1st Avalanche Fatality of 2015/16 Occurs in California | UCLA Student Found Dead in Mt. Whitney Area

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The first avalanche fatality of 2015/16 has occurred in California in the Mt. Whitney region.

The body of a UCLA graduate student who went missing in early November was found buried in avalanche debris on Saturday in the John Muir Wilderness.  The body belongs to 25-year-old UCLA graduate student Micheal David Meyers.

According to Inyo County Sheriff William Lutze, search and rescue crews used Recco to find the body beneath snow in a 60-70 foot long avalanche area.  Micheal had suffered massive injuries during his fall.

“It’s like being in a head-on accident at 100 mph” – Inyo County Sheriff William Lutze

14,497 ft Mount Whitney from the Alabama Hills, Sierra Range, CA in late winter.
14,497 ft Mount Whitney from the Alabama Hills, Sierra Range, CA in late winter.

Micheal was last heard from when he texted his roommate, letting him know that he was headed up to 14,000-foot Mt. Russell in Inyo National Forest.

The Mt. Russell area was being hit by a winter storm at the time dropping heavy snow and winds up to 100mph.

Micheal is reported to have been an experienced hiker and climber.  A detailed itinerary had been drawn up for his trip that was used by search and rescue to locate his body.  Micheal was due back in LA on November 11th.

The search for Micheal began on November 18th when a local resident located Micheal’s car under snow on a service road at the entrance to the Mt. Whitney area.

On November 20th, crews used Recco equipment in the avalanche path to find Micheal’s body.

Micheal was studying physics at UCLA.

“We join together in offering our deepest condolences to all of Michael’s family and friends.” – UCLA


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9 thoughts on “1st Avalanche Fatality of 2015/16 Occurs in California | UCLA Student Found Dead in Mt. Whitney Area

  1. In light of this accident I would love to know why the Inyo National Forest pulled funding from the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and shut it down in the short term. This is an awful tragedy that could have been prevented.

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