Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info? | High Sierra Topix  

Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

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.

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby kpeter » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:16 am

The circumstances are quite reminiscent of the Charlie Hench story. Let's hope it has an equally happy conclusion.

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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby copeg » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:20 am

I placed a site-wide notice at the top of every page of HST (wish I had thought of doing this earlier).
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby ERIC » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:28 am

copeg wrote:I placed a site-wide notice at the top of every page of HST (wish I had thought of doing this earlier).

New members, please consider giving us an intro!
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby maverick » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:41 am

SEKI Public Affairs/SAR Command,

I know your checking this thread occasionally, so would you please post updates at least
once a day!
We are not asking for minute to minute details, but at least an idea of what
has been done so far, and what progress if any has been made, we are not dealing with a
national security issue here so there is no reason for the silence! At least relay some
info through George Durkee.

Fellow HST Members,

If the authorities continue to be uncooperative will some of you join me in a
search of the area's of interest starting next Friday or Sat for 5-6 days (starting
date can be discussed). The area is way to big, plus with some snow on the ground
which increases the dangers of traveling to do solo, I need your help, the more the
This one weeks notice will give folks time to prepare, arrange for time off from
work, and get the proper gear together.
We will need a large group so we can cover a lot of ground, and folks with
knowledge of the area as leaders of assigned groups, which besides CG and myself
there are others who know this area very well.
Also need some folks with SPOT's and/or SAT phones, and walkie talkies.
The more experienced folks the better, we'll have a safety net with larger groups, do
not want to have any complication and want to minimize any danger.
Obviously the weather is big factor, and if a big major storm is slated to move in at
any time before or during this mission than it will be a no go.
PM me if you care to participate in looking for our lost brother instead
of sitting around in front of your computer feeling hopeless, and being ignored by
Again, please PM me only if your onboard and are willing to donate your time and
backcountry experience to find Larry, and bring some peace to his loved ones!
Please let me know by Wed so I now if there are enough people to pull this off.

Thank You
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination, and where the trail ends is where our adventures begin.

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: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby eee333 » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:12 am

It is hard sitting around, for sure. The NPS person I spoke to yesterday consulted SAR command after I offered to round up some volunteers to help with search efforts. The reply was: please get the word out via the flyer. That is the help they've requested at this point.

Forums and FB are great, and everyone is coming up with excellent ideas and actions in this area. But if there are hikers out there who may have seen Larry or have any info at all that could help SAR--and who might not be online (gasp!)--well, how do we get the word out to them?

I find that calling local stores, asking them to post the flyer, and then emailing the PDF or a link to the NPS source makes me feel like I'm doing something that might help turn up a clue. It makes the hours pass more quickly. Putting up signs at trailheads might be useful, too.

Of the eight places in Mammoth/Bishop/Lone Pine that I got through to yesterday evening, only one already had a poster up.

If you have suggestions for places to contact and you don't have time or the wherewithal to do it yourself right now, please let me/us know.

Hopefully, we'll get more info and direction from NPS-SEKI/SAR command soon.
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby gdurkee » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:18 am

Whoa guys, whoa!

I understand your frustration, but for the reasons noted earlier, having people in the search area really messes things up. And, with all due respect to the high level of skill here, there's a reason that SAR teams meet a set of standards before even they are called into a search -- and especially when they're sent into the gnarly conditions that now exist.

A SAR is an organized effort carried out in a deliberate and safe (!) way. Everyone's got maps of their assigned search area; each person has a radio and knows the frequency to use for emergency com and for talking to other team members. Plans are made for evacuation of injured team members with EMTs or paramedics standing by. Each team and member is briefed on weather, safety protocols, communication, reporting protocols for clues; use of GPS & etc. In addition, on technical terrain, only highly qualified technical teams with ropes, crampons etc. are sent to search those areas.

It could well be that a time might come when NPS SAR teams are out of the area and your help would advance the search effort but you'd have to check with NPS on when that time is.

Also, you can't use me as a conduit for information. I'm really sorry, but I'm not involved in this SAR. I had a narrow follow up within an area of expertise of mine that the NPS is not very strong in (detection of cell signals) and you guys provided a lot of great information on that. But if you have any clues or search strategies, you need to bring them directly to NPS at the number they give in the flyer.

