Cory Proud, 26, of Tustin was found dead by Sequoia National Park rangers who were investigating a report that a man was in need of medical assistance on the High Sierra Trail. On Friday, May 20, another hiker with Proud had returned to the trailhead and checked in at the Lodgepole Visitor Center at 6:07 p.m.
The hiker’s companion reported to park personnel that Proud was experiencing abdominal pain and immobilized on the High Sierra Trail near Mehrten Creek.
A team of two rangers, one a Parkmedic and the other an EMT, hiked the 5.5 miles from the Crescent Meadow trailhead to the Mehrten Creek crossing. They arrived at about 11:30 p.m. to find the victim deceased.
The body of the hiker was transferred to the Tulare County Coroner’s Office on Saturday, May 21, at 10:40 a.m. A total of 10 park personnel assisted in the search and recovery efforts.
The official cause of death remains under investigation.
This is the second hiker fatality in Sequoia National Park this month. On Thursday, May 12, a solo backpacker was recovered at the base of a waterfall on the Middle Fork Trail.
It is suspected that the victim, David Hallinan, 53, of Santa Monica was attempting to refill his water bottles at Panther Creek, three miles from the trailhead, when he somehow slipped into the water and was swept over the 200-foot waterfall.
UPDATE – JUNE 3, 2016: Details as to how Cory Proud died while hiking the High Sierra Trail two weeks ago remain unknown. Proud, 26, of Tustin, Calif., was found dead by Sequoia National Park search-and-rescue personnel near Panther Creek after a hiking companion reported to Lodgepole rangers that Proud was in distress.
A spokesperson for the Tulare County Coroner’s Office said Proud had a rare pre-existing condition and was prone to aneurisms. When his companion left to get help, Proud was experiencing acute abdominal pain.
Reportedly, there was evidence that Proud had suffered an aneurism. The exact cause of death will not be official for six to eight weeks pending the results of toxicology testing, the Coroner's office reported.