LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The body of a Frenchman who went missing last week was found at the bottom of a cliff at Mt. Whitney in California, according to the National Park Service.
When Tom Gerbier, a pilot for Air France, didn’t show up for his return flight on Wednesday, he was reported missing. Gerbier had started a hike on Tuesday, Oct. 17, from Whitney Portal via the Mountaineering Route.
Gerbier had texted his family Tuesday when he began his hike. He was described as an experienced mountaineer and ultra runner with the gear and ability to complete his intended route, according to a Facebook post by Inyo County Search and Rescue. He had a permit for his hike.
After an air search of the area produced no results on Wednesday, teams from the National Park Service and Inyo County began a search on the ground. The search team found clues that a hiker might have fallen off a cliff known as “The Notch.” Gerbier’s body was spotted from a helicopter that joined the search.
The National Park Service estimated he had fallen about 1,000 feet.
The body was taken to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, where the identity was confirmed. Gerbier was from Fontenay-sous-Bois, a community just east of Paris.
The area lies within the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. It was the second fatality of the year reported inside the parks. It’s about 245 miles west of Las Vegas.
Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet.