Alternate (maverick's) search thread.

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Re: Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Post by Grzldvt » Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:17 am

markskor wrote:While I whole-heartily applaud Mav's gung ho attitude here, trying to rescue a good friend, his obviously frustrated reaction and subsequent quitting of HST because of a lack of mass member response puzzles me.

Having gone through a few years of SAR training in Yosemite, one instantly realized: (1) There is close/complex coordination among all involved in any high-country search, and (2) These are the best prepared searchers alive. They have the gear, they know the area, and they have practiced long and hard for just this contingency. Summer Sierra searches in benevolent weather are hard enough, but winter investigations in adverse conditions such as exist now, the conditions this late in the year present inherent dangers. Right now, 2+ feet of crusty snow covers the search hell. Stamina, gear, coordination, and carefully practiced rescue routines immediately come into play. Training and close communication with (and dependence on) what the other SAR members are constantly doing hopefully lessens the possibility of other collateral casualties.

While some of our HST members are probably capable of getting up that 6000 foot pass in summer conditions, their actual assisting in any winter search up there under present conditions today, without prior group training, seems at best, problematic if not precarious. Sometimes things are better left to the pros even though doing nothing can make one feel helpless.

Additionally, being a solo artist myself, I realize that there will always be inherent dangers in hiking alone. I know and accept these risks as they only involve me. Causing someone else being hurt if/when rescuing me…
I freely choose my routes knowing the dangers; I would not wish peril on anyone else.

Here we have no tracks, no signs, no fires, no tent, and Larry is over a week late on a relatively short, 4-day adventure. Over 35 highly-qualified and highly-trained volunteers spent wilderness days (and nights) looking for Larry with the assistance of both two helicopters and dogs; day-time weather search conditions all this week have been good. While still optimistic, the fact remains that more inclement weather is soon expected – winter is eminent, current backpacking/travel conditions just getting up to 11,000 feet are treacherous, and crappy Sierra cement makes travel perfidious, hiding everything.

Bottom line: I pray for Larry and I hope Mav reconsiders.

This!!!! and AlmostThere's post I have watched this unfold from the beginning. I had nothing to really contribute other than well wishes for Larry's safe return. I did not want to muddy up the incoming information with noise.
We had a very close family friend work Yosemite SAR and the one thing I learned DO NOT interfere and let them do their jobs.
The chances of the untrained, in these conditions of becoming a victim, are HUGE.
All of those that have worked SAR have the same obvious theme, and it is for good reason.
Our friend left because he got tired of dealing with all the death. One of those was from a situation almost identical to this. The civilian search party ended up in serious trouble and one died, the others were in very serious condition, as they insisted on searching over one more ridge, a surprise storm hit, and even though they were somewhat prepared it was simply overwhelming.
No one could get to them due to the intensity, and the rest is history.
While Mav is upset and disgusted with the lack of volunteers, how would he feel if the team ended up with the same fate as above.

Enough said from me on the subject. Here is hoping it all turns out OK for Larry and there is a safe return.

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Alternate (maverick's) search thread.

Post by gary c. » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:45 am

It's probably too late to do much good but I didn't want to see the other thread continue to get hijacked and drift away from it's intended purpose of contributing information to help with the search for Larry.

Like many of you have said I don't meet the requirments posted by Mavrick and more importantly I don't qualify by even my own standards. As some of you have expressed SAR does not want us there and for good reason. I will say that now that they are discontinuing the SAR ground search I would find it much more understandable for people that wish to perform thier own search to do so.

In any case I wanted to start this thread for anything someone wants to post about concerning the search but not directly related to contributing to the search. I would even ask those that have already posted to the other thread to resubmit them here and perhaps delete there other threads. The last few pages have very little to do with finding Larry.

I'm still trying to stay positive hoping for Larry's safe return and I'm still praying for Larry as well as his friends and family.
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Overdue Hiker - Do You Have Any Info?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:51 am

canukyea- your heart is in the right place, but do not go. You really do not have the equipment or exprience. We all are emotionally torn on this, but the risk is high even for those with winter experience. I will miss Mavrick as a moderator and have great respect for him, but I do not agree with him on this one. Yet, I wholeheartedly wish his group the best of luck- stay safe.

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Re: Alternate search thread.

Post by kpeter » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:42 am

Thank you Gary for starting this alternative.

As we all carry our hopes for Larry forward, we also should keep compassion for Maverick, whose own emotions have been stirred by the very best of motives. People react to danger, grief, and frustration in different ways, and we should respect him during this time.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote a famous letter where he tried to summarize an internal conflict as a "Dialogue between my Head and my Heart." I think many of us have had that internal dialogue. His letter is so famous because the conflict can be so great. My heart makes me fantasize about grabbing my gear and setting up the trail to save a life. My head tells me that I've never climbed 6000 feet, I have done relatively little cross country, I've never hiked in winter, I've gotten out of shape since my last hiking trip, I don't have good gear, and the odds are I would slide off the trail and become a casualty miles before reaching the top of Taboose Pass. And then my head reminds me that I would need to tell my own children why it was I was taking a high risk with their father's life to add my feeble efforts to a job that was already being attempted by far more competent professionals who could do it safely.

