize the Mounaineers route had such a steep section on the west side of the crest. Thanks for showing this view.

Sorry to hear about the hiker who fell. Condolences to his family.


Edited by MarkDP (05/10/18 02:08 AM)

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#53073 - 05/10/18 04:30 AM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
tntorr Offline


Registered: 05/09/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Rochester, NH
Thank you.

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#53078 - 05/10/18 09:08 AM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: tntorr]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7479
Loc: Fresno, CA
tntorr, Willie H posted this on the facebook Mt Whitney group, with the words:

"May 5th, 2018 RIP"


(click to enlarge)

The picture is a fitting tribute to your friend.

The Mountaineers Route is the strip of snow ascending to the notch, to the right of the peak. In the picture, it doesn't look nearly as steep or as far as it really is. The location of the accident is out of view behind the notch.

Willie H posted this:
"Wow! Terrible! We climbed the East Buttress (got a much later start), so we were totally unaware of the tragic death on the mountaineering route. Deepest condolences to family and friends"

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#53079 - 05/10/18 09:30 AM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Steve C]
Ejolaes10 Offline


Registered: 05/10/18
Posts: 2
Loc: California
Hello. I actually came across the 2 gentlemen on May 5 while i was setting up camp about 1/2 mile before Iceberg Lake. One of them mentioned to me about an incident that just happened regarding their friend up at MR on the way to summit Whitney. They mentioned something about leaving ice axes and if i was going up and see them, if i can grab it for them and bring it down.

At that time the conversation wasn't crystal clear so i was not for sure of the reality of the event. The following morning i successfully summited Whitney. Myself and a group of hikers that i met at the summit took the John Muir traverse trail back down. I spotted both ice axes on the trail and grabbed the closest to the trail that was reachable, the other was too far down. This part was so sketchy and really no where to go but straight down if a fall would've happened.

I hiked down with the axe, which was i assumed was rented with REI lot numbers printed all over it. I was planning to turn it in at the portal but dropped it nearing the base of the MR route and wasn't able to recover it but hoping someone else will recover it. I only found out the severity of the accident on my way home when a friend message me about a tragic accident happening the day i climbed Whitney and reconfirmed when he saw this blog.

My heart goes out to the friends and family of the gentleman who lost his life that day. And i really feel bad that i couldn't hang on long enough to return what would be the last thing he was holding onto before losing his life. I have a photo of the exact location where i spotted the axes. If any of his friends and family would like to have it, i would gladly share it. May his soul rest in peace...

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#53084 - 05/10/18 06:41 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: Ejolaes10]
tntorr Offline


Registered: 05/09/18
Posts: 10
Loc: Rochester, NH
It means a lot that someone held his axe..really. Iím glad your hike was safe as well...

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#53097 - 05/12/18 12:12 PM Re: Hiker fell on Whitney [Re: tntorr]
tdschmel Offline


Registered: 05/12/18
Posts: 1
Loc: California (CA)
So sorry to hear that man. We had a group of 6 attempt to summit on May 5th but only me and 2 others made it up to the summit past the notch. We came back down via the traverse. There was a group of 3 that came up behind us that day. Then 2 more we saw starting up from Iceberg at around 11am. Were you in one of these groups? What day did you attempt to summit?

- Taylor

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