Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area


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Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 7, 2013 - 11:10am PT
Per MLPD: 2:48 pm, July 17, 2013, 39 Pinecrest, Mammoth Lakes, Ca, Verizon building and tower.This address is the main Verizon building/tower in Mammoth Lakes. There is no outbound phone call activity after the 16th of July, as indicated on my Verizon emergency request re: Greenes cell phone, his phone was turned off/powered off.
The 2:48 pm is not a ping, because there is no Lat & Lon indicated.

So, what does piece of data mean, since it's not a ping?

Tioga, forgive me if I'm just rehashing stuff you know, but as I understand it, a ping means a cell tower sends a signal to a phone and the phone responds. I gather that a cell phone provider can find the location of a cell phone in two ways. If the phone has GPS capability, it uses that to determine where the phone is. If the phone doesn't have GPS, the location of the phone can sometimes be determined by triangulation -- by measuring the relative strength of the cell phone's response to several cell phone towers. (I think we figured out that Matt's phone didn't have GPS but am not sure. Also, the police say that texts don't involve pings, so the exact location of the phone when it received the 2:53am text can't be determined.)

So I think this piece of data just means that someone tried to call Matt on the 17th at 2:48pm, but his phone was either turned off or out of range. So the "location" was given as the location of the cell phone tower that tried to reach the phone, which was the main Verizon tower in Mammoth Lakes. (Given that Matt often turned of his phone to save battery power and probably also was out of range, I don't regard this as very informative.)

The phone bill also says that that was one of three calls that were made to Matt's phone on the 17th, that all reverted to the main cell phone tower. I'm a little curious about the timing of the other two calls, but they wouldn't provide us with much info -- just other moments at which Matt's phone was off or was out of range.
Sonoma Jack

Social climber
Sonoma, ca
Sep 7, 2013 - 11:38am PT
I'll ad just a couple of observations. My son and brother were hiking the JMT, and were taking a two day break in Mammoth on July 16-17, so this story peaked our curiosity, and I've been following it. Based upon the information collected so far, I believe that the 3am phone Check indicates that Matt was indeed set to travel to a far off destination, which could have lasted more than one day. It seems he knew his car would not be ready until later in the day, or even possibly the following day. He had no job of obligations that put him on a tight schedule. If memory serves, he didn't give his friends an exact ETA on when he'd meet up, but an approximation.

When I picked my son up in Merced after his hike, at the Amtrak Depot, he was with a group of foreign hikers from Chili he befriended in Mammoth. We had a brief conversation in Spanish after my son introduced them. I found it interesting that the highlight of their trip, and their main objective was to summit Mt. Whitney. I'm not saying that this was Matt's plan, but I would think Whitney would be high on the list of foreigner, or East Coast visitor to the high Sierras. It is a destination of many an outside visitor. He could have received a ride to Lone Pine from one of these foreign tourist who were picking up a partner hiking Whitney. the following day, they leave the country, have no clue that he's missing. One other question you might need to ask: Was Matt first and foremost a backpacker/hiker, who also enjoyed climbing, of was he a climber who hiked as a means to achieve his climbing endeavors? The answer to this may help determine his destination. If I were involved in searching for Matt, I would certainly make the drive to Lone Pine and ask around.

Mountain climber
pac northwest
Sep 7, 2013 - 11:57am PT
Just a remote possibility, LAHiker, but could it be that a brielf and very weak signal (from remote area; the kind when you turn on your cell phone and there's no signal--then briefly there's extremely weak signal but not enough to make a call) came in from his phone reaching only one tower at that time, 2.48pm on the 17th (in this case triangulation on multiple towers could not be performed and "location" was not determined by Verizon). In these cases location (or radius from tower) can actually still be very roughly approximated, based on signal strength and round trip time, but their system might not register/store these, due to coarseness of the location. I remember a case of stranded people in the mountains--they had no signal, but there happened to be a short random ping about a week after they got stranded (their account as monitored by police at that moment, which allowed to capture approx. location of the phone, since they probably stored all traffic including simple handshake with a tower by then) and they were found.

