Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP | High Sierra Topix  

Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Use this forum to stay informed on missing persons alerts, active SAR's and unfortunate hiker accidents we can all hopefully learn from. Any information you may have on a missing person, including first hand weather related information or any other insight (however little) may prove to be critical information to Law Enforcement / SAR in locating the person in question.
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby maverick » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:22 pm

Thanks Matt for this info and your PM, great first post by bringing us this
good news! :nod:
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby schmalz » Wed Oct 01, 2014 5:49 pm

Nice!
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby SSSdave » Wed Oct 01, 2014 7:02 pm

Much thanks to all SAR heroes!

Fine looking young couple. Our hearts go out for your safe return.

Image
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby JohnS » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:17 pm

Another hiker had taken their picture during the trip. Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP posted it on their Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sequoia- ... 8212106571

Fox5 in San Diego reports the couple and rescue teams will be walking down the mountain Thursday morning. Good news for all.

John
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby SEKI Public Affairs » Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:52 am

Overdue Hikers Found

Searchers located two missing hikers in a remote area of Kings Canyon National Park late in the afternoon on Wednesday, Oct. 1. Rommel and Marisol Pompa are in good condition. Five rescuers assisted the couple Wednesday evening and will hike out with them on Thursday, Oct. 2.

The Pompas’ wilderness permit indicated they planned to hike the Rae Lakes Loop, departing from Cedar Grove on Sept. 25 via the Woods Creek trail and returning Sept. 29 on the Bubbs Creek trail. Information from other hikers helped to focus the search area. The Charlotte Creek drainage, where searchers found them, is within the area of their intended route. In addition to teams on foot, searchers used the park helicopter and horse patrols.
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby SSSdave » Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:56 am

Speculating, reads like they visually lost the trail south of Glen Pass due to new snow cover, didn't use a topographic map if they had one, then simply walked down the drainage in front of them. That would bring them beside Charlotte Lake which was probably deserted considering the storm and then down the very gradual Charlotte Creek meadows beyond which would certainly be empty. If they had continued down where the valley drops off into the Bubbs Creek, they would have gotten stuck negotiating an increasingly steep and narrowing gorge.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.77605,-118.44437&z=14&t=T

A couple of us backpacked down that in the late 90s and even in summer it is a quite difficult effort requiring close attention to the topo which is one of the USGS maps in meters and thus deceptively steeper than it appears. The creek bed itself is often too rugged to get near so one must traverse up on steep often brushy slopes. Climbers use the route to reach Charlotte Dome.

The wise decision with a fall storm possible if one had reached Rae Lakes in such a situation would be to reverse, going back down the Woods Creek Trail where the elevation decreases as one would with certainty drop below the snow line. There have been previous scenarios in the past where groups stubbornly gamble going back over high passes often the Sierra Crest in order to reach their vehicles at Eastern Sierra trailheads. The wiser tact if one in fact does not know what the weather holds is to simply descend lower to a western trailhead. Sometimes these fall storms last more than just a couple days when the Jetstream keeps pushing troughs along.
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby limpingcrab » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:15 am

Matt (mgeis),

Any chance you were napping in your car at the trailhead Friday night? A friend and I were there also, planning a climb on saturday, but we left after being rained on that night.

When I got up to relieve myself I saw someone leaving very early in running shorts and guessed there was a loop in a day person. Just curious if that was you and if you had a good time in spite of the weather? Small world!

-Daniel
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby mgeis » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:48 am

Daniel -- that was my partners sleeping in the truck! Small world! It's certainly one of us you would have seen in running gear (small packs, headlamps, etc.).

I was off in a small tent behind the rock near the bear boxes. Fortunately, one of my partners talked me into using her tent instead of cowboy camping as I'd intended! We were up at 4, hit the trail at 5:15. Weather was cooperative until 2 (at the top of the pass it was clear, but an hour later at the lakes it was snowing).

Our plan was to run as much as we could on the 24 or so downhill miles, but the terrain is not easily runnable. I had a minor altitude headache, so while fast hiking felt fine, the jarring act of running did not (at least not until I'd dropped down to 9000'). We had a lot of fun, and I wrapped up my day at 9. Spent a cold 90 minutes waiting for my partners to come in, breaking up the monotony with some push-ups and squats to stay warm. Actually got some running in during the last 15 miles, but wow, taking that trail quickly in the dark takes a level head.

I was reminded of the following:

1. Don't go too fast. There's always going to be a rock waiting to ambush you, or worse, a hairpin turn (there was one on some slick rock next to Woods Creek where the trail went right 90 degrees behind a boulder, and the trajectory straight ahead would have sent me over a cliff into the creek and onto the rocks below).

2. If you think you've lost the trail, you probably have. Again, there was a slick rock part just north of Mist Falls where the trail felt like it went to the right, but in reality it did a 180-degree hairpin to the left. I saw some stuff that looked like **maybe** it was the trail, but knew better and backtracked to solve that puzzle over again.

Those are a couple lessons I learned hiking the PCT in 2002, and I'm glad to see they stuck with me.
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby mgeis » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:52 am

@sssdave, your speculation makes perfect sense. I saw them at the lakes at about 2, not moving quickly. Assume hitting the pass at 4, plenty of time for snow to cover the trail. The countours the trail follows are easy enough to figure out as you head north past the two tarns, but after that, it'd be very easy to drop into Charlotte Lake basin (there's a pancake-flat section between the last tarn and the trail out to Kearsarge Pass where it would just totally vanish).
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby acorad » Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:01 am

mgeis wrote: The countours the trail follows are easy enough to figure out as you head north past the two tarns, but after that, it'd be very easy to drop into Charlotte Lake basin (there's a pancake-flat section between the last tarn and the trail out to Kearsarge Pass where it would just totally vanish).


Would this be a good place for some ducks?

Andy
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby Jimr » Thu Oct 02, 2014 1:12 pm

I think it's a case for knowing how to use your map, gps, whatever you use.
What?!
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Re: Search Underway for Missing Hikers in Kings Canyon NP

Postby maverick » Thu Oct 02, 2014 1:36 pm

And the ducks most likely would not have made any difference in the snow.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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