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.
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby rlown » Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:20 pm

I'm hoping SEKI comes back with a post storm plan. I guess I'm thinking he could be just outside of the primary search zone (unless he's just not able to respond). Several have mentioned areas already so I won't repeat them.



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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby SEKI Public Affairs » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:46 pm

The following information has been posted on Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks' website at http://www.nps.gov/seki/parknews/newsreleases.htm about missing hiker Larry Conn
- News release (as below)
- A more detailed map of the search area

Aerial Search Continued Today for Missing Hiker Larry Conn at Kings Canyon National Park

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, CA – An aerial search continued for missing hiker
Larry Conn at Kings Canyon National Park on Wednesday, October 31, 2012. The search focused on specific high-probability areas, including likely travel corridors/camp locations around
Pinchot Pass, Taboose Pass, and Split Mountain. Despite aggressive searching, no clues have been tied to Larry Conn since he was seen by another hiker near his vehicle on October 19.
The search will be temporarily suspended on Thursday, November 1, due to impending weather conditions. Managers continue to evaluate any new information to determine the direction of search efforts over the coming days.
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby Hobbes » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:21 pm

I had mentally logged out for the winter while firmly ensconced in the surf zone, and came across a notice regarding a missing hiker in the Sierra. Didn't think much about it until I saw a reference to Quentin - just had to check HST, and here it is, a thread 24 pages long.

Wow.

I still remember exchanging some messages with him about the S. Sierra. Since we're both from SoCal, we tended to gravitate towards the trailheads closest to home. We're both soloists, and while I don't believe I take unnecessary chances, there was always the sense of esprit de corps amongst those who went solo, fast & x-country.

Others have posted various messages that attempt to cast some light on Quentin, but the one that stands out for me is this 'conversation' we had back in August:

Hobbes: I left the "trail" by lower Crabtree Lake and tried traversing around the eastern shoulder of Hitchcock. It was somewhat successful, although I had to drop elevation at one point. Then I went up the shelf on the south side of Whitney Creek, which fortunately dropped down to Timberline Lake. Otherwise there was a deep gorge to cross to get to the other side of Whitney Creek.

I didn't do Whitney, figuring it could survive without having me on top for the 26th time. I went back out along the PCT, although I did as much hiking off the trail as I could to avoid the hordes.


viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8131&start=12

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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby ERIC » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:10 pm

I have done what I can to move all posts related to maverick's SAR efforts to the separate thread referenced earlier, and have now locked that thread. Nobody's posts were deleted, even though some of what I had to move I would consider to be borderline to outright haranguing.

Link to that thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=8551
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby jimmeans » Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:47 am

MAP-smaller-20121031_1400hrs_Taboose74_PIOmapSearch2a_8.jpg
Latest SEKI search map 10/31/2012
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby Hobbes » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:16 am

One look @ ACME mapper and/or a TOPO map of Taboose & Split, along with 'knowing' a little bit about Larry from various forum 'conversations', should lead one exactly to where Mav is going to go looking.

For one, Quentin never used trails, unless it was to get someplace/somewhere in the most direct fashion possible. Secondly, he favored staying high above treeline from which to be able to survey the landscape for x-country routes, passes, etc.

Personally, I don't believe weather was a factor, other than to hinder SAR efforts. If you read some of his past accounts, like this one, you would know that Larry not only pushed the limits, but liked to recount his experiences in a humorous fashion as well:

viewtopic.php?t=2176&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

I was so exultant at having summited that I decided to take a different route down fom the plateau. I thought I was doing the so-called Rockwell Variation, but it turned out to be the Rock Hell variation. Or the Rock Head variation...almost literally. Anyway, I ended up encountering the real Wall of Death, which you can see in the last photo. Three-quarters of the way down, I got myself into a trap where I couldn't climb back up, and ahead of me faced a 20 foot slope on a steep, completely smooth boulder. At the end of the boulder was a solid rock on the left, but sheer air in the center and on the right. I was clinging to hang on to where I was and couldn't hold much longer.

So I first let my daypack go, and it sailed right over the edge, its water bottles and bones sickeningly exploding and smashing everywhere. But, still, I realized my only chance was to let go myself, and try to fling my body over to the left where the rock would stop my slide. As the life wrenched out of my stomach, I launched. Seconds later I found my right hand clinging to a protuberance on the rock I was aiming for, with the rest of me poised over the edge of the cliff, on my back and upside down (head-first). I was able to pull myself back up...or else I wouldn't be typing this post today.

Don't try this at home!
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby Hobbes » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:53 am

One of my favorite posts from Quentin was this story recounting his climb of Mt Russell. He provided a great photo essay here:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5506

I've gone ahead and grabbed some of his captions:
-So I go up this, only to discover there's a real cliff on the other side, and I have to come halfway down and traverse to a saner crossing point
-Oh boy, my kind of route! This is the only way to the Russell-Carillon saddle. Believe it or not, it's Class 2, although I naturally discovered a Class 3 route instead.
-I considered being terrified, but then figured, "what's the point?"
-What's left of me, on top of Russell. Smoke in background is from my central nervous system.
-My feet after discharge from the hospital the next morning. I've been wearing the same boots the whole summer, what's with this?


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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby orbitor » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:08 am

Based on the latest SAR map, the area from Palisade Lakes to Sawmill Pass has been thoroughly surveyed by helicopter. Ground crews extensively covered the Taboose area from Mather Pass to Pinchot Pass, and down the South Fork Kings River a ways. Absolutely no clues have been found. Is it reasonable to assume Larry would have pushed either north or south of these points given the state of his gear and supplies?

It also appears the trails to Red Lake and Sawmill Pass from the east haven't been checked by ground crews, though helicopter flybys are indicated.
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby sparky » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:53 am

I agree the white fork/arrow peak/window peak area is a likely place.

Then again there is a lot of places you can be where a helo wont see you
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby giantbrookie » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:43 am

Oh my gosh, this whole thing is stunning and unsettling. I was away in the field and as I caught up on my email and stuff this week it took me awhile to fully grasp this whole thing. Larry is truly one of my kindred spirits on this board, given his penchant for off trail hiking. And his posts are so memorable--yes the Rockwell Wall of Death post is the one that I too remember best. I cannot suggest anything that folks have not thought of or posted before. The search covers all of the most reasonable possibilities. I agree with others that the Red Lake and Window Creek areas are areas outside the main search areas that would be the next most logical spots outside of the current search areas to look.

I hope against hope that Larry is found alive somewhere and that all of the folks participating in the various operations all come back safely.
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby frediver » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:16 pm

IMO
Check more East of the current search areas, if he saw weather coming in he would want a shortcut back to his ride.
If he was already High, why would he consider backtracking and be forced to cover more miles to get out?
The same holds true for a western bailout unless he was already in a low spot when the weather hit and could not get high and over the pass.
Looking at the posted search map the Helo did make (1?) pass over the area from Striped Mt. to the Taboose Trail, I'm thinking the area from Mt Pinchot to Taboose. Trail deserves a better look especially
after reading about the Wall of Death. He could also have been forced onto the bench to the lake that empties into Goodale creek, that would be a tough spot to get "back" out of, same below Mt. Pinchot to Goodale creek.
Larry wants to get back to his car by the most direct route possible if caught high when weather came in.
Having a safe direct route is a distant secondary consideration after reading past history.
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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby sparky » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:27 pm

Possible, but less likely than other scenarios. Snow didn't start falling until 10:30 am at the earliest....looks to be more like 11am. He should have been over the crest by then, or at least within spitting distance.
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