The second possibility is yes, incoming data (call or text) to his phone at that time, and Verizon would definitely know if it was the meaning of that record.

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 7, 2013 - 12:10pm PT
Tioga, interesting thought, but the log posted by SplitPants says that the MLPD said that Verizon said that Matt's phone was "turned off/powered off" when the 2:48pm call came in and that there hadn't been a ping. :-(

There are good hypotheses here about Matt's possible objective. But I wish there was something -- some technical info, access to Matt's email accounts, a conversation someone had -- that could narrow things down!

Sep 7, 2013 - 12:12pm PT
Yes you need something concrete.

Unfortunately mounds of speculations remain just that ......

Mountain climber
pac northwest
Sep 7, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
MLPD said that Verizon said that Matt's phone was "turned off/powered off"

That's a thing, LAHiker, this statement seems to be an assumption vs. being a fact, as if the phone was out of range, there's no way VZ or MLPD could determine if the phone was simply out of range and powered on versus being powered down. When the tower (cell) tries to reach the phone and there's no response, there's no way to tell exactly why the phone is unreachable; all they know is there's no response to the request.

But I take/hope they at least determined with certainty that the last piece of data for the 17th was the incoming contact.

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 7, 2013 - 12:38pm PT
Tioga, you may be right that the phone could have been out of range rather than off. I do think they determined that that the early-morning text was the last actual contact with the phone. (The MLPD summary of the log says that all later incoming calls from July 17th to July 30th reverted to that central Verizon tower in Mammoth Lakes.)

Sonoma Jack, I agree that Matt could have gone further afield if he'd had a ride. From all I've read, he was mostly a climber, though he also did some hiking/running. On the 17th, he didn't have a tent or even a bivvy sack with him, implying he intended to do a day hike. He did have crampons, one ice axe, and Sportiva boots as well as approach shoes, implying that his objective involved snow. (As far as I know, Whitney doesn't have snow in July.)

Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 7, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
Back to possible snow/ice climbing within a day's walk of the trailheads.
We should add the East face of The Watchtower.

See Tom Cochrane's aerial photo and climb2ski's 21 August post 7th down on this page
Just seems like a good smaller day objective for a guy in Mammoth with crampons who is waiting for his car to be fixed.


Matt may have intended to just mess around on The Watchtower's large snowfield without making a summit attempt. We know from his activities and 2006 notes that he was attracted to snow and ice.

Sep 7, 2013 - 01:30pm PT
The phone information we have really doesn't provide much in the way of any information on where Matt may have went or where he may be.

I do however believe it is important to find out if the last text message sent to him was at 5:53 am (Eastern time) or if it was sent the night before. This could determine if his phone was already on and he received it in real time or if he did infact turn his phone on at 2:53 am (Pacific time). Either way, it still doesn't indicate where he may have went, but it could indicate that he did get up earlier than usual for a long day somewhere.

There is also alot of assumption being made that he may have gotten a ride. While it's possible, is it really likely at 3am or even up to 4am? And it seems that if had a prearranged ride that early, it also may have been to hike together. No one has come forward as of yet and there is no evidence that he did have a prearranged ride. (No unusual phone numbers on phone bill, no activity on his summitpost message board, no bulletin board notes that we know of). So, based on the lack of evidence of a ride, I think leaving on foot has to be thoroughly examined. Starting at the last known location, which is the campground, is where Matt's steps should be retraced. And based on the assumptions that he went to Banner/Ritter/Minarets, which would be the best route? And would it make sense for him to leave that early and not wait for bus? By this I mean, would leaving on foot put him at the trailhead earlier than the bus? Or was it more important for Matt to just have a "scenic" look on the way to the trailhead so he'd rather leave on foot than wait for the bus? And again, this would be pure speculation (like most everything is), but since there was a lot of concentration, it seems, from the google map, that Matt already spent alot of time hiking/climbing in that direction (west of campground), would he have preferred to go in an opposite direction for a new perspective, perhaps somewhere else that he would get good use of his boots/crampons?

