mount shasta
Patty Bolan, left, and Andrew Niziol posing on Mount Shasta in a picture shared about five days before they were reported missing. Credit: Andrew Niziol/Instagram

Missing Couple Found Dead on Mount Whitney

California authorities say the two hikers who went missing earlier this week on Mount Whitney were found dead. The Sacramento Bee reported that the two hikers were 28-year-old Andrew Niziol and 29-year-old Patty Bolan. Both were avid outdoorsmen and appeared to be dating.

In a statement, the Inyo County Sheriff's Office said a search and rescue team started looking for the couple on May 7 after a friend said they did not return to camp. They were traveling along the Mount Whitney Mountaineer Route and were planning to descend by skis or snowboard.

According to reports, the friend, Ethan Michael Connaert, wrote in a Facebook group dedicated to the mountain that he got separated from the couple on an extremely steep and icy pitch just beneath the summit.

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A post shared by Andrew Niziol (@3_putt_4_par)

Connaert said he expected to run into them at "the notch," which is a route where climbers stop and rest and take in the view, but they never showed. "I waited there for over an hour and was forced to move down the chute to escape the cold wind, but never saw them," Cannaert wrote.

Outside of what has been reported, details about the incident are scarce. At 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney, located within the Sierra Nevada range, is the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. Deaths on the mountain reportedly average about two per year.

Both Niziol and Bolan had active social media pages. In a post dated May 4 — three days before they went missing — Niziol wrote that he had been living the life he always dreamt about. "If I could go back in time and show 12-year-old me what my life is now, I'd make myself so proud," he wrote.

Bolan, who reportedly just earned a doctorate in physics at UC Davis, applauded "a rad couple of days" on Mount Shasta, located about 500 miles north of Mount Whitney, in a post dated May 3.

An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the Tulare County Sheriff because the couple was found in Tulare County.