Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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Messages 1681 - 1700 of total 2382 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 6, 2013 - 10:15am PT
Thanks thats what i thought.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 6, 2013 - 10:42am PT
Further on helos....

It is VERY difficult to even spot a living subject from the vantage of a helo.

Typically, when I am bringing a helo in to my location, I guide them into my vicinity with radio communications, then set off a smoke bomb once they are close, giving them my location as well as wind direction for landing.

Another good tool is a signal mirror. (By the way, the BEST signal mirror is a CD or DVD....light, and with the hole in the center, you can keep your eye on your target as you signal.)

At any rate, even with these methods of attraction, it is STILL very challenging to see things on the ground.....finding what we are looking for in this case would be improbable, if not completely impossible.

The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:41am PT
Regarding last communications to / from Matt's phone:

What about other messaging services (gChat, Apple's iOS messaging...)?

Verizon would not have record of those, and the providers might still have the content of the messages.
KellyDoesntClimb

Social climber
Dunwoody, GA
Sep 6, 2013 - 11:43am PT
Map updated again with Immediate Search Needs (Ritter Range)https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=zH95mGu2yK0M.k0POTplcpetE

I have been studying a lot of maps, images, etc. to try to get areas/trails into more accurate positions... For more clarification, read the descriptions in Areas Searched. When appropriate, I have included the words of the searchers.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 6, 2013 - 12:19pm PT
Cragman
Well said. ^^^^^

I've been re-thinking (again) Matt's likely objectives.

Consider what we know:
---Matt had boots, crampons and ice axe.
Ergo he clearly intended some at least moderately difficult snow travel.
---Matt had climbed the Rock Route on one of the North ribs on Clyde. We don't know which route he descended.
---Matt had climbed Riegelhuth Minaret.
ergo: Matt had very good views down on the terrain of all the southern Minarets.
---Matt planned to pick up his car and leave the next day.

I (and many others) have been guessing Matt would have had a major objective, for Matt a big day.

Let's suppose a moment Matt had a lesser objective in mind.
From South Notch (axe and crampons recommended), Matt could have the following moderate 4th class objectives:
Southwest side of Ken Minaret (on north side of South Notch)
NW side of Kehrlein Minaret (on south side of South Notch)
Or a short distance further south the NW slopes of Starr Minaret.
All of these routes are 4th class

Another, more difficult but reasonable objective:
Ken/Clyde Couloir, between Clyde on the north and Ken Minarets. 4th class. This narrow east facing couloir almost certainly contained snow and ice and is directly above Cecile Lake.
There's a 4th class rib from near the top of this couloir to the summit of Ken Minaret
Or from the top of the couloir, the west ridge of Clyde can be reached and followed to the summits of EITHER Eichorn or Clyde.
The Ken/Clyde couloir is sometimes used for descent from Clyde/Eichorn

Matt could have seen all these objectives and routes from the summit of Clyde.
granite_girl

Trad climber
Oakland
Sep 6, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
Re: The Ken/Clyde couloir.

We used that as our descent route from Clyde on Labor Day weekend. The couloir had no snow or ice at all. We saw no signs of Matt. We did descend in the dark, so we didn't have the best visibility, but it's not a very wide couloir, so I'd say it's unlikely that we would have missed him completely. Without snow or ice, and with at least one mandatory rap, the couloir would be an unlikely choice to climb up. It's definitely more of a descent route, and really only useful for someone topping out on Clyde and camping at Lake Cecile.

I'd say it's unlikely that Matt would have brought ice axe and boots for an attempt on the Ken/Clyde couloir.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 6, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
granite_girl
great up to date report on the Ken/Clyde couloir conditions. Thanks!
We should add Ken/Clyde couloir to list of searched routes.
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
Sep 6, 2013 - 02:50pm PT
tdg119-His phone bill is clockwork....Everyday the Phone comes on around 6am and goes off everyday around 9pm..FOR 2 MONTHS, CLOCKWORK!, NOT A SINGLE EXCEPTION...

Tiff/Ron and SpiltPants. I don't see any information in the phone logs that show when the phone was powered on an off. But I agree Matt was very regular in the things he did. And as I consider Matt's typical pattern, this is what has been bugging me.

The last communication from Matt was a text he sent at 8:09pm local time. He received another text message at 8:34pm. Tdg119 do you show his phone going off at around the usual time the night of the 16th? Then there is the uncharacteristic text received at 2:53am. That is the huge change in the pattern.