Again, I think the campground has to be the starting point. There are trails that lead off right from the campground that intersect with other ones. Seems those are all easy to hike trails, but there must be some off the well-beaten path trails that would lead to the Ritter/Banner/Minaret area.

I read this on the ST site:
High Sierra Non-Climbing Skills
Technical climbing skills are only a small requirement for High Sierra routes. Routefinding skills, hiking fitness, and general "mountain sense" are just as important. Approaches typically involve at least a few miles of hiking off a main trail. Our High Sierra Climbing guidebook features the most detailed info ever provided for these approaches.

Maybe there is something in the 30 pages of Matt's guide book that could provide insight as to what would be the most likely pathway he used if he headed toward Ritter/Banner. He could be somewhere in between. We don't even know if he ever made it to his destination.

Mountain climber
pac northwest
Sep 7, 2013 - 02:51pm PT
Speaking of cellphone data. Since tracking/geolocation became a big pivacy issue recently: according to ACLU, Verizon stores "cell towers used" information for telecom service for one year. "Cell towers used" by the mobile device can have a couple of meanings: 1) the towers used for known communication such as text/voice 2) at the same time, a lot of communication happens between cellphone and towers all the time, outside of voice/text context: the phone contacts towers at regular intervals and says, basically, "hey, this is my ID and I'm near you"--this is used to update routing information--until it's powered down or goes completely out of range. If metadata on these communications were available, it could be possible to reconstruct coarse location. Routing software often has caches that store one of the last communications info (this is not lat/lon geolocation and not triangulation result (which is next step), this is phone to tower raw communication info: timing advance, etc).

The list provided by Verizon posted here is quite concise and I wonder if actual forensics were performed (they were not, I believe, as there's no evidence of "crime" and no subpoena on his records) on the account and routing data related to last known towers a lot more could be revealed. Elapsed time doesn't help here, of course...

Mountain climber
pac northwest
Sep 7, 2013 - 03:12pm PT
CyDuke, I agree that ride arranged that early most likely would be for a climbing trip together.

Social climber
Escondido CA
Sep 7, 2013 - 03:23pm PT
On Your Left ------ I appreciated your photos and your road trip in search of Matt. I wonder if there could be a list of current people searching for Matt today, and where they are, and photos as you did. I have no idea how many people are currently on the ground looking. It was great to see his poster also.

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Sep 7, 2013 - 05:43pm PT
Again, I think the campground has to be the starting point. There are trails that lead off right from the campground that intersect with other ones. Seems those are all easy to hike trails, but there must be some off the well-beaten path trails that would lead to the Ritter/Banner/Minaret area.

It is 10 miles from Shady Rest Campground to the Agnew Meadow trailhead. I don't think anybody would willingly walk this road, especially if they were trying to tag Ritter, Banner or one of the Minaret's in a day. Totally implausible. Even from the trailhead these peaks are a long day, most parties taking 2 days. He either waited for the bus or caught a ride, in my opinion, if he headed to the Ritter Range. Maybe he woke up when his phone went on, spent some time having breakfast and organizing, then headed out closer to 5 am when there might be some early hikers on the road.

There is a very good chance there's someone out there who gave Matt a ride and discussed his objective.

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Sep 7, 2013 - 07:48pm PT
Re: the cell phone, LA Hiker's question and Tioga's explanation of location are both good. It would be good to find out whether the call or text to Matt's phone on the afternoon of the 17th was not received, or if the phone was actually on. (Most likely the first one...if a phone is off, incoming calls are routed to the last known site the phone "handshaked" with.

