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.
User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby SSSdave » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:17 am

Some analysis is worthwhile at this point.

-------------------------
This is what Claus said, "He went in on the Taboose Pass trail. His tentative itinerary was to head up, generally, along the Muir trail toward Mather Pass and possibly climb Split Mt. Then he planned to head back toward Pinchot Pass and explore some of the creeks in that area."

and freestone, "I ran into Larry last Friday at approximately 10:30 AM on the Taboose trail, about two miles from the trailhead. We spoke briefly and he mentioned that he was going to explore the area around Pinchot area, but made no mention of Split Mountain. He said he only had four days, but looked well equiped..."
-------------------------

I expected to read he stumbled out the last couple days after waiting for at least some of the snows to melt off or following the South Fork of the Kings River down to Roads End. That did not happen. So three unfortunate primary possibilities remain.

1) He was injured bagging a peak before the storm hit.

2) He was not injured climbing but got into trouble due to inadequate gear during the storm.

3) He is not injured but is stuck in a steep location where snows have made escape too dangerous to attempt and is hoping to see a helicopter.

If he was just going to be out 4 days, even if he did not expect a storm, I doubt he would have gone into Lakes Basin, Dumbell Lakes Basin, Amphitheatre Lakes Basin, north over Mather Pass, or south over Pinchot Pass especially beyond Cedric Wright. Oh he had enough time to reach those areas but would only have done so if he had another day to actually peakbag something significant that would have been a real stretch on a 4 day trip. And the comments above support that. No his intent was more likely within striking range of Taboose.

Freestone mentioned he was well equipped. However the usual mindset of many summer peakbaggers making multi k approaches and ascents is to go light and outside of sleeping in a bag at night, count on activity to keep oneself warm. So I'd suspect that did not include winter foul weather gear. He heard a storm was coming sometime after the weekend but for whatever reason may have gambled it could not come sooner. If he was ok, and in Upper Basin, the Marjorie area, or Bench, the obvious thing to do once the snow began would have been to escape over Taboose or drop down in the canyon where the forest is more dense and there would be areas below dense trees with little snow or wind and a lot of wood to make fires with. He may instead got set up in one of the headwater basins and benches and after the storm came earlier than he expected, just stayed there. The storm hit the south SF Bay Area about midnight Sunday then that area of the Sierra snow began falling at sunrise. I know that to be the situation because it shows that on the nearby Bishop Pass CDEC site:

http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/quer ... an=12hours

That also shows over a foot of snow fell at Bishop Pass by sunset Monday, then slacked off, and did not melt off at all during following days. One reason playing around in these above 10k areas at this time of year when storms are possible is rather dangerous. Lower down one can get away with expecting some melt off but not up high.

So if snow started then and he was in escape range, of Taboose at sunrise, I'd find it difficult to imagine someone with his experience would choose not to start rambling towards the pass as soon as dawn allowed even if wind was high and visibility was unpleasant. It basically blows one eastward which at ones back actually makes travel faster. Just a HUGE danger of being caught up there once snow depths piled up. So that tends to make 1) more likely. But maybe his clothing was too light and after heading towards the pass, after a half hour decided he was becoming way too cold so bailed down into the canyon. But then why hasn't he appeared since? I'd expect by this time that helicopters have been looking for tracks which are of course highly noticeable.

I've been a skiing enthusiast for three decades and am especially fond of powder skiing during storms at resorts. When one is riding up on lifts with winds 40mph with temps 20F degrees, one readily considers how easily a person could freeze to death in short order if a lift shut down. Or if one got stuck in some tree well. Even with heavy duty ski clothing, if one is not moving, cold has a horrible way of taking over. Something mountaineers learn very quickly.



User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1965
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Location: Silicon Valley
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby gdurkee » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:21 am

Hi all:

I'm not in any way involved in the search and only heard about it yesterday. I notice that the flyer and information from sequoia kings asks you to call if you saw him or have information. Just to be clear, if anyone was even in the area between the time he started the trip and now -- and I'd say anywhere between Bishop Pass, Taboose, Sawmill to Kearsarge to Cedar Grove, even the Monarch to Simpson -- then I'd call the park to give your exact route; what the conditions were; tracks noticed (or their absence) on the trail etc. Negative information (not seeing him or tracks) is almost as important as positive sightings.

Most of the forum people seem aware of this search, but it would be helpful to call friends and find out anyone in the greater search area. Also, a lot of people this time of year don't get permits so it's often everyone here who has a better idea of who's out there.

Thanks,

George
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:20 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby ironmike » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:22 am

Is it known exactly what time the bad weather hit that region and the snow started accumulating? That would have a definite bearing on his thought process on how to deal with his situation, and if applicable, what escape route to take? The worst scenario of course is that it started in the middle if the night (Sunday night?) and he was faced with a navigational nightmare Monday morning.

