Sept. 22, 2016 – On the morning of Tuesday, September 20, 2016, park dispatchers were notified by the Inyo County Sherrif’s Department of a missing person presumably in Kings Canyon National Park. Alfred Kwok, a 50-year-old male from Claremont, CA, was reported overdue from a solo wilderness trip that was planned to conclude on Sunday, September 18, 2016.
Based on interviews with people who had knowledge of his itinerary and information on his wilderness permit, Mr. Kwok, a professor at Pomona College, was planning on hiking from Onion Valley in Inyo National Forest into Kings Canyon National Park via Kearsarge Pass. He was then going to climb Deerhorn Mountain and return the same way.
At approximately 1:50 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, a helicopter assigned to search the area spotted a man’s body on the upper southwest face of Deerhorn Mountain. The body was recovered on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 and transferred to Tulare County Coroner’s Office at approximately 12:30 p.m. He was identified as Mr. Kwok.
Deerhorn Mountain, at 13,270 feet, is an alpine peak in the rugged backcountry of the southern portion of Kings Canyon National Park. It is located about two miles west of the Pacific Crest and John Muir trails.
The cause and circumstances of his death remain under investigation. A total of 16 park staff assisted with the search and recovery operations.
Editor’s note: A remembrance of Professor Kwok can be read here.