The hiker was identified as Tom Gerbier of Fontenay-sous-Bois, France, who was a pilot for Air France, the park service said in a statement.
The tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney rises 14,494 feet (4,418 meters) on the eastern border of Sequoia National Park and is a difficult but popular hike.
Reported Missing on Wednesday
Gerbier started out at Whitney Portal near Lone Pine early Tuesday and was reported missing when he didn’t show up for his return flight Wednesday, the park service said.
The park service and local authorities sent ground teams to the area Thursday.
The searchers spotted clues that someone may have fallen off a cliff in an area called “The Notch,” and a helicopter crew directed there spotted a motionless person in clothing matching Gerbier’s description.
The body was recovered by helicopter that evening, and the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Gerbier’s identity.
Air France said in a statement that Gerbier had been on a stopover in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“The company offers its most sincere condolences to his family and loved ones,” the airline said.
Hiking Deadly Mount Whitney
Less than 50% of hikers successfully summit Mount Whitney, say search and rescue veterans. In addition, one or two people die every year attempting to scale the peak.