60-year-old hiker missing in Sierra Nevada range

A search and rescue team was looking for hiker Gary Dankworth at Norman Clyde peak, on the right.
AP Photo/Brian Melley

(CBS/AP) BIG PINE, Calif. - Authorities are searching for a doctor who vanished after telling friends he planned to solo climb a nearly 14,000-foot peak in the Sierra Nevada.

Inyo County sheriff's spokeswoman Carma Roper says rescuers on Monday sought 60-year-old Gary Dankworth, a family physician from Carson City, Nev.

He left friends Saturday afternoon camped at Finger Lake in the John Muir Wilderness of Inyo National Forest to climb 13,855-foot Norman Clyde peak, a difficult endeavor in a rugged Palisades section of the Sierra containing four of California's highest peaks.

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Climbers must scramble off trail over boulder fields, past glaciers and along a ridge with steep drops to reach the base of the mountain just to begin the ascent.

When Dankworth failed to return Sunday morning, his friends hiked out and called for help.

Last week the body of an experienced 31-year-old hiker, Thomas Heng, was found in the Sierra Nevada range, CBS San Francisco affiliate KCBS reported. Sequoia National Park spokeswoman Dana Dierkes told the station Heng separated from two friends during a trek to the top of Mount Langley, one of the mountain range's highest peaks at over 14,000 feet.

Deng's body was found Wedensday in the John Muir Wilderness.