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Searchers find hiker’s remains

August 1, 2014

The search ended this week for 75-year-old Dawson Johnson, a hiker who disappeared Tuesday while hiking to and from Mt. Whitney.
Johnson’s remains were spotted by helicopter in Sequoia National Park on the north slope of Mt. Whitney (approximately 13,300 feet in elevation) just before nightfall on Thursday.
It’s believed Johnson fell in “a very rocky and steep area” of the mountain.
According to Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks Public Information Officer Dana Dierkes, the cause of the accident is under investigation. Johnson’s remains have been transferred to the Tulare County Coroner’s Office.
Johnson, a resident of Redwater, Texas, had been hiking with his wife when he decided to set out on his own July 29 to hike to Guitar Lake then Mt. Whitney and back to Lower Crabtree Meadow. He was supposed to be back that same day.
He was last seen about 3 p.m. Tuesday by other hikers between Trail Crest and the summit of Mt. Whitney.
When he failed to return by the morning of June 30, Johnson’s wife hiked to the nearest ranger station to let a wilderness ranger know Johnson had not returned to Lower Crabtree Meadow.
The Park Service initiated a search in the area of Mt. Whitney and Guitar Lake.
According to Dierkes, a total of 39 National Park Service employees from Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks worked on search-and-rescue and recovery operations Wednesday through Friday.

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