Stacey Arras Search Yosemite 1981

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T H

Boulder climber
ne'erdowell
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 3, 2018 - 09:51pm PT
1981 Stacy Arras Yosemite National Park
Details of Disappearance:
Stacy rode into an area of Yosemite with her father and 6 others where they reached a cluster of cabins, where people could rest up overnight. The group tied the horses and some of them went into the cabins to freshen up. After getting changed into different clothes Stacy left her cabin with the intention of photographing the lake, she had her camera with her. She asked her Dad if he wanted to go with her to lake but he declined and instead a 72 year old man from their group decided to go with her instead, after a little while down the hill the elderly man felt tried and sat down, the rest of the group watching from up above saw the man sit down. They all watched as Stacy went on a little further towards the lake, go behind a couple of trees and eventually disappear from sight, after a few moments when she didn't return the elderly gentleman was a little worried and gathered the others for a search, they found Stacy's lense from her camera just a little way into the woodland but no other clues were found. Over the next few days hundreds of searchers, national guard and local volunteers searched the area but never found a trace of Stacy.When the author of the Missing 411 books David Paulides was researching the Stacy Arras case, after twice having Freedom of information requestions denied to him, he was told quite bluntly that "he would never get this case".

Below in an excerpt about the case from the CHINA LAKE MOUNTAIN RESCUE GROUP
August 1981 #49

81-14 25/26 July Search YOSEMITE/TUOLUMNE RON ATKINS
When 14-year-old Stacy Arras walked away from Sunrise High Sierra Camp in northern Yosemite, on Friday, 17 July, she planned to take pictures. She
was never seen again. A search was set up for that weekend; CLMRG was unable to take part because of other commitments.
On Thursday, 23 July, Carl Heller received a request for a search team and transferred it to Ron Atkins, whose duty weekend it was. Nancy Hinman co ordinated the callout. Eight people responded (Atkins, Lucas, Westbrook, Harris, Buffum and trainees Corinna Peterson, Bob Huey, and Larry Gleason).
Driving to Tenaya Lake, the team then hiked 5 miles, reaching the base camp at Sunrise High Sierra Camp at 9 a.m., Saturday the 25th. Base camp, on this weekend, was run by Park Ranger Durr and Joint Operation Leader Miner Harkness of Sierra Madre. Everything was very well organized.
CLMRG searched both days, covering high-priority areas. Although some 150 people participated (including 67 MRA personnel representing most of the Region teams) with the WOOF teams and the searching helos, not a shred of evidence of Stacy was discovered. CLMRG was home Sunday p.m.
NOTE:
National Guard air transport had been promised, but they were restricted to flying into and out of Bishop only during daylight. Since Bishop is still 2 hours drive from Tenaya, this imposed such severe time restrictions on search teams that CLMRG elected to drive up at night, and use the daylight hours for search. Air transport is useful only when it cuts travel time, and increases time in the field.
Date vanished:
25th July 1981
Age:
14 years
Location:
Yosemite National Park
Classification:
Never been found.
[Click to View YouTube Video][Click to View YouTube Video]

https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/foia/upload/Released-files-for-Stacy-Arras-case.pdf
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Apr 3, 2018 - 10:29pm PT
Somewhere around early to mid-60's our family did the entire loop, we stayed at Sunrise. The narrative implied that the cabins were empty and abandoned, but there would have been employees there, a manager, a cook and some others,unless it was closed for the season and the YPCCO Maint. crew had not yet come up to take down the cabins.

My guess is she got turned around, and went off in the wrong direction. Of course, Tenaya Canyon is famous for being a dangerous place.

At our place in Aspen Valley, we would find hikers from White Wolf, who went to Harden Lake, then coming back, they turned right rather than left, crossed the Middle Fork of the Tuolumne, and ended up at Aspen Valley. So getting turned around and going in the wrong direction happens a lot.

Rather than search a radius, I would have taken the paths of least resistance in many directions, to see where it would take me. My guess is she encountered exposure in a remote location, fell into something.

