Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker (Resolved)

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: Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progres

Post by limpingcrab » Thu Oct 27, 2016 5:24 pm

Does anyone know whether there are caves located in the Barrett Lakes and/or Dusy Basin areas?
If you mean real caves then I doubt it. I don't know of any marble/limestone in that area and none is shown on my geology maps. If you mean sheltered areas or overhangs then there are probably an infinite number. There are huge areas of car sized boulders out there with countless places to take shelter, as well as small cliff bands that overhang at the base That's probably what makes this search so difficult.

I was up there Tuesday and Thursday and it was often slow going trying to be thorough. My team was trying to fill in gaps around the "DUSY BASIN" text in the GPS tracking map you posted. Interesting to see that, by the way, thanks for posting.








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Re: Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progres

Post by maverick » Thu Oct 27, 2016 5:57 pm

If you mean real caves then I doubt it.
Yeah, Durkee confirmed that there are no caves in either basin, and he should know after spending over a decade at LeConte and then another several as a snow surveyor in that same area.
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Re: Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progres

Post by oldranger » Thu Oct 27, 2016 9:38 pm

One of the tracks on the map is across lake 11523. Does this mean the lake is frozen or just an error? If frozen how solid for that lake and any others that are in the area. If dogs are not alerting this could be a situation of falling through the ice. Also are the routes down to deer meadow extremely channeled as it appears that that general area was covered by only 3 or 4 search paths? also it appears that some of the purple tracks are in fact from a helicopter.
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Re: Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progres

Post by fishmonger » Fri Oct 28, 2016 6:00 am

The coloring of the tracks appears to show some helicopter tracks as ground tracks. I doubt the lakes are frozen already.

Not a lot of searching on the east side of the pass, marked here as "rest of world. It shows hardly any GPS tracks on the Owens Valley side. I recall the search for Larry was also focused on the areas inside of the park, only to then find remains much later on the east side of Taboose. I know there's not a lot of ground to cover along the pass trail down to South Lake, but I hope somebody looked for signs of him off the trail around possible camp locations east of the pass.

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Re: Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progres

Post by LAhiker » Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:02 am

Fishmonger, I think the maps that have been posted only show the searches by SEKI SAR (presumably in conjunction with other agencies) within the park. As far as I know, Inyo SAR has done a lot of searching east of the pass. It would be interesting to see their GPS maps as well, if they make them.

Back on 10/22, the Inyo County Sheriff's Office posted the following map of the general areas of their search on Facebook -- I'm guessing that the red line encloses an area of greater searching and the yellow line a more lightly searched area, but I don't know for sure.
https://www.facebook.com/InyoCountySher ... =3&theater

The Inyo County Sheriff's map includes the location of Mr. Woodie's car, next to South Lake; I've heard that the car has been taken to the Inyo SAR Posse hut, presumably for safekeeping.

I agree that on the SEKI SAR map, a couple of the helicopter tracks to seem to be shown as ground tracks. Either that or a searcher didn't turn off their GPS when they flew out?

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Re: Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progres

Post by limpingcrab » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:42 am

I think many of the odd purple lines were from searchers leaving their GPS' on during the helicopter flight.

Maverick, do you know if the purple lines include the DeLorme InReach tracks? SEKI issued those as well as GPS units and I don't know if they were on 5 or 10 minute tracking intervals but 10 minute intervals could explain some of the other anomalies , like tracks across lakes.

Also, anyone know of any webcams or weather stations that show the current conditions around there? Wondering how this storm is effecting the search area.

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Re: Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progres

Post by maverick » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:56 am

These are only the SEKI SAR tracks, no Inyo SAR tracks are included. Have made a request to Inyo for them to be posted, but have not heard back from the PIO yet.

In the process of finding out whether the search will be suspended for the season because of the series of storms heading in, once I get the official word it will be immediately posted.
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Re: Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progres

Post by marymaryland » Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:08 am

Late chiming in; sorry about that. I wrote a reply yesterday and thought I posted it, but don't see it up, so I'll re-write. I have spent quite a bit of time in the Barrett Lakes basin, as it was one of my field sites in 2015. It looks like the SAR team covered all the ground I have to mention, but just in case another voice from the peanut gallery is useful...
Where would you have gone if your tent failed in the Barrett Lakes Basin and you needed to find shelter quickly, out of the extreme elements?
If no lightning/thunder, I'd have holed up under one of the many overhanging boulder bivvies below the largest two lakes. I saved a waypoint at a couple of them for my own reference as a good foul-weather bivy: 11s 363744 4105046 OR 363669 4105258 (+/- 100m to be safe), but I'd be shocked if the SAR team hadn't already looked here. If electricity was a threat, I'd probably run down the drainage to the woody area below the final drop to the JMT that others have mentioned (and have done this before in a mid-July storm) and waited for a break in the whiteout. If I had food and was confident I could stay warm/dry enough to survive the night, I probably would have camped at one of those places overnight and hoped for a weather window in the morning. But if he was up there fishing and was counting on calories from fish, it could be that he packed light on food, which for me might tip the scales in favor of leaving ASAP rather than holing up and waiting overnight. I certainly don't make my best decisions if I'm hungry and anxious.
Would you have tried to cross Knapsack Pass in the above-described conditions, and tried to get into Dusy Basin? If yes, why and where to?
In a whiteout at dark? Almost certainly no. My instinct would be to seek shelter and wait for a decent window, then bust out over Knapsack and Bishop as soon as I had the chance. I've crossed Knapsack in rain/hail between bouts of a thunderstorm-- not ideal (wet, slippery, but doable) but easy from a navigation standpoint. There is potential to slip and injure yourself, but it's a fairly obvious and low-angle pass... I'd wait for a window and then make a push over both passes, potentially pausing in lower Dusy at the most popular campsites by the stream/lakes closest to the trail to try to find others if I was in need of food/warmth/first aid.
Would anyone consider trying to get down to the LeConte Ranger Station, either via Barrett Creek to Deer Meadow route or over Knapsack Pass and use trail down?
In his situation, I don't think I would have gone down to the LeConte ranger station, but only because it's so late in the season that I doubt a ranger would have been there-- not worth exerting the effort to end up further in the backcountry. And those new cabins are bomb-proof-- can't really imagine breaking into one.

Not sure this is at all helpful at this point-- but just in case...

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Re: Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progres

Post by maverick » Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:59 am

Thank you Marymaryland for the input, all ideas from folks who have knowledge of this areas, is highly appreciated.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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: Official INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progres

Post by Dragonfly » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:53 pm

Some of those purple lines are, indeed, from the helicopter. Also, they are not a complete record of the aerial search of the drainage descending to Deer Meadow - offhand, it looks like a record of the first aerial flight. A subsequent flight covered that unit more completely, and unfortunately nothing was found.

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