The 60-year-old man who went missing during a descent from Mt. Whitney had hiked the area five times before, the Inyo County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
John Likely of Dumont, N.J., never appeared off the Mt. Whitney Trail after two friends waited for him below at the Outpost Camp. The trio hiked together for nearly 30 years and frequented Mt. Whitney, Inyo County sheriff's spokeswoman Carma Roper said in an email Wednesday.
Likely was last seen wearing a red San Francisco 49ers baseball cap, a black jacket, dark-colored shorts and a small backpack. He has gray hair and no facial hair, a news release said.
Wednesday marks the fourth day of the search effort, which amassed 70 ground and aerial crew members. Team members have backtracked the path Likely and his two friends hiked on the Mt. Whitney Trail, which is 10.7 miles long to the 14,494-feet summit.
Crew members have spent 10 to 15 hours each day looking for Likely.
"We are still treating this mission as a rescue versus a recovery," said Inyo County Assistant Search and Rescue Coordinator Brian Hohenstein in a news release.
The Shirley fire burning southwest of Lake Isabella has caused visibility issues for air support provided by the Sequoia-Kings National Park and the
Winds have reached 60 mph in some areas, causing temperatures to drop into the teens at night, said Chris Stachelski, a meteorologist with the
On Saturday, Likely's friends last saw him near the cable rails on the 99-switchback section when Likely began moving at a slower pace. The friends moved ahead of Likely, which was not unusual, and watched him through binoculars. When Likely didn't appear at the Outpost Camp that night, his friends scoured the area for him that night and Sunday morning before alerting authorities.
This year, the Inyo County Sheriff's Office has been involved in nearly 12 successful searches on Mt. Whitney. There was one death in January, Roper wrote in an email.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Inyo County sheriff's dispatch at (760) 878-0383.