Inyo Sheriff Search and Rescue Coordinator Sgt. Keith Hardcastle reports that a climber in the Mt. Whitney Region fell to his death over the weekend while attempting to climb the 14,000 foot Mt. Russell.

The climber, 50 year old Charles Duerig from the Bay area, had set out with a partner to climb the peak Saturday morning. When the climbing partner, Greg Zaffroni, turned around due to sickness, Duerig continued on to climb. When Deurig did not return to the car at Whitney Portal by Sunday afternoon, Zaffroni called the Sheriffs Department.

The Inyo Sheriffs Department and the National Park Service searched the Mt. Russell area by helicopter and spotted the body of Charles Duerig at 12,500 feet of elevation in a canyon northwest of Boy Scout Lake.

Sheriff Officials report that during a break in the recent thunderstorms Monday, Inyo Search and Rescue Volunteers were flown into the area by helicopter. The rescue climbers recovered the body and flew the remains out by chopper.

How or why the victim fell is not known, but Sheriff officials report that the body was not found in the usual approach or descent routes that climbers use to summit Mt. Russell.

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