Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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Gene

climber
Oct 10, 2013 - 10:03pm PT
… and Papua New Guinea sites (where he was in Peace Corps).

Matt’s death is now even more poignant to me because I am also a former PCV, a life-long lover of the Ritter Range, and have spent time in New Guinea. Where did he serve? What did he do?

The fact that Matt was a PCV in New Guinea tells me one thing. If Matt was like any of the PCVs I have known, the probability that he was duped by someone with evil intent approaches nil. One thing you develop in the PC is a finely tuned BS filter. By necessity you become a good and quick judge of the intent of others. You get post-PhD level, real-time experience in situational awareness regarding people and situations. It’s part of the job.

I pray that Matt’s remains in the Sierra will be found. Given the date on the calendar, it won’t be this year. It’s time to search for peace and acceptance of what has happened.

God bless you all.

g
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Oct 10, 2013 - 11:08pm PT
+1 Gene....thanks, my friend.

Best,
Dean
zBrown

Ice climber
Brujo de La Playa
Oct 10, 2013 - 11:15pm PT
Where, in the possible routes Matt might have been on, are the areas where a rock slide could have completely covered him?






http://www.traditionalmountaineering.org/News_PeterStarr.htm

http://climber.org/reports/2003/1150.html

http://www.climber.org/reports/2003/1205.html

Dave Daly, who learned about Starr while reading Missing in the Minarets, conceived the idea for the memorial and led the climb. Waczairg persuaded the Stanford Alumni Association to pay for the plaque. It is located about 300 feet below the summit, in direct view of the ledge where Norman Clyde discovered Starr’s body in 1933. Although the climbers visited Starr’s gravesite, Waczairg says they chose a different, more visible spot to place the plaque—at a junction partway up the mountain, where several routes to the top diverge. “Most people who climb the mountain will go directly past the plaque,” he explains.

Waczairg says the climbing was strenuous, dangerous and unthinkable without a safety rope. It gave him new respect for Starr’s ability. “I’ve done a lot of climbing—I’ve never seen a mountain that was so sheer on all four sides. If you fall, you die,” he says. “I would have rated it about a 5.7.” Anything over 5.0 is considered technical climbing, virtually always performed with a rope and another climber. Recalling that Starr had not only climbed with no rope but in tennis shoes, Waczairg says reverently, “The guy was out of his mind.

“He almost made it,” he adds. “It would have been an amazing climb—to this day, nobody has finished it.”

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2003/novdec/features/plaque.html





Quote Here
kenish

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Oct 10, 2013 - 11:22pm PT
He thinks email would be a dead end and since Matt appeared to be using his school email, I'm inclined to agree at this point.

The school district should have all of Matt's emails...still on their email server, in Matt's inbox, or archived. Given the school's closeness to you, Matt, and the situation, I would think they'd be pretty willing to provide access to his account. True, it probably won't directly find Matt but may have clues. It also may lead to friends, business relationships, bank accounts you didn't know about. If nothing else, some of the email could be "digital mementos" of Matt. I've saved some emails from a friend who passed tragically as a reminder of who he was.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
Oct 10, 2013 - 11:44pm PT
The difficult thing about the logs is it's hard, for me anyways, to tell what was actually searched for vs what just lies on a page and caught his eye.

I'd be happy to look over the logs to see if I can pull out some details. Sending you a PM.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Oct 11, 2013 - 02:27am PT
Tiffany said:
I'll be quite honest - out of the logs it bothers me that he checked on the Palisades (I thought it and brushed it off but SplitPants caught it too). The difficult thing about the logs is it's hard, for me anyways, to tell what was actually searched for vs what just lies on a page and caught his eye.

So, checking on Palisades conditions and then the corresponding posts could be something. He had Palisades maps and such in his stuff; but again it's something he did with John.

Hi Tiffany, did Matt check on the Palisades beyond checking that U Notch/V Notch thread?

If Matt went onto SummitPost’s California forum on July 16th, the “Recent U and V notch conditions – end of July” post would have been at or near the top. Since Matt had recently been to V notch (on July 6th) and had posted about conditions there on July 8th, mightn’t he have clicked on the post in case he had something to contribute?