...update...
Ahhhh...just saw David's post. Some good analysis there. Looks like Taboose area would indeed be the best search epicenter if he was healthy/uninjured on Monday morning.

Let's hope the story ends up like this: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/news ... r-2299507/
Last edited by ironmike on Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
ironmike
Topix Acquainted
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 8:14 pm
Location: San Diego, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby orbitor » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:32 am

Posted the search notice on the Mt. San Jacinto Outdoor Recreation board.
http://www.mtsanjacinto.info/index.php

Keeping Larry and his family in our thoughts.
Connect, Learn and Climb: Sierra Mountaineering Club
http://www.sierramountaineeringgroup.org
User avatar
orbitor
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:36 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby maverick » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:35 am

Sunny till Tuesday with temps in the mid 50's during the day and mid 20's at night are
in the forecast which will help Larry and SAR.
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
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8033
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby LMBSGV » Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:37 am

This is scary stuff, and I can only imagine what Larry's family is going through. Here's hoping for his safe return.


TehipiteTom encapsulates my feelings on this. One thought I had is that if I was in that situation and found the storm prevented an exit over Taboose Pass, I'd head to the Bench Lake Ranger Station. Even if it's closed for the season, it might offer better protection from the elements and it's where a SAR party might go and so find me.
User avatar
LMBSGV
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 579
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:42 pm
Location: San Geronimo, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby sparky » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:03 am

Do a google search on snow depth sierra nevada...snow survey...you can see exactly what time snow fell. I did it last night, cant link to it right now
There is a million ways to be human, all are worthwhile.

True happiness is the absence of striving for happiness.
-Chuang Tzu.
User avatar
sparky
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 880
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:01 am
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby gdurkee » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:10 am

Does anyone know if he likely carries a cell phone? There's no chance it can transmit from most of the search area, but I'm looking into methods of finding a signal from one. Seems like a long shot, but some people do carry phones even if they know there's no coverage.

g.
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:20 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby maverick » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:33 am

Gurkee wrote:
Does anyone know if he likely carries a cell phone?


Larry wrote in 2012:
Upper Lake Basin is even nicer, but my camera (actually iPhone, since my
point & shoots keep breaking) battery was getting low so I don't have many
photos.


Hope this will help George! :thumbsup:
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
User avatar
maverick
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
 
Posts: 8033
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:54 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby gdurkee » Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:44 am

Yes, it does help. I just forwarded that to the Incident Command and the electronic wizards. There's a separate discussion going on in my SAR & GIS group about how to find a cell signal from the phone itself without the tower involved. It seems possible though an incredible long shot at this point. Also, I assume you can turn off the cell capability to save battery??

Many thanks,

g.
User avatar
gdurkee
Founding Member
 
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 8:20 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:02 pm

Well, I just noticed this thread. This is an unhappy surprise. And one of our own too. I remember not too long ago that the Ranger for that area went missing for several years until he was at last found below Window Lake. I don't want to be a downer. but it kinda tells you what SAR is up against.
Having spent a fair amount of time in that area, my $0.02 worth is this.
A first day is just getting over Taboose Pass. If he was really gonzo, he might even get as far as Bench Lake, the lakes north of Pinchot Pass, or a ways up Upper Basin. He would probably figure that any place he could get to the first day would be near a place for his last camp for getting out in one day. For example, it would be pretty doable to make it from Bench Lake to the TH in one day, or any similar distance. Together that would account for 2 days. So, what did he plan for the two days remaining? My gut feeling would be that he would stay between the two passes (Pinchot/Mather). If he was enamored with Split Mountain, then that would suggest a camp in Upper Basin. Since it was pretty dry, the small lakes West of Split Mountain, or better, the small lakes south of those lakes would be a great spot to base-camp. For search purposes, Cardinal Lake could not be ruled out.
The lakes north of Pinchot are pretty straightforward, exposed and easily searchable.
If he sprained an ankle, got delayed and saw the weather coming in, he might be tempted to (god forbid) to go down the Muro Blanco, which could take several days or more with a sprained ankle (or broken leg, like for me).
The best hope is that he got his tent up, whatever his condition, and hunkered down.
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
User avatar
DoyleWDonehoo
Founding Member
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Postby lostcoyote » Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:15 pm

thanks maverick.

were those passes sent to SEKI S&R as possible places he could have been day-hiking at to check out the crossings, hence, worth looking at by air search?

since he expressed interest in going there (to amphitheater) in the future, he may have been day-hiking around those cross country passes to check them out & could have sprained an ankle or something along those lines.
User avatar
lostcoyote
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 262
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 9:11 pm
Experience: N/A

PreviousNext

Return to Missing Persons Alerts / SAR Updates



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests