Conroe man dies after falling while hiking on snowy California mountain

FILE: The snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains are viewed from Highway 395 at the south end of town on April 6, 2017, near Bishop, California. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
FILE: The snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountains are viewed from Highway 395 at the south end of town on April 6, 2017, near Bishop, California. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) (2017 George Rose)

LONE PINE, Calif. – A Texas man has died after falling to his death while hiking California’s Mount Whitney, authorities announced Wednesday.

Saulo Sifuentes Escalante, 36, of Conroe was reported missing on Sunday when he failed to return from a Thursday day hike to the peak in the Sierra Nevada, according to a statement from the Inyo County Sheriff's Office.

Search and rescue teams aided by a helicopter unsuccessfully scoured the mountain on Monday but on Tuesday used cellphone data records to pinpoint a possible location. A helicopter found Escalante dead in a steep, snowy chute south of a main trail about 11,600 feet (3,536 meters) up the mountain, the Sheriff's Office said.

Escalante apparently had been climbing the chute when he slipped and fell, authorities said.

His body was recovered later that day.

Whitney lies on the boundary of Sequoia National Park and Inyo National Forest and is the most frequently climbed peak in the Sierra Nevada, according to the National Park Service.

It rises to around 14,500 feet (4,420 meters) and is the tallest peak in the U.S. outside of Alaska.

The Park Service advises that climbers need ice axes and crampons in spring and early summer.