8PM UPDATE: MISSING HIKER FOUND ALIVE!
Press release from Sequoia & Kings National Parks :
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. May 23, 2021 – A high-elevation search and rescue operation ended happily this evening when ground searchers successfully located missing hiker Edward Lee Alderman in the vicinity of Timberline Lake, several miles west of the summit of Mount Whitney. Mr. Alderman is reported to be alert, despite injuries, fatigue, and exposure to sub-freezing temperatures.
Mr. Alderman was reported missing on Friday, after failing to return from his hike to the summit of Mount Whitney on Thursday, May 20. Helicopters searched the area from the air on Saturday, and ground searchers were deployed on Sunday, once a late-season winter storm cleared the area.
Mr. Alderman was located with the help of a tip from hikers who reported having heard a voice in the vicinity of Timberline Lake early this morning. Helicopter 552 from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks has evacuated Mr. Alderman from the wilderness and is delivering him to medical care.
“We are thrilled and relieved to report that Mr. Alderman is alive, safe, and on his way to definitive medical care,” says Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Incident Commander Dave Fox. “With large numbers of people heading into the wilderness this summer, we urgently remind everyone to prepare carefully for their trips and understand that there are real risks out there. We know that Mr. Alderman and his loved ones have been through a lot in the last few days and we’re so glad he’s going home.”
ORIGINAL POST: 5:16PM
As of 4:00 pm today, Sunday, May 23, the latest missing hiker on Mt. Whitney, Edward Lee Alderman, has not been found according to the response from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office to Sierra Wave News request for an update. It was only a month ago that Sierra Wave News reported on yet another hiker, also from Texas, Saulo Sifuentes Escalante, 36, from Conroe, Texas was reported missing on April 15th and later found dead by search and rescue on Wednesday, April 23, 2021.
Despite repeated appeals, warning and advice from local search and rescue groups, the spate of missing hiker reports over the past year, several of them fatal, continues. Now, yet another hiker is imperiled.
Edward Lee Alderman, 33, of Austin, Texas was last seen around 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, leaving the summit of the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. The search is on for a Texas man last seen descending California’s Mount Whitney on May 20.
According to a May 22nd press release from Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park:
“Reportedly, Mr. Alderman’s intention was to summit Mount Whitney and descend to Trail Camp in a single day,” said a statement from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “He began the day with a hiking partner, but they separated when Mr. Alderman was still approaching the summit. Mr. Alderman was reported missing by his hiking partner in the morning on Friday, May 21.”
A winter storm on Friday and Saturday hampered the ground search efforts of the National Park Service and the Inyo County Sherriff’s Office joint efforts. The ground search continued today, Sunday, May 23, with better weather forecast.
Alderman is described as six feet tall with brown hair and brown eyes and was last seen wearing a black puffy jacket, grey shell, khaki pants, and black trail runners.
The NPS is asking anyone who hiked the Mount Whitney area between May 20-22 to contact them, even if you do not believe you saw Alderman. Anyone with information is asked to call Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks dispatch at 888-677-2746 or email [email protected].
I don’t know if this matters in this case or not, but…The Eastern Sierra visitor center was a great resource when it used to be open. I remember a lot of people used to go there for information and permits before climbing/ hiking Mt. Whitney. By going all virtual with… Read more »
More people, more problems. You can bank on it.
I can’t understand why these solo hikers do not carry a Spot, Inreach or other satellite beacon. They are cheap and potentially life saving.
Rick, that’s what we do and we do it safely and willingly. Don’t spoil our success by trying shame the folks we are helping. And don’t pretend you’ve never taken a risk in your life!
I have the utmost respect for what you and your team mates do , do it well , and do it out of the goodness of your heart . What I don’t respect is people that go into the wilderness under equipped and un-prepared . Please don’t tell me that… Read more »
People hike the Sierra’s all year long. Search and rescue work all year long. They volunteer to do this. It’s what they do, rescue people that get into trouble in the backcountry. Good job s & r. To much ice on the trail c’mon like people can’t hike on the… Read more »
These climbers don’t seem to consider the risks that the rescue/recovery personell have to endure when they decide to tackle a trail that is obviously covered in ice . It’s TOO early to do this safely , especially when they abandon their partner & do it alone .Now the volunteer… Read more »
“These climbers”? Who would they be? The east side of Whitney does have a couple places where ice might be a problem, but if Alderman was already injured (?) descending to the west (which he did) would indicate he was considering the risks. It’s easier to get down to timberline… Read more »