But some of you who were on YOSAR during the 80's you must remember? Werner?
T H

Boulder climber
ne'erdowell
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 4, 2018 - 12:02am PT
The narrative implied that the cabins were empty and abandoned
Date of disappearance was mid/ late July which would be the height of the season.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 4, 2018 - 03:46am PT
finding her camera lens near the last know sighting indicates a strugel of some sort or a supprise? unless the report is incomplete and it was a lens cap not a lens. lens cap easily lost with no cause for alarm. Actual lens not so easily discarded?
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 4, 2018 - 04:47am PT
lens cap is normal to take off and lose when takeing a photo. most working pros use a clear protective filter rather than a lens cap.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Apr 4, 2018 - 05:58am PT
There's a number of totally bizarre unexplained disappearances in Yosemite. "Death in Yosemite" is a fascinating read that lists them all since the 1800's

This case is quite weird because it's unlikely that she would have wandered too far from camp (IMPO) . Lens caps get dropped or lost all the time.
It was one of the most common items turned into the lost and found at the Visitor Center I worked with the FS.
Other than marking where she walked- it's not a very good piece of evidence. The likely scenario is that she just wandered off the trail and got lost or injured.
I do hope her family gets some closure some day.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Apr 4, 2018 - 07:20am PT
Found this searching around. Not my narrative.

Stacy Arras's disappearance is tragic, but not particularly atypical. It's a pretty common scenario.
She left the group and was exploring alone, off-trail, which is very dangerous if you aren't carrying navigation tools and experienced in using them. She was also likely distracted, paying more attention to photography than to navigation. It happens to everyone, so that's not a criticism of her, and usually it isn't a big deal. But then sometimes it is.
The search was fairly small relative to the size of the area they had to work with, and it's likely she kept moving even once she realized she was lost, because the majority of victims do. But it's also the absolute worst thing to do in almost every case, because then searchers are playing catch-up without even knowing where the victim is headed. So we're guessing and trying to catch up. Victims who keep moving also run the risk into crossing back into areas that have already been cleared. Most searches try to control for that by re-searching likely areas, but it depends on the case and that still doesn't mean we'll re-search the right area.
With Stacy, a point I see brought up fairly often is that she was within shouting distance, but I don't think there's a way to prove that. Sound in the wilderness is weird. I've spent a ton of time hiding from searchers as a training subject, and even I'm still sometimes surprised at how variable sound can be. I've had searchers shouting for me from maybe 50 feet away who I couldn't hear because of a slight ridge and wind blowing away from me. On the other hand, I've been freaked out by hearing a dog panting and human voices just above me when I knew the team wasn't close to me yet, because I was hiding on the edge of a canyon and there was a weird magnifying/echo effect. Usually the trend is for sound to be dampened, though. Even a bit of vegetation, a small hill, and a slight breeze you barely notice are enough to muffle sound to a surprising degree.
I also think people just underestimate how easy it is to get lost out there. I basically grew up in the wilderness, because my dad is crazy about it. I was "hiking" before I could walk, because he rigged up baby carriers to his hiking pack. We still go on a week-long backpacking trip at least once a year, and it's a running joke between us that the car or another destination is "just over that ridge!" when we're in the middle of nowhere but are getting tired. And that joke didn't come out of nowhere--we've both done SAR and it's an extremely common lost hiker scenario, plus we've also both gotten into mild trouble due to that idea.
The Arras case is a tragedy and my heart breaks for that kid, but it's a fairly typical missing hiker case. The only thing that's unusual is that she wasn't found, but it happens. Searchers are basically looking for a needle in a haystack, and usually find that needle. Sometimes they don't, but that doesn't mean supernatural influences were involved. Especially in a situation like this, where the search was fairly small relative to the size of the land.


ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Apr 4, 2018 - 07:24am PT
This one is compelling too because when I watched the youtube video upthread I noticed the lake was WAY down in a valley from where the cabins were. The report made it sound like the cabins were right at the lake but it looked like an hour away to me.

Again-not my narrative:


I lived and worked in the park for several summers and grew up in the region. I know the area pretty well and the official description of where she went missing makes no sense. Purportedly, the group arrived at the Sunrise HSC where they planned to stay in some of the cabins.
We are told Stacy left to photograph the lake which was in sight of the cabins. There is no lake in sight of the camp. It would have been a very long hike to reach a lake. So that discrepancy is odd. That fact changes things a lot. If she really set out to photograph the lake then there was a lot of distance and space that could have accounted for her disappearance. There are many crevices and spots where she could have possibly fallen and crevices can conceal a body forever. However, not knowing where she went makes it difficult to guess.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Apr 4, 2018 - 07:33am PT
Hoo man, that's a heart breaker. Matthew Greene managed the vanishing act, too.

