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8/11 Missing Person Alert Palisades Area (Resolved)

Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:04 pm
by maverick
Missing Climber - Tom Fennessy

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. August 11, 2017– Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and National Park Service officials are seeking leads to aid in the search for a missing alpine climber. On Thursday, August 10, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office received a report of an overdue climber. 55-year-old Tom Fennessy intended to return from the Thunderbolt Peak to Mount Sill Traverse in the Eastern Sierra late in the day on Wednesday, August 9.

Mr. Fennessy was last seen early in the day on Wednesday, August 9, when he departed from companions at Sam Mack Meadow in Inyo National Forest, intending to complete the Thunderbolt Peak to Mount Sill Traverse, which is the border between Inyo National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park. His companions remained in camp, and reported him overdue the following day.

Mr. Fennessy is Caucasian, 55 years old, and 5'8" tall. He was last seen wearing an orange jacket, red climbing helmet, yellow-green backpack, and black pants. He is familiar with the area.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and the National Park Service are conduct a joint missing persons investigation and are engaged in active search operations. Due to the highly technical nature of the terrain, responding agencies are seeking leads and information from members of the climbing community that have been climbing in the Palisade area, especially in the vicinity of the Thunderbolt Peak to Mount Sill, since Wednesday, August 9.

Anyone who may have come across Mr. Fennessy, or have any other information, is encouraged to contact Inyo County Sheriff’s Department at 760-878-0383 or Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks at 559-565-4351 with their name, contact information, and additional details.

Re: 8/11 Missing Person Alert Palisades Area

Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:58 pm
by maverick
Possible areas in question: HST Map

8/13 Update (Resolved)

Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:54 pm
by maverick
Personnel from the Inyo County Search and Rescue Team located the remains of a climber yesterday near the base of Thunderbolt Peak, on the Inyo National Forest side of the border with Kings Canyon National Park. While confirmation is pending, the body is believed to be that of Thomas Fennessy, reported missing in the area on Thursday, August 10.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have been conducting joint search operations since Thursday. California Highway Patrol aircraft from Victorville and Fresno regions also provided assistance. Due to the highly technical nature of the terrain, assistance in searching for the missing party was solicited from the local climbing community as well.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks would like offer their deepest condolences to the climber’s family and friends.

A further update will be released upon official confirmation of the deceased individual’s identity.

Inyo SAR Account 8/17

Posted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:29 am
by maverick
Inyo SAR:
On 08/10/2017 the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office was notified of an overdue male subject climbing in the North fork of Big Pine Creek. The subject was originally a part of a group of three persons who were planning on completing several 14,000ft peaks in the Palisade range. The party camped near Sam Mack lake above Sam Mack meadow with the intention of starting their mission via Thunderbolt’s North Couloir. On the morning of their planned ascent, two members of the party felt unfit to continue due to symptoms related to altitude illness. The third member of the party insisted on continuing with the planned objective and began his approach to the Thunderbolt glacier around 0900. The subject was last seen approaching the bergsrund at the base of the N couloir of Thunderbolt peak and yelling to his friends that the bergsrund was impassible and he would find another way up. Friends also reported around this time they saw the subject fall down the glacier, get up, indicate he was OK and continue on his way out of view. The subject’s friends waited for him for over a day at camp in anticipation of a possible late arrival. When the subject did not show up the rest of the party hiked out and contacted Inyo County Sheriff’s Office to report their missing friend.

Aerial search of the area began on the afternoon of August 10th with multiple passes of the east side of the Palisade range by CHP Helicopter H82. On August 11, CHP Helicopter H40 assisted in the search by flying the east and west sides of the range and taking video footage. No signs of the subject were found. The following morning of August 12 at 0700 Inyo SAR volunteers gathered for a team wide briefing on the mission with plans of inserting several teams in the Palisade Glacier area, focusing most resources on the Thunderbolt glacier area and the point last seen (PLS). Approximately 0900 August 12, two SAR members were inserted on the Thunderbolt glacier by CHP H40. By 0920 the missing subject was spotted on Thunderbolt glacier, climber’s right of the North couloir’s bergsrund approximately 150ft from a cliff face. The subject was deceased. His remains were evacuated by lowering them 500ft down the glacier to a helicopter landing zone where they were loaded into H40.

Inyo SAR would like to extend our grievances to the friends and family of the victim. As life-long mountain enthusiasts, the volunteers of Inyo SAR are always affected by the passing of someone while pursuing their mountain dreams and adventures. We hope that our services can help bring closure to those influenced by the passing of the subject.

Inyo SAR also wants to express our deep gratitude for the time and resources of CHP helicopter H40 and H82 as well as Sequoia Kings Canyon NP. The success of this mission, any many others, was dependent upon your experience, skill and professionalism!