Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area | High Sierra Topix  

Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby LAhiker » Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:40 am

maverick wrote:Mikes dad e-mailed me last night, his helmet was found, no further info is known on where it was found, let's hope this leads to them finding Mike soon!


Glad there's been some progress -- hope they find him soon.



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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby Shawn » Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:53 pm

My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Michael. May he Rest In Peace.

"A passion for the high mountains requires some measure of poetic imagination, a love of beauty for its own sake and the appreciation of achievement totally unrelated to any tangible rewards " - Arthur Oliver Wheeler
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby maverick » Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:24 am

My sincere condolences to the family and friends of Michael. May he Rest In Peace.


Shawn, I have not heard from the family that Mike has been found yet, have you heard otherwise?
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby Shawn » Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:57 am

Sorry Mav, I should have posted more info.

Will Meyers has been updating Facebook. Here is his post from Saturday night, 11/21/15.

Dear Every Member of US 395 / Owens Valley,
The SAR crews have concluded their rescue mission. I have the overwhelmingly unbearable news to report that Michael did not make it out alive from the Meysan lake area.
We as a family are absolutely devastated. But we are also thankful that they did in fact find him, and knowing that we were able to recover him has begun our long process of closure.
Michael may have been an experienced hiker, but he was definitely unorthodox. He was always striving to go above and beyond, he always was. If he set a goal or was driven to do something, he would.
Mountain climbing gave him a rush from his physics work. In the end, we know he died doing what he loved, and according the SAR, painless too.
I would like to thank the members of US 395 / Owens Valley. I have no idea who any of you are, yet you treated and prayed for Michael like family, and the gratitude that must be expressed for that cannot be said in words.
We are shaken. We are tired. We have a long recovery ahead of us. We know Michael is in a better place, and we believe his spirit is still with us. I like to believe that he will watch over anyone visiting the area from here on out.
Love you Michael, you're here in spirit, and someday after a good long life, I will see you again.
Thank You, Everyone. God Bless.
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby LAhiker » Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:53 am

Shawn, thanks for posting this. That's a very gracious statement to the 395/Owens Valley FB group.

This is very sad. My condolences to Michael's family and friends.

Thanks to everyone who gathered info and to Maverick for publicizing this and helping the family. I'm sure they appreciated your caring and expertise. And thanks to SAR for their dedication and good work.
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby maverick » Sun Nov 22, 2015 4:07 pm

Thanks Shawn for posting that, was out of town and had limited web access. Sparky pm-ed me about whether there was any plans on going up, after talking to Mikes cousin I became convinced that Mike had gone ahead with the climb, and was planning to contact some folks today to put together a posse to search next weekend, this of course was dependant on whether SAR had suspended their search, and that the weather conditions allowed for a search.
Glad to read SAR found him, and that the family will be able to start with their grieving process, there is nothing worse than not having some kind of closure, which is why the Greene incident needs to be solved.
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby oldranger » Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:59 pm

This is really sad, the cause caught me totally by surprise,

Myers' body was located on Saturday and the Inyo County Coroner's Office confirmed on Monday that he was killed in an avalanche.


With so little snow I didn't even consider an avalanche as a possibility. On reflection with reports of 70 mph winds that weekend a cornice could have easily built up, broken off, then gathered and pulled downhill the few inches of snow on the ground. Never again will I discount the possibility of avalanches after just a few inches of the first snow of the season!

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Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby whatmeworry » Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:40 pm

oldranger wrote:This is really sad, the cause caught me totally by surprise,

Myers' body was located on Saturday and the Inyo County Coroner's Office confirmed on Monday that he was killed in an avalanche.


With so little snow I didn't even consider an avalanche as a possibility. On reflection with reports of 70 mph winds that weekend a cornice could have easily built up, broken off, then gathered and pulled downhill the few inches of snow on the ground. Never again will I discount the possibility of avalanches after just a few inches of the first snow of the season!

Mike
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While cornices may be one of the obvious signs of danger it is the subtle wind loading of slopes that create significant areas of risk that are easy to miss. The wind can move a lot of snow to create areas of deep unstable snow. If you travel in the mountains during the winter you should understand the key factors associated with weather, snowfall and topography that influence avalanche risk. Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper is a good intro. Mountaineering Freedom of the Hills also hits on the basics. If you are a serious winter traveler take an AIARE class.
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby Beantown » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:21 am

Wind loading and weather contribute to conditions for avys and on terrain that can produce them. You don't need much snow.

I took avy1 last year and the book we used is snow sense. It's really good.
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby gdurkee » Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:03 pm

Yes. I second the recommendations to study and be aware of snow avalanches. It's actually rare they're triggered by a cornice, though that would be one indication of a wind loaded slope. The wind drives the snow over a ridge and the downdraft compacts it in the zone below the ridge. You get both increased deposition (vs. whatever the storm is dumping) and a denser layer formed. If that dense layer is on top of a weaker layer and the slope is sufficient, it can release. When travelling, keep an eye out for other releases and fracture lines; also sudden "whumps" of snow slabs settling. Bad sign. Very bad sign... . Doesn't take much deposition to slide and bury a person.

Early season avalanches are not uncommon especially because there are sometimes people out without the training and awareness, considering them "only" a winter phenomenon.
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby maverick » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:09 pm

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 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Postby rlown » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:52 pm

Even if he had a second and didn't read the chute correctly, there'd be more gone. RIP.

Nice job SAR!
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