FYI, cell sites constantly send a list of phones in that site back through the cell network. The data is collected at central locations. When a phone is called, the network knows the cell site and call/text data are routed there.

Tioga's explanation of location is good without getting into irrelevant technical detail. Additionally, phone location can be figured out with only one tower but not too precisely. Bearing from the tower is known to about 20 degrees...distance is vague with only 1 tower. There should be a record of the cell tower and direction to Matt's phone at 0253 on the 17th. Also, the person at the PA climbing gym should have a record of when he sent the text. It should show up on his Verizon bill, or Verizon can retrieve it. Either he sent it at 0553 ET, or it was sent a long time before (then Matt turned on his phone at 0253).

Social climber
Sep 8, 2013 - 01:07am PT
Hi all,

Split Pants...thank you for all you are doing!

Cragman...get your toe up and ice it! It will keep the swelling and throbbing down. Feel better!


I've been looking over all that I found on here and Facebook. The chart Tiffany made up of where he was on each day made the dates of July 13, 14 and 15 caught my attention. The last known person to talk to Matt that we know of is Arnold Morales and his family. Here's what was on Facebook:

"I saw him on Friday night 13th. My brother stayed until Monday and is trying to remember." Arnold Morales.

"Me and my family spent the last days before he went missing. We might be able to help. Contact me." Arnold Morales

"I met him during my camping trip to mammoth. He loved to climb he loved to teach he loved his life. I can't believe how life is I am truly sad tonight." Arnold Morales (on his wall)

"Yes Sunday before he disappeared he talked to my son Arnold and showed him in the book where he planned on going . He was waiting for his car to be fixed he said they were giving him the run around." Connie Silva (mother)

"Connie help me! I study chapter 12. If Matt talked to your son about where he was hiking that be a big help. Does your son climb, hike, know the area? Why did Matt talk with him? The missing link for me is the pages Matt took. Very important to determine where Matt started his hike. The memory if what Matt said word for word can help is determine his goals that day." Todd Quinn told Connie. They must have been in communication with each other.

"My sons and family met in(him) at the campgrounds in July he is a very nice fun guy our prayers go out to his family." Connie Silva.

"Connie, let's do this right. I would like to empower you to help find Matt. Both you and your son can sit down in a quiet room early hour. Focus on what made camping fun for the time spent in Mammoth. I would like to send you the names to all the peaks and trails. First read off the names of the peaks to your son, then the trail names. Finally, if your son is visual please let me send you a book or copy of chapter 12. Have your son read it more then once. Thank you, I know it sounds like homework. Thank you," Todd Quinn

"We saw him on Saturday my other son said he saw him Sunday night," Connie Silva.

Then Ethan Culver joins in, "Connie, hopefully your son can say where he told him he was going. Would be nice to know a specific area..."

"Connie...the Sunday before he disappeared? I wonder if Matt's car had broken down at that point or not until after. If so, I wonder if he told anyone where he planned to hike while he waited for his car. Either way, you think his friends who continued on would have been told where he might go. You know, a "Ok, I'm going to wait back for my car and hike [this area] in the meantime, and I'll meet up with you later." I am surprised that I haven't heard anything from those friends he was traveling with." Ethan Culver.

"We are all related to Arnold keep us updated! Please..." Connie Silva.

My interpretation:

They met at the camp ground on Friday, July 13th based on what he said. They said his brother stayed until Monday, July 16th and he was trying to get him to remember. (Doesn't make sense) I am trying to figure out who is brother is or if the mother was referring to her son.

Did anyone get in touch with them other than Facebook? The police would need to know of any other conversations that took place. This could be a critical piece to the investigation since it was his last known location.

Split Pants, I will pm you the more detailed information I was able to find. Please read...it's interesting. Be safe out there!


Boulder climber
Sep 8, 2013 - 01:26am PT
Yes, Sunday before he disappeared he talked to my son Arnold and showed him in the book where he planned on going.