I remember that you said it looked like Matt emailed someone on that thread. It looks like three people posted on the thread; the posts of one of them, 3Deserts, have apparently been removed because he’s been banned for trolling or something like that. The other two are subhrojyoti and naren, who sound like they’re climbing partners but I’m not sure. Subhrojyoti asks for info re conditions and Naren asks for pictures from 3Deserts’ trip. I doubt that Matt emailed 3Deserts, though of course it's possible because 3D's posts were still there at the time.

Maybe Matt emailed Subhrojyoti with more info? He couldn’t have planned to go there again on the 17th with Subhrojyoti, because Subhrojyoti wasn’t going there until late July. Maybe you could contact Subhrojyoti, explain the situation, and ask whether Matt contacted him??

While there was snow at V and U notch, and it’s not impossible that Matt went there on the 17th, this seems very unlikely to me because (a) Matt tended not to repeat climbs, (b) he would have had to get a long ride -- the Palisades are ~70 miles from Mammoth and (c) it looks like he might not have decided what to do on the 17th until after his late-afternoon calls to the repair shop, which would mean he would have had to lined up that long ride really fast.

Or am I missing something here – did Matt check conditions in the Palisades more extensively than this, or is something else making you uneasy about this?
zBrown

Ice climber
Brujo de La Playa
Oct 11, 2013 - 10:59am PT
I hadn't seen this before re: Steve Fossett. Gives a good pictorial of what searchers are up against.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockwellb/sets/72157607737959209/
WBraun

climber
Oct 11, 2013 - 11:12am PT
Gives a good pictorial of what searchers are up against.

Doesn't look rough at all, like walking around in a corn field in Kansas.

Meh ....
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Oct 11, 2013 - 01:06pm PT
Gene - Matt was teaching at Bema in Papua New Guinea in the Peace Corps. He had to fly in and out of Kaintiba to get to any real towns, I believe. There are some pictures from back in the day here: https://findmattgreene.shutterfly.com/301
----

I don't know why Palisades bugs me...just does. He may have very well been checking up on a thread he'd already posted to on the 8th since he'd done it with John. I emailed the two people on the thread to see if Matt may have emailed them.

Detective Toronzi got the court ordered phone logs to me today. Not much new to report, however it does tell us that the 2:53 am PST text message was actually sent and received at the same time, so Matt's phone was already on. That in itself is strange to me. It really seems as though he turned his phone off every night. I don't see on/off records or any better lat/long info then we had before.

Repair shop tried calling him once each on July 17th, 20th & 22nd; nothing after. The call they made on the 17th was at 2:48 pm PST. No strange numbers. Everything's from PA except for the repair shop and then Det. Hornbeck on the 29th.

~ Tiffany
Supermama

Social climber
pa
Oct 11, 2013 - 05:23pm PT
Kenesh...

All of Matt's school email was checked by the detective and nothing was found. I covered that at this end since we were colleagues. The only web account left is his Hotmail.

Supermama
Supermama

Social climber
pa
Oct 11, 2013 - 07:11pm PT
I was searching the net for the clues we had about Matt's disappearance and this is what came up. The last web address is the link to the sight. It is from a hiking group from Reno. They hiked right after Matt disappeared. I thought the gear required matched that of Matt's. See what you all think.

Clyde Variation route description:

http://www.summitpost.org/clyde-variation/155876

At the end of the day, it was a great, if not epic trip! I recommend it. Yes, you do need helmet, ice axe, and crampons – the glacier is ice (no amount of wishful thinking will get your boots that you bought at REI to grip the high angle ice/snow – if you slip you are taking a long, fast ride into a boulder, or over a cliff) and there is rock falling all over the place up there all of the time.

http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2263769
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Oct 11, 2013 - 09:42pm PT
From the Ritter climb report linked by Supermama above

This is a strange year – we are in a drought now (second year), which has melted a lot of snow away from a large boulder in the SE col creating a steep and dangerous culvert.
I am guessing that such a berghschrund/crevasse/moat could have caught Matt.
Cragman found a big one somewhat to the south and much lower, I believe at the base of the route this group climbed.
There are plenty of them up there. Approaching any of them to look for Matt without a well trained and equipped team is a Very Bad Idea.

Regarding the idea that Matt would have gone to the Palisades.
The Palisades are certainly a spectacular mountaineering destination and very appealing.

However, it is extremely unlikely that Matt went there.
The trailhead is at least 2 hours south of Mammoth, the hike in to any serious snow/ice is at least 2 more hours, even for Matt. Then at least 2 hours to climb anything worth the trip.
And then reverse the process.
He would have to find a