I'm wondering if something happened to Matt between 8:09p and 2:53a the next day. If there was some foul play/or not and another person now had possession of Matt's cell phone that turned it on at that time. This is as much conjecture as everything else but I'm stuck on Matt's last confirmed communication at 8:09p and starting from there.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 6, 2013 - 04:49pm PT
Mguzzy - here is a summary Tiffany put together. she is working on adding more detail. ~ron
Credit: tdg119
Credit: tdg119
Credit: tdg119
Alpineholydog

Trad climber
Spring Tx
Sep 6, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
Just Returned from Trip through Mammoth. We took Mammoth Taxi up to Agnew Meadows and again noticed how very narrow the road from Mineret Summit to Agnew Meadows is. It would be best searched by hiking and examining the downhill side closely. Lots of brush that could easily obscure things. I think if he hiked to Agnew he had to take this road. If he hiked to Reds Meadow he would have taken the trail.

We hiked up River Trail to Garnet Lake (north side) through Whitebark Pass and explored all approaches up to the East Banner/Ritter Notch from Nydiver.(went to the bottom of the east snowfield) We tried to look as closely as we could with binoculars all the fall lines that could be seen from Nydiver area. We also searched all around the 3 Nydiver lakes and all of the little area benches around Nydiver. Also searched approach to Nydiver from Shadow Lake trail. Also looked at 2 unnamed approaches to Nydiver slightly to east of Whitebark Pass. It was doubtful he would have gone there but wanted to look a bit off the beaten path.

Wish we could have searched further. Matt was on our minds the whole trip and every hiker we passed knew to keep an eye out for any sign of Matt.
Most of all Matt's family was in our thoughts.
Just a peaceful moment from 9/4 (just wind/water not any thunder)

Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 6, 2013 - 05:27pm PT
Good work, Alpineholydog....you were on the right track.

Your video captured the peace that is found there.....certainly one of the best places on the planet.
Alpineholydog

Trad climber
Spring Tx
Sep 6, 2013 - 05:35pm PT
Does anyone know what Satellite views Apple uses for their maps? They are more helpful in that they show the area in summer conditions not the winter conditions that google shows.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 6, 2013 - 06:49pm PT
With Google Earth you can scroll back to any images they've got. I'm using an Oct 2008 that has the least snow cover I can find. Similar to what Tom Cochrane's images show.
Sonoma Jack

Social climber
Sonoma, ca
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:20pm PT
Does anyone else here find it in the slightest bit peculiar that a person is up before 6am and texting a person who is 2000 miles away, yet has no recalection on what was said or why he was texting Matt at 3:30 in the morning PST? Was there a texting history between these two, that is were they randomly texting each other back and forth? Did he butt dial/text him on accident? Does anyone know the actual time the person sent the text, vs. the time Matt received the text when he turned the phone on.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:25pm PT
SplitPants, thanks for your hard work and your progress report...

Kelly, thanks for your work on the map!

Alpineholydog, thanks for your searching and the cool video!

Cragman and HighTraverse, thanks for your thoughts!

HighTraverse said:
From South Notch (axe and crampons recommended), Matt could have the following moderate 4th class objectives:
Southwest side of Ken Minaret (on north side of South Notch)
NW side of Kehrlein Minaret (on south side of South Notch)
Or a short distance further south the NW slopes of Starr Minaret.

HighTraverse, these sound like interesting possibilities which I gather haven't had a search yet.
-Just to confirm, are you saying that for a careful person climbing alone, these routes would be fine without a helmet? (I remember y’all saying something about falling rock t the Minarets but I think you said easier routes were okay.)
-Also, is the most likely trailhead for these routes Agnew Meadows, or would Red’s Meadow or other traiheads be possible/likely?
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:40pm PT
Sonoma Jack, I don’t think the 7/17 2:53am text (I think it was from someone associated with a climbing gym in Pennsylvania) had to have been sent at the time it appears on the bill. As you suggest, if it was sent the night before, I think it would show up on the phone bill as received whenever the phone was turned on.

While it is a little odd the person doesn’t remember sending the text, if that person texts a lot, it might not be that strange. Also, if Matt had been texting back and forth with the person the night before, this could just be the last text in the conversation – something like “Thanks!” or “Okay, good,” sent after Matt turned off the phone and not received until he turned it on at 2:53am.

MGuzzy, as was briefly mentioned upthread and as implied in Ron and Tiffany's handy summary, the phone bill doesn’t show when the phone was turned on or off, but one can tell some times it was on from the timestamps of calls or texts sent or received.

So, I think the unusual thing is that Mat turned the phone on at that hour, not that he received the text. But note that if he hadn’t received the text, we wouldn’t know that he turned on the phone. So while we don’t have evidence for Matt turning on the phone in the middle of the night, he might actually also have done so on other days. As long as he didn’t receive or send a text, check voicemail, or make a call, we would not know he had turned on the phone. On the days that Tiffany’s summary shows no phone activity before the evening, Matt could have turned the phone on several times and we wouldn’t know it.

I still think it's an important question why he turned the phone on so early that particular morning.

I did notice from the phone log that Split Pants posted that on the previous day (7/16), that whereas Matt made some mid-afternoon calls from near the library, his 4:29pm and 4:35pm calls to the repair shop were made from the direction of Mammoth Mountain, perhaps near the Main Lodge. This is very speculative, but I wonder if he was arranging with a Mammoth Mountain employee or someone else at the lodge for a ride somewhere the following morning...

HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 6, 2013 - 08:08pm PT
are you saying that for a careful person climbing alone, these routes would be fine without a helmet?
Two purposes of a climbing helmet:
Keep your head off the rocks in case of a fall and keep the falling rocks off your head.
From what I've read of Matt, he likely would have meant to take a helmet regardless of his climbing objective. I am assuming (reasonable assumption) that he forgot his helmet and by the time he discovered it decided to carry on regardless (see the discussion a couple of days ago). I would carry on and several other experienced climbers have said the same.

But more to your question:
South Notch itself, Kehrlein and Starr can all be done "safely" sans helmet. With axe and crampons, chance of taking a big fall on South Notch is very small. There are "walkup" class 3-4 routes with no snow on Starr, Adams and Kehrlein that also wouldn't turn Matt back if he had no helmet.

In short, I think the lack of helmet should NOT be used to limit likely areas for Matt to go. That would be counter productive. Whereas that equipment list fits the "I'm going to do an easy snow/ice/rock climb" scenario.

What should bound likely search areas?
Areas beyond Matt's one day range. Known to be substantial.
Routes he'd already climbed (not necessarily the peaks themselves).
Routes not requiring ice axe and crampons, at least for the approach. He wouldn't take them if he didn't intend to use them.
The remaining area encompasses most of the eastern escarpment of the Minarets and Ritter and above Deadhorse, Beck Lakes, Minaret, Cecile, Iceberg and Ediza lakes.
Also a small section of the south and west sides of the Minarets accessed by South Notch; as far west as the southwest slopes of Adams.

When considering use of crampons, you should be aware that the hardness (danger) of ice and snow vary greatly with time of day and sun exposure. What is firm ice/snow at 6 AM and requiring axe and crampons would likely be soft gooey snow in the afternoon where you still don't want to take your crampons off (see Cragman's cogent explanation next post). The snow turns to ice again soon after the sun has dropped behind the peaks. Which would be early afternoon in most snowy places in the Minarets.
Matt had enough experience to know all this.

One other possibility I mentioned early on is that Matt ascended from the east, via snow/ice, to one of the many saddles/cols on the spine from Banner to Kehrlein and then toppled and fell down the West (far side).
(I personally know of two highly competent climbers who lost their climbing pack down the back side of a 6500 meter elevation ridge in China. They were very lucky to survive.) It happens.

EDIT to correct proper crampon usage in soft snow.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 6, 2013 - 08:16pm PT
High Traverse...good points, with one exception.

Taking off crampons due to 'balling up' would be to court certain death. Just an inch or two below the soft stuff, the ice is absolutely bulletproof.

When balling up conditions exist, one needs to simply move slower, and get into a cadence of clearing the condition every few steps.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 6, 2013 - 08:19pm PT
Cragman
Yes, that's what I meant. Sorry I didn't make it clear. Or put another way, just because the snow would be soft midday for the descent from South Notch to Cecile Lake, you would likely still experience firm snow or ice in the morning for the ascent.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 6, 2013 - 08:36pm PT
HighTraverse and Cragman,

Thanks for the clarifications!
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