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Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

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: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby Mike M. » Tue Sep 01, 2015 3:50 pm

Best if we all take a deep breath and let the dust settle and the facts come to light over the course of the next week or so -- too much wild speculation here as far as I'm concerned. What we do know is that a hiker on a Sierra Club outing was injured and survived 9 days without food or shelter. That alone is no small miracle. News coverage is notoriously unreliable -- we all know that. The location noted in the Bee graphic is almost certainly an error -- no first-hand reports mention recovery efforts on the east side of the White Divide; all say the activity was east of Courtright Reservoir. For what it is worth, I was hiking in the area from the 11th through the 24th and was quizzed at Post Corral Meadows on the 23rd by two Forest Service employees. They told me the hiker was base camped at Guest Lake.

My reading of the various news stories leads me to believe she fell and broke a leg (multiple fractures). She was found in the Fall Creek drainage, according to what seems to be a very credible news story from a Santa Barbara newspaper, whose reporter interviewed S&R personnel from Santa Barbara. Those personnel were directly involved in the extraction. Another news report identified S&R personnel from Marin County as being the ones who "found" Miyuki.

Mike



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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby maverick » Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:20 pm

Best if we all take a deep breath and let the dust settle and the facts come to light over the course of the next week or so -- too much wild speculation here as far as I'm concerned.


But what are forums for if not discussion, we aren't hurting anyone, and having such discussions may remind folks about the dangerous of the wild. ;)

Meaning of "forums": a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.

Let me also add, that enough of us here, are very familiar with that area, much more so then any news outlet, couple that with the outdoor experience here on HST, our speculation will be much more viable, and closer to reality, any day.
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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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby Mike M. » Tue Sep 01, 2015 7:16 pm

Well, a forum can be many things. But the rich body of experience members of this site bring to the conversation isn't really being used in a constructive way when the conversation devolves to speculating, based on a few early news reports or an erroneous graphic in a newspaper article, where exactly she was found, how many bones were broken, how many yards she had to crawl to get to water, how many days it took her to crawl there, etc.

I too wonder how and where (exactly) this accident happened; we'll learn soon enough as more detailed reports reach us, especially after the hiker is interviewed.

I'm surprised we haven't heard from other members in the Sierra Club outing group she was with.

Some of this is an exercise in critical reading -- can we trust this source? Or was the news story rewritten by a copy editor from an AP wire and were the facts garbled in the process? Did Miyuki wait two days and then decide to crawl to water or did it take her two days to crawl to water? The more information we get, the better we can judge. The ham radio story above is new and rings true. This story: http://www.noozhawk.com/noozhawk/articl ... r_in_sierr adds more credence to the likelihood that the location of the accident was the Fall Creek drainage. But note that in this story, she is said to have broken both legs. This is contrary to other reports. At the post-rescue press conference, we were told she had multiple fractures in one leg.

Mike
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby SSSdave » Tue Sep 01, 2015 9:39 pm

Mike, your opinion seems to be that Internet boards should not discuss issues about people in trouble in the backcountry beyond whatever public information has been disseminated.

As though doing so may have some negative consequences? I just can't imagine what you might be getting at so you are welcome to expand that thinking. There are other outdoor enthusiast boards like summitpost.org where a few others have piped in likewise about people in unknown troubles that did not gain any traction of support and instead members continued to discuss whatever.

It is true that some people may associate the term "speculating" as being a negative regardless of what it is being used for or discussed. On other discussion boards in the past a few people have reacted so thus am mentioning that since at this point I don't understand your position. Certainly negative if people are gossiping and tossing innuendos about other people they don't like and drawing speculative conclusions. For some people that may be the only way they ever use the term so I can understand how they might feel so.

Of course such narrow use would be non-sense. As part of my career, I've been speculating for decades on various reasons why electronic hardware and software isn't working in team settings with engineers and technicians. It is part of a debug and problem solving processes that all manner of professionals use when there is an unknown to be solved. All manner of business news reporters have been speculating this week why the stock market tanked. A term with definite proper uses.

In our case nothing we discuss herein has an impact on what SAR teams are doing unless they directly contact some of us for information. Otherwise what they do is independent and even if some were lurking, they are experts themselves in imaging various scenarios and weighing how valid information may be. If someone draws a negative behavioral conclusion on a person's actions from too limited information and then blames the person on a public board say for doing something potentially stupid then that would be improper. But if on the other hand say if on a board someone says IF a person did such and such, then that would be foolish or stupid, again there ought not be an issue. On the other hand if a someone said that person did something when they didn't have adequate evidence and then were critical of a person in trouble yes that would be improper. For instance if someone drowned in an ice cold freezing stream and someone without any more information said they were fools for trying to cross the stream, that would be flawed because the person may have fallen in by slipping on a slippery rock at the edge while searching for a safe place to cross without any intention to cross at that dangerous point. The accuser would look to be the fool if later other members of the party explained such to news reporters. I don't see any of that on this board over the last few years and when someone isn't quite seeing all the possibilities there are usually other very experienced and intelligent members here that are quick to correct such.

