Officials Issue Warning to California Hikers Following Three Tragic Deaths

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office has issued a stark warning about the perils of hiking in early spring conditions following the deaths of three hikers on Mount Whitney.

This warning comes after a particularly tragic week where two hikers, 28-year-old Andrew Niziol and 29-year-old Patty Bolan, were found deceased on the north face of the mountain. A third hiker, whose name has not been released, also died from injuries sustained from a falling rock on the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek Trail.

These incidents show the hazardous conditions that can prevail on California’s highest peak, especially during the early spring. The Sheriff’s Office highlighted the presence of “treacherous steep snow, loose rock, and variable weather” which can make the mountain particularly dangerous this time of year.

The Office wrote on Facebook: “Early spring conditions prevail on the mountain, with treacherous steep snow, loose rock, and variable weather.”

“Parties venturing onto Mt. Whitney should stay together, turn around before deteriorating conditions become unmanageable, make responsible decisions, and be prepared and fit.”

Niziol and Bolan were experienced hikers, embarking on a challenging “experts only” route in Sequoia National Park when they tragically lost their lives. They had been separated from their friend, Ethan Michael Cannaert, during their descent, which illustrates the ease with which even prepared hikers can find themselves in peril.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, together with the Inyo County Search and Rescue and the support of the California Highway Patrol Central Division Air Operations Group, responded to these tragic events. They have since emphasized the importance of hikers making responsible decisions, staying together, and being adequately prepared and fit for the demanding conditions of Mount Whitney.

Active NorCal

Telling the Stories of Northern California

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