BRIDGEPORT (AP) – Authorities say two women were killed while climbing an icy canyon on California’s Red Slate Mountain.

The Mono County Sheriff’s Office says a helicopter crew spotted the bodies Monday at an elevation of about 12,000 feet (3,650 meters).

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Because of high winds and steep terrain recovery efforts were delayed until the following day.

The sheriff’s office identified the climbers as 22-year-old Michelle Xue of Los Angeles and 34-year-old Jennifer Shedden of Mammoth Lakes, California.

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Officials say the women, who were prepared and well-equipped, were likely struck by falling rocks on the peak in the Sierra above Convict Lake.

The search began after the pair didn’t return as planned on Sunday.

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Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.