A way that often plays out on this board is late season in October when winter storm fronts begin sweeping down over the range. If a readily available NWS weather report has been available for days and then we read about a group that got caught in snow while not being properly prepared with winter gear such that they had to be rescued, then we don't need to hear some official report before being critical within discussions.

It is very true there are not a few boards on the web where people make sport with all manner of slanderous name calling towards not only people in the news outside their board but also occasionally any newbies that post in the community and "stumble". That would be malicious slanderous speculation. But such is not the attitude here. And in fact such discussions can be productive for a web community because members become familiar with dangers and safe ways to approach them.

David
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby Mike M. » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:23 pm

Here's a link to an account offered by the hiker's family:

http://www.goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntim ... experience

She apparently summited Blackcap Mountain with the group she was dayhiking with and hurt herself in a fall on the way back. She has a broken left leg and a broken right ankle.

Mike
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby Mike M. » Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:34 pm

Here's a copy of Miyuki's statement:

http://dig.abclocal.go.com/kfsn/PDF/Miy ... tement.pdf

It looks like she also has a compression fracture in her spine.

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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby rightstar76 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:37 am

I thought I would add to the discussion. I'm thinking that if the last time she was seen was at Horsehead Lake, she must have headed back to Colt Lake, climbed the ridge separating Bench Valley from Blackcap Basin and then summited Blackcap from the south. She probably decided to return to Guest Lake by traversing west and then north to the trail below McGuire Lakes. Maybe she thought she would meet up with the trail and take it back up to camp. The news stories have said the helicopter was at 9200 elevation and 200 yards from where she was found. The trail is very faint in that area so either she crossed it without realizing it or she overshot where she thought she was going and ended up further west. It now makes sense why the area she was found was outside of the original search area. The searchers were probably focused on the route up to Blackcap and the surrounding area.

The other thing I was thinking was how frustrating it must have been for her to be so close to camp and yet unable to get help. I'm not saying that it would have felt much different if she had gotten hurt further away say if she had done a long dayhike to Goddard Canyon, but to be so close to camp. Wow. I was talking about this with my wife last night and how when we're out hiking we're basically just needles in a haystack. One of the articles said it was a teenager in the Marin SAR who heard the whistle. Nobody else did. This was incredible luck.
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby Mike M. » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:48 am

Here's a link to a heartwarming KCRA story about the rescue effort:

http://www.kcra.com/news/local-news/new ... s/35013860

Thank goodness for that teenager's good hearing!

Mike
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby commonloon » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:01 pm

This may be a bit obvious to some, but I wanted to add one take away I had from this story.

Not whistles are the same! While we may never need it, this is one small piece of gear that we should get right. A LOUD whistle is a better.

I discovered just how inadequate my old whistle was when myself and 2 friends were contouring on a rocky steep hillside. The climber among us had gone a little ahead and myself & the other had lost sight of him. We tried and tried to whistle to him hoping for an acknowledgement back. This hillside had some drop offs so we began to become concerned. Later after reconnecting, we found out he simply never heard us.

After that trip I googled loud whistles and ordered a storm whistle.
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby schmalz » Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:14 pm

Yeah, this story has me looking to re-ad a whistle into my kit.

I also found it slightly amusing that the hiker mentioned that she was lucky to have her water filter and that she actually filtered her water each day with two broken legs. I don't think I'd be too worried about water purity at that point. She is a badass.
Last edited by schmalz on Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby Mike M. » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:48 pm

My kit includes a whistle, which I keep in a pocket of my backpack. But I've never taken it with me on a dayhike; maybe I should. I was thinking the other day about the choices I make when I'm traveling solo in the backcountry -- what I take with me and what I leave at home. It's a pretty robust kit. But when I'm off from a a base camp scrambling up a peak, I take only a very lightweight daypack with a map, a snack, water, and a jacket or long-sleeved shirt; I carry a camera as well (in a case, strapped to my neck).

I too think it's funny how all the news stories focused on the water filter -- as if this saved her life. She in fact was very lucky to find a creek that was flowing. It's very dry up there now.

I assume the S&R team debriefed the members of the Sierra Club outing group as part of the rescue efforts. So I'm surprised no news accounts have mentioned which route Miyuki's group took from Guest Lake (where they were base camped) to the summit of Blackcap Mountain and which route the other members used to return to camp. Did they straggle in near dusk? (Miyuki's letter mentions she left the group because she was concerned it was getting late and she wanted to get back to camp before it got dark.) The Sierra Club appears to have made a conscious decision not to share information about this incident with the news media. Do they feel liable?

Mike
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Postby WarrenFork » Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:02 pm

Mike M. wrote:
Thank goodness for that teenager's good hearing!



My hearing for high frequencies is so shot from age that if I was on that SAR team I doubt I would have heard her whistle at all. As an old climbing buddy of mine said, it's both an illustration of the wisdom of always carrying a whistle in the backcountry and the desirability of having a youngish pair of ears amongst the searchers.
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