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Torrance hiker conquers Mt. Whitney, then falls to his death

Park rangers have recovered the body of a 60-year-old Torrance man who fell to his death after reaching Mt. Whitney's summit over Labor Day weekend, officials said.

Rangers with the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks removed Yukio Kato's body Monday from the bottom of a 200-foot cliff along the Mount Whitney Trail, National Park Service officials said.

Kato fell over the cliff Sunday afternoon on his return from the summit, which he had reached earlier in the day with three other people, officials said.

The cliff, which sits at an elevation of roughly 13,500 feet, is about a mile away from the Mt. Whitney summit, officials said. At 14,497 feet, Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States.

A helicopter and medic were dispatched to the scene Sunday afternoon but postponed the recovery of Kato's body because of "limited daylight hours," park officials said. 

The cause of the fall remains under investigation, officials said, but weather was not believed to be a factor.

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kate.mather@latimes.com

Twitter: @katemather | Google+

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