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Bodies of missing hikers recovered, identified after disappearing on hike up California's highest peak: report

The bodies of two hikers who went missing while climbing California's tallest peak were recovered following a 24-hour search-and-rescue effort, authorities confirmed to the Fresno Bee.

The bodies of two missing hikers, who were last seen going on a hike up California's highest peak, have been recovered and identified, authorities announced.

Tulare County Sheriff's Office officials told the Fresno Bee that the couple, identified as Andrew Niziol, 28, a resident of South Lake Tahoe, and Patty Bolan, 29, were on a long-term hiking trip across the state of California.

Around 8:30 p.m., on Monday, May 7, Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch received a call regarding two overdue hikers on Mt. Whitney.

Officials said it was reported that the hikers intended to descend to the "Notch" with the intention of skiing/snowboarding from the "Notch" back to Upper Boy Scout Lake where they had set up camp. However, when Bolan and Niziol failed to report back to camp after several hours, other hikers who were in their group notified authorities.


Search and rescue teams were then deployed using helicopter and foot teams to search for the missing hikers. 

The couple’s bodies were reportedly found five days later on the north face of Mount Whitney after a search crew found two "fall victims" at an elevation of 13,200 feet, the Fresno Bee reported. 

According to social media posts made by Niziol and Bolan, six days prior to their Mount Whitney trip, the couple hiked and snowboarded around Mount Shasta but were unable to summit the Northern California peak due to high winds.

"We may not have made it to the peak due to weather (this time), but it still was a great time on Shasta! It's so incredible to have someone to do all these amazing things with on a whim. You make me so happy! Now onto Mt. Whitney in a few days!" Niziol wrote in a post on Facebook on May 2. 

Detectives with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched on Thursday morning to Lone Pine in Inyo to retrieve the bodies, a spokesperson for the Tulare County Coroner’s Office told the Fresno Bee. 


Officials told Fox News Digital they did not have any further details about the circumstances surrounding the hiker’s death but stated that Tulare County examiners would be taking over the investigation. 

"If I could go back in time and show 12-year-old me what my life is now, I'd make myself so proud. This is the kind of living I've dreamed about for 15 years. I've finally surrounded myself with people to share these types of experiences with and I couldn't be more thankful," Niziol wrote in post on Facebook five days earlier. "So thank you @type2kyle for picking out the routes and making the plans, and @p.bolan for being the most fun person I've ever met." 

Mount Whitney, whose highest peak reaches 14,494, is located inside the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National parks. It is considered the tallest mountain in the "lower 48" states, according to the National Parks Service website.

Because it is the most frequently climbed mountain peak in the Sierra Nevada, the National Parks Service states that a permit system is in place to minimize the impact of day-hikers on Mt. Whitney's backcountry. All hikers entering the Mt. Whitney zone, including day-hikers, are also required to obtain a permit.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Tulare County Sheriff's Office, but did not hear back.

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