Now, I will try to get a map of what's been done so far. You're right that it's not security level stuff and theoretically should be public knowledge. On fires, similar maps are posted as an integral part of the operation.

OK. Again, I know the frustration people are feeling and am hugely sympathetic. But it's imperative that any effort by non-SAR teams has to be coordinated with the agency in charge (Inyo or NPS).


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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby rlown » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:33 am

understood George. The latest update was 35 people on the ground; chopper support, and probably good flying weather in the area.

So.. Now we just need the updates from the OP as Mav pointed out.

I'd still like the daily search map posted as it might point out areas we would probably search.

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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby RoguePhotonic » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:54 am

It's true that even if a group were to head out against SEKI's wishes they would still need to work with them to know exactly where has been searched and what areas planned to be searched and let them know where you are going. SAR teams are also more aware of the little methods of searching that the average person wouldn't be. Stuff like continuously looking back as you go since the terrain has a different perspective that way. You could walk right by him behind some rock and just keep on going.
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby SSSdave » Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:10 am

Following was screen captured this morning from the tiny NWS satellite 1km image. Shows where snow still is prominent. There is an orange overlay of county boundaries that sort of gets in the way though indicates the Sierra Crest. Taboose Pass is not at the end of the red arrow but rather where it points at the orange line just west. One can see the South Fork of the Kings River Canyon with the arc Muro Blanco. The white area just west is Monarch Divide. So the good news here is, it appears most of the inner canyon is now relatively snow free else it would be whiter gray shade as is the case right after storms. From this one can also see the deeper snow level is about 10k.

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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby mshields » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:21 am

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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:57 am

What is frustrating is not knowing what areas they are searching. For example, have they simply sent anybody up from Roads End, through Paradise Valley and perhaps even to the confluence of Kidd Creek and the Middle fork?? Heck, I could get to the confluence of the Middle Fork of the Kings River and Woods Creek in a day, and that could be done today.
A few years back as I approached Colby Pass I got caught in a blizzard: I remember thinking, do I continue over the pass or head lower, get into my tent and hunker down? Well, I was near the summit so I headed up, quickly got heavier gear on at the pass and headed down as quickly and safely as I could before the trail got buried. There was gale force winds at the top.
John Muir saw a storm coming while on Lyell Peak (nearby) and immediately headed for lower altitudes, and since he was very familiar with Washburn Lake and the cave rocks there, he holed up there after madly collecting firewood, and all he had was matches, tea, bread and a heavy coat. After the snow-storm blew over, he made snow-shoes out of bark and walked out.
The point is, when things dicey at high altitudes, sometimes the best decision is to head lower to somewhere there is wood for a fire and a place to hole up.
So I can imagine a situation similar to mine above for Larry: he wakes up Monday morning after a blustery night, and sees the overcast and the first flurries. He quickly breaks camp and heads for Taboose, but winds get worse (sucking the warmth right out of you) and the snow gets heavier. After a while, visibility is limited, the trail is buried, and near Taboose (being kinda level-ish there), it can be very hard to tell where the pass is when visibility is limited. Then the Decision: Do I head over the pass if I can find it, or do I head lower, maybe find a wooded area with plenty of firewood and hunker down?? So maybe he chooses to go lower, and hunkers down until the storm blows over. Then as things clear up, another decision, stay put, try for the pass (now obviously covered with a foot or more of snow and the fact Larry is wearing trail runners), or head down the Murro Blanco. Larry would know that the Blanco this time of year is easier than most times, except for the complication of ice and snow. And lower down, the snow might be gone all-together. That would be enticing. But then, as we all know, there is potential for an accident in the Blanco, say a sprained ankle, which would really slow him down. And he might even know that there may be some abandoned food in the bear lockers at the camp of Woods and King. So he heads down...
So with this kind of possibility, do we know if anyone has headed up from Roads End to Paradise Valley and beyond? Then if I know for sure, I could think of something else for a while... :-k
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby SEKI Public Affairs » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:10 pm

My apologies...I thought I posted an update to this board last night, but I do not see it listed here today.

For the latest update on the search (10/26, approx. 9 p.m.), visit http://www.nps.gov/seki/parknews/newsreleases.htm.

Thank you for all of your assistance with posting and cross-posting this info in multiple places. We really appreciate it!
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