Hiker Killed By Falling Rock Near Mount Whitney In California

USA, California, Mount Whitney

Photo: Ed Freeman / Stone / Getty Images

A hiker was killed by a falling rock near Mount Whitney in California, marking the third fatality in the region this week. The Inyo County Sheriff's Office confirmed the incident happened Sunday morning (May 12) in the North Fork area of Lone Pine Creek, according to a Monday (May 13) news release.

Inyo County Search and Rescue deployed search and rescue teams to the scene, and officials determined the hiker died from their severe injuries. A California Highway Patrol helicopter airlifted the victim's body from the mountain and transported it to Lone Pine. The body was handed over to the Inyo County Coroner's Office.

The victim hasn't been identified as of Tuesday (May 14).

The bodies of two missing hikers were found last week in the Notch area of Mount Whitney's Mountaineer Route. The climbers were identified as 28-year-old Andrew Niziol and 29-year-old Patricia Bolan. The victims were a couple on an extended hiking trip, and Bolan is a recent doctoral graduate in physics from the University of California Davis, according to SFGate.

The recent fatalities prompted officials to warn people about venturing on Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the lower 48 states.

"Early spring conditions prevail on the mountain, with treacherous steep snow, loose rock, and variable weather," the sheriff's office wrote on Facebook. "Parties venturing onto Mt. Whitney should stay together, turn around before deteriorating conditions become unmanageable, make responsible decisions, and be prepared and fit."