The National Park Service reports that in recent, separate incidents both a hiker and a climber have fallen to their deaths on icy routes in California’s Sequoia National Park.
On Saturday, May 5th, two people hiking on Mount Whitney told rangers they had found a couple of ice axes and what appeared to be a blood trail leading to a body about 1,500 to 2,000 feet below the axes. The same day, two other people reported that their friend had not returned from a solo summit attempt via the Mountaineers Route.
The second fatality was reported on Sunday, May 13th. The park says 29-year-old Anton Dokov of San Diego was killed when he slipped on the Watchtower section of the Lakes Trail and plunged over a cliff. It took rangers two days to retrieve his body as icy conditions forced them to turn around during their initial recovery effort.
Authorities warn that the park still has winter conditions at higher elevations.
“Although we’re getting warmer weather in the valley, conditions at higher elevations are still very cold with snow and ice. Even the most experienced hikers with the best gear can encounter challenges in these conditions,” said Chris Trotter, U.S. Park Ranger.