BAd
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 4, 2018 - 02:36pm PT
sorry for the drift. no it does not improve the optics but if you do rough and tumble non glamerous work it keeps your front element from getting trashed. Ps nothing about your climbing photo that would have been harmed with a clear lens protector. last time I took a work camera for climbing without a clear lens cover the 24-85 front element ended up getting scratched. done deal.... either way my point with the missing girl that loseing a lens cap is no cause for alarm because people lose them all the time without any drama involved. loseing a lens is a whole different ball game and might indicate some kind of threatening event??
I simply mentioned that none of the pros I have worked with over the years even use lens caps and you got all high and mighty about quality, whatever..

Ps, your landscape shots are really, really good. I totally get your point for that kind of photography. the sports and news stuff that I have been involved with not so much..
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 4, 2018 - 03:06pm PT
Possible that in 81 the lake was visable from the cabins but now the forest grew and the lake is no longer visable??
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 4, 2018 - 03:25pm PT
more likely protecting some mistake from forest service? or some bad event that got botched or involved someone untouchable???????
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Apr 4, 2018 - 03:51pm PT
that is also very possible.
clifff

Mountain climber
golden, rollin hills of California
Apr 4, 2018 - 04:05pm PT
Here's a map:

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1&q=Sunrise+High+Sierra+Camp+Tenaya+Lake+yosemite&npsic=0&rflfq=1&rlha=0&rllag=37795018,-119432551,0&tbm=lcl&ved=0ahUKEwjuho7W2qHaAhXDtlMKHYkXDNsQtgMIKw&tbs=lrf:!3sIAE,lf:1,lf_ui:1&rldoc=1#rldoc=1&rlfi=hd:;si:,37.85083165544256,-119.52236830556637;mv:!1m3!1d48587.658328906145!2d-119.43310438955075!3d37.822090367415804!3m2!1i1180!2i740!4f13.1

It's almost a mile hike to the nearest lake, but only involves backtracking the trail to the camp.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Sunrise+High+Sierra+Camp+Tenaya+Lake+yosemite&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1
Scole

Trad climber
Zapopan
Apr 4, 2018 - 04:10pm PT
I was on that search. We covered a lot of ground looking for her
ec

climber
ca
Apr 4, 2018 - 04:15pm PT
Also sad, one of the search party, Corinna Peterson, a nice gal and excellent climber was killed a few years later while driving the desert in her van, which got washed away in a flash flood.

 ec
aspendougy

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Apr 4, 2018 - 04:19pm PT
Although foul play did not seem likely in this case, I wonder if it was investigated or considered. Possible people of interest would be:

There would generally have been two YPPCO Stables cowboys leading the horses.

The employees at Sunrise

Other members of the party.

Adjacent campers, backpackers, and others doing the High Sierra Loop at that time. As mentioned, this would have been the height of the season, the Camp should have been full.

In this case, it is possible the foul play was considered.

WBraun

climber
Apr 4, 2018 - 04:54pm PT
Obtain a FOIA for the Stacey Arras case and you'll find out what was investigated/searched.

Otherwise guessing and mental speculations as to what was searched/investigated are just a waste of time.

Internet forum guessing armchair sleuths on 30 year old cases (rolls eyes) ......

justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Apr 5, 2018 - 06:36am PT
Smallish girl, Tenaya canyon area, near dusk?

Sounds like she was a big kitty kat's dinner, carcass drug up a tree or into crevice.

I'd nix that theory^^^...and the foul play conspiracies. Sometimes people simply get lost and aren't found.

(Werner can correct me if I'm wrong)... Other than a possible snakebite... there has never actually been a recorded animal-attack fatality in Yosemite NP.




John M

climber
Apr 5, 2018 - 08:04am PT
Obtain a FOIA for the Stacey Arras case and you'll find out what was investigated/searched.

the guy in the second video on the first page says he tried that and was denied. I don't know if it is true, but he says he is writing a book on the subject of lost people in national parks and has obtained hundreds of cases with FOIAs, but was refused on this case. Interesting if true. He says that he is former law enforcement.

As for animals killing people in the park. I believe at least one boy was killed by a deer.

And to the theory that a mountain lion killed the girl. The first video says that dogs were used during the search and so they don't believe that she was killed by an animal. I wonder if there were afternoon thunder showers in the area which could have caused the scent to be washed away before they got dogs there.

Anyone remember if there were thundershowers during the search?
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