Climber found dead a day after he was supposed to meet wife at California trailhead

Inyo County Search and Rescue

A climber had plans to meet his wife at a California trailhead after descending a mountain peak, but he never made it.

Instead, a hiker found Marc Rockwell-Pate’s body Nov. 12 on Mount Agassiz, a day after he was reported missing, the Inyo County Search and Rescue said in a Facebook post.

Rockwell-Pate, an experienced climber, hiker and U.S. Navy veteran with “extensive survival training,” set out to reach the summit of the nearly 14,000-foot mountain, the search and rescue team said on Facebook.

When he reached the top on Nov. 11, Rockwell-Pate called his father-in-law and said he was headed back to the trailhead where he would meet his wife, rescuers said.

But he never showed up, rescuers said.

A helicopter scanned the area the following day and rescuers searched for him on foot, but they couldn’t find him or any clues about his whereabouts, rescuers said.

Additionally, a high-altitude infrared and thermal imaging plane was used to look for Rockwell-Pate for two hours, but it also couldn’t find him.

A hiker later discovered his body at about 11 p.m. that day on the west side of the mountain, at an elevation of about 12,800 feet, rescuers said.

His body was hoisted off the mountain by a helicopter Nov. 13 and taken to the coroner’s office, rescuers said.

“Our heart are broken but we know he was doing something he loved at the time. Please keep all of his family in your prayers,” Rockwell-Pate’s step-mother Theresa Rominger-Pate said in a Facebook post.

“There are no words to describe the feeling of devastation we have over losing Marc,” Rockwell-Pate’s mother-in-law, Barbara Kelly, wrote in a Facebook post. “Marc did not suffer. He was doing what he loved. The mountains just took him far too soon.”

Mount Agassiz is part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The peak is about 80 miles northeast of Fresno.

The climb is considered challenging and requires scrambling on steep terrain that has loose talus and boulders, according to AllTrails.

The 12.8-mile out-and-back hike includes an elevation gain of 4,219 feet.

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