My head wins the argument, but it still leaves me heartsick.

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Re: Alternate search thread.

Post by windknot » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:15 am

Gary, this is a good idea. I apologize for contributing to the hijacking of the other thread; it wasn't my intention.

I have deleted my original post and copied it over here instead.


I too am sorry to see Mav go, but not as sorry as I am for Larry's partner and son. I can't imagine what they must be going through right now.

Because the persons who did volunteer were called out by name, it's obvious that I did not volunteer. Having just gone up Taboose a couple of months ago, I was truly torn about this. I don't know Larry at all, but I do care about the lives of each and every HST member and my fellow human in general. I simply didn't meet the criteria that was laid out for members of the search party (no winter gear, no winter hiking experience; the one time I did do a solo backpack in the early season when there was still snow on the ground, I very nearly got lost myself), and so I realized that I would be more hindrance than help.

That's my logistical reason (and frankly, the easiest on my conscience to state publicly) for not volunteering. My other reasons though are manifold. Do I truly believe that I can succeed where SAR teams, highly trained and experienced in the complex and dangerous task of locating lost hikers, have thus far failed? Am I confident enough in my own abilities to go out there myself, knowing that a front is coming in, and assured that I will not need SAR teams to come after me should I get lost/incapacitated?

And most troubling to my moral center, would I be this torn about whether or not to galvanize into action if this were just another random hiker lost in the Sierra? It happens every year. Do I only feel emotionally invested in this instance because Larry is an active member of this community, and would I be apathetic if this was a person that none of us knew? If I didn't know what he looked like from his pictures? Lest we forget, Larry's was not the only SAR being conducted in the Sierra last week. There were two other overdue hikers, one in the Desolation area, and one in the western Sierra near Shaver Lake. Both were ultimately found alive, and though I do not know either of these persons, my heart rejoices for their families and I am so incredibly grateful for the bravery and selflessness of ALL of the SAR teams and persons involved in the three searches.

Last but certainly not least, as Mark delicately pointed out, I've done enough solo trips to fully understand the dangers and risks inherent in this amazing but frankly humbling experience of solo backpacking. If I go out there alone, knowing the potential hazards, then this is a risk I undertake myself, and myself alone (though even then, I must take into consideration the potential pain my loved ones would be forced to go through if I were to go missing). However, I would never wish another person to endanger his- or herself for my sake. I think that Larry, as a seasoned solo backpacker with much more experience than I could hope to attain, felt this way as well.

In fact, I agree with Mark's every sentence wholeheartedly. There's no point to my post now, but I've already typed it so I may as well submit it.

I'm not much of the praying type these days, but I too pray for Larry and his family.

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Re: Alternate search thread.

Post by Jimr » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:34 am

"My head wins the argument, but it still leaves me heartsick."

I think that sums up the feelings of 24 pages of caring folks on this site. I am proud to be a member of this group. I hope Mav, Shawn and Sparky come back safe, and I hope Mav re-considers his stance in this period of high emotion. While nobody here deserved the rant, I think we can all understand the duress that produced it.

I share the conclusions that have been expressed several times by both old and new members:

Feeling helpless
Heart wants to be there helping
Ill equipped for the conditions
Ill experience for the conditions
fear of doing more harm than good with a SAR in progress

Personally, I would not want anybody here risking their own well being attempting what the above three are doing, if I were missing. I wholeheartedly believe that if conditions were different, summer weather, and the SAR was being scaled back when this plea for a posse was requested, there would be many more participants.
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Re: Alternate search thread.

Post by ERIC » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:41 am

kpeter wrote:As we all carry our hopes for Larry forward, we also should keep compassion for Maverick, whose own emotions have been stirred by the very best of motives. People react to danger, grief, and frustration in different ways, and we should respect him during this time.
Well said. +1
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Re: Alternate search thread.

Post by LMBSGV » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:31 am


Re Critter's post: I PMed SEKI Public Affairs with caveman's link to Larry's posts yesterday in case they missed it.

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Re: Alternate search thread.

Post by madeintahoe » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:36 am

I just wanted to do a quick comment..I have been following Larry's story from the beginning..checking for new updates during the day and hoping for good news.

After reading a few of Larry's past postings that Critter posted..I have to wonder if Larry maybe could be outside the search area SAR have been looking for him..and where he is at has not even been searched yet...I am sure all of you and those involved in the search have thought of this..but still makes it very concerning to me. I am wondering if any summit registers have been checked..I do not know if Larry signs registers..some people choose not to.
I will continue to think good thoughts of finding Larry.

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Re: Alternate search thread.

Post by Flux » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:57 am

Well, it's certainly not fair to put so much on folks here. I understand Maverick's disappointment, but it's entirely misplaced.

From the above quotes, Larry certainly liked to go with the flow and wanted to strip everything away when he headed into the wild. I completely understand this and admire it greatly. I have done it long ago, but my head is in a very different place right now than it was then. We all make our choices and we all have to live with them, and so do others around us.

I'd have been up for a search out of Cedar Grove to check the drainages in case he tried to come down that way. But my wife being 7 months pregnant with twins, well she kind of needs me around here. I won't be made to feel badly about my choice in this matter.


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