Social climber
Lehigh Valley, PA
Sep 8, 2013 - 02:51am PT
That whole Facebook thread Supermama posted better have been read by police before now. They were alerted about it back on August 27th or thereabouts? I have asked multiple times if anything has come of interviews with these witnesses and haven't heard a thing.

Ron/Tiffany, if you are reading this, have you heard whether they were able to be interviewed yet, and if so whether they could provide any clues to guide the investigation?

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 8, 2013 - 07:48am PT
I saw those postings by Arnold and Connie and tried reaching out to them but they haven't replied to anything; possibly because my msgs went to their 'other' folder (a FB thing for msgs from those not on friends list). Also tried reaching out in the thread itself. I have no other contact info so I forwarded the info to Dan Watson who in turn said he'd forward it to the detective. Nothing back yet.

I agree that these two could be crucial to the investigation and their info should be easily attainable from campsite registration records. The 17th when Matt went missing was a Wednesday so if they saw him Monday and he stayed in town Tuesday...any plans he discussed are VITAL to this case.

Also have inquired about who tried calling Matt after the 17th; all we received was a picture of dates/times.

Asked about getting into Matt's other bank accounts to see if there is anything strange or at least nail down times of transactions (considering receipts are gone). No response on that yet. No disrespect intended, but if I could only do all this myself...

I am working to find out if the individual who sent that last text message remembers when he sent it. Hoping he remembers. I know we all think he should remember what he texted and all that but I think I'd be equally guilty of forgetting. Difference is I'm a Techie so my phone would have it.

I'll go back to the thread and make sure I answered all the questions hanging.

I can't thank all of you enough for hanging around trying o solve the mystery.

PS...Matt would be 40 today

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Sep 8, 2013 - 09:30am PT
Hi all.....checking in...

How crucial it is right now to track down any information that may shrink our search area....the days are drawing shorter, weather is changing....our window is closing.

Tiffany, my thoughts are with you and the rest of the family on this, Matthew's birthday.

EDIT: Infection is being stubborn.....still gimping and cannot get my foot in a closed toed shoe.

Social climber
Lehigh Valley, PA
Sep 8, 2013 - 09:43am PT
Ron and Tiffany,

Thanks for posting your update. Your hearts must be so heavy today, on Matt's 40th birthday. I have a brother who turned 40 in August, and he lives out west (Colorado) and loves mountain pursuits like biking, skiing, and snowboarding. I cannot imagine how distraught I would feel if I were in your shoes. I want so much for there to be a break in the case that can help solve this mystery.

Which is why it is so maddening that Connie Silva and Arnold Morales have not been reached yet. It had not occurred to me that Facebook messages to them might have ended up in that "other" mail folder. I just found out recently that that existed. Another thing is, in looking at their timelines, that they don't seem to be frequent Facebook posters. Maybe they aren't on there too much. I did look today and noticed that Arnold posted something September 6 (a message to his wife, Jeannie Morales). And Connie had posted this message on your map update thread on September 3: "Did they have any news ? Or find Matt this weekend?" I saw that you had replied to that, but there was no response. She may not have seen it.

Do you know for a fact that the detectives have not yet been able to reach them? Here's what we can tell from the Facebook pages: Both Connie and Arnold live in Bakersfield California. Connie's page says she "worked at Walmart." Arnold's says "worked at Nabors Industries." Even with that past-tense wording, they may still work at those companies. The campground should have their contact info. There seem to be multiple ways to track them down.

Regarding the Facebook contact: In case Connie and Arnold have missed your private messages, I might suggest posting a public message on the Find Matthew Greene page that you are trying to reach them. It will go out to everyone who "liked" the page. It appears that Connie has the page "liked," and so does Arnold's wife, Jeannie. (Arnold does not.) Hopefully they would see your plea in their news feeds and try to contact you.

Good luck on this front, and continued well wishes and positive thoughts to all of Matt's family and loved ones....
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