A California man, who earlier in the day had summited Mount Whitney, was killed when he fell about 200 feet while heading back to the Whitney Portal Trailhead.
Sequoia National Park officials say 60-year-old Yukio Kato, from Torrance, California, died on Sunday. His body was recovered Monday by Sequoia rangers along with personnel from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Inyo National Forest, and Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
According to a park release, Mr. Kato and three others had reached the summit of Mount Whitney and were on their way back to the trailhead about 1:30 p.m. Sunday when he fell over a cliff from the Mount Whitney Trail about one mile from the summit at 13,500 feet above sea level.
The Dispatch Office at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks received the initial report of the incident from the Inyo County Sherriff’s Department at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. At approximately 4:40 p.m. the same day, the Park Service dispatched a contract helicopter and a park medic to the accident scene, while nearby U.S. Forest Service wilderness rangers walked with other members of the hiking party back to the Whitney Portal trailhead.
Due to limited daylight hours, the body recovery wasn't completed until Monday.
The cause of the fall is under investigation. Weather is not considered to be a factor.