Remains found on Mount Whitney are those of a 60-year-old hiker who had been missing since June 14, authorities said Monday.
John Likely of Dumont, N.J., died from "multiple traumatic injuries" after he fell about 50 feet into a steep chute, said Jeff Mullenhour, deputy coroner investigator for Inyo County's southern region.
His body was found Friday near Mirror Lake. Authorities believe Likely fell after leaving the trail to attempt a more direct route to his destination, Outpost Camp, which is a half-mile beyond the lake.
Likely had been with two companions at the 14,494-foot Sierra summit. On the descent, he lagged behind them.
The other two hikers used binoculars to watch Likely make his way down the 99-switchback section of the trail between Trail Crest, at 13,645 feet of elevation, and Trail Camp, at 12,000 feet. While he was descending, they decided to proceed to Outpost Camp, 2.5 miles beyond Trail Camp at 10,365 feet, and wait for Likely there.
When he didn't show, the friends searched for him into the morning of June 15 before alerting authorities.
The multiagency effort of ground and aerial crews, numbering nearly 100 people, spent five days searching for Likely. An aerial crew spotted the chute.
Likely had hiked Mount Whitney five times previously and had spent the last 30 years tackling trails with his two friends. They told authorities it was not unusual for him to move at a slower pace.
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