Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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tioga

Mountain climber
pac northwest
Sep 5, 2013 - 08:54pm PT
Ron, the numbers are correct; myself I had studied this statistics about Yosemite... not only "studied" on paper but also I had pleasure of a night time ride in a remote location in Yosemite area (towads West side), when my car broke down, with "childhood friend of Cary Stayner" and viewing his gun shown to me...yes, way out there. Yosemite Park is a special area, that attracts all kinds of scum; at least some locals feel this way. So are areas close to Meth centers (like Orovile, etc). I felt Mammoth was safer area. Also, most homicide victims in Yosemite were females (some if not most of them are suspected to have known whoever attacked them in Yosemite, in unsolved cases), as they're hunted like a prey in this "society"...Matt is a strong looking guy. And he doesn't look like a rich person who attracts thieves. So, as to statistics: still, there're people missing in Yosemite, for many years and recently, no trace and there's no telling if the lion could take them--also injured person can be prey to many animals. Perhaps I had spent too much time around big cats in the past, but they're not to be discounted as non-danger. The only possibility of foul play happening inside campground, I think if it was someone who had a personal reason, an enemy...seems like Matt isn't the kind of person who gets these.
(I don't think cat attacked him either--but saying a random campground crime of serious violent nature, against a strong-looking man especially, in super crowded summer campgrounds there, is even less likely than cats. If it was next to Sacramento, Placerville--I'd say yes, possible. Btw, personally been stalked by a large animal, a cat or bear in the dark--could see only glowing eyes and it was a big, flexible animal--alone, in Shasta area--went back to camp closer to people... been jumped by coyote or fox in the dark as well...do not buy into total safety of wild animals). If anything, the "red flag" of a phone points to him expecting contact from someone he knew, been in touch with...and that someone not coming forward as well as last person texting him not remembering a text message is really weird.

And to clarify the assumption about "Text delivered" timestamp--this should mean "message delivered to phone" not just "message delivered to Verizon user account"--in this case yes, this means phone had been powered up--as soon as you're 100% sure of the meaning. This is from discussion about Verizon SMS time stamp: "I can tell you that the time and date that a message was sent to your phone is not available to Verizon Wireless customers. We can show you when the message is delivered, whether the phone is on or off. That is available through My Verizon online under usage details." (VZ customer service reply)
CyDuke

climber
Sep 6, 2013 - 04:04am PT
Have to side with Cragman here about assault/murder scenario. Seems unlikely a random attack would occur in a campground in the middle of the night without motive. Yes, there are psychos in this world and it could happen, but what's the motive? Doesn't seem like Matt carried a whole lot of cash since he used his credit card for most purchases. Nothing but backpack with boots, crampons, ice ax is missing. His credit card was not used elsewhere. Unless he made an enemy out there, which seems very unlikely, I don't think he was the victim of assault in the campground. A ride with someone shady, now this is more possible. Still I think unlikely.

Phone coming on at that hour is definitely out of character and could be quite significant. But, I think if he turned on his phone because he was in some sort of trouble, why would he have shut the phone back off? Any calls later in the day of the 17th (and subsequent calls) were not "delivered," indicating his phone was off. Possible phone went dead, but if he was at the library that day, he probably put a pretty good charge on the phone and was careful about turning it on and off to save battery. So, if he were in trouble, why turn the phone back off?

Something I haven't seen on here (and I may have missed it) is did Matt use an alarm to wake up? Being a teacher, having to get up early, he may have maintained his school schedule and woke up each day on his own accord, by his own internal clock. But, if an alarm clock of some sort was with his belongings, wonder if the last alarm time was set just before 3am?

Seems to me finding a ride at that hour of the morning is unlikely unless the ride was going to also be his hiking partner for the day, which seems obviously unlikely since no one has came forward and reported either being with him or an accident on the hike. I believe where ever Matt went, he went alone, on foot.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:13am PT
need your opinion - would it be of any value to send up ed in the helo with a pair of immage stabalizing binoculars?


`Ron

Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:14am PT
^None whatsoever.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:15am PT
Thanks thats what i thought.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 6, 2013 - 07:42am 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 - 08:41am 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 - 08:43am 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 - 09:19am 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.
Dr. F.

Boulder climber
SoCal
Sep 6, 2013 - 09:24am PT
Credit: Dr. F.
Above Lake Mary
granite_girl

Trad climber
Oakland
Sep 6, 2013 - 09:47am 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 - 09:56am 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 - 11:50am 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 - 01:49pm 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 - 02:19pm 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 - 02:27pm 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 - 02:35pm 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 - 03:49pm 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 - 04:20pm 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 - 04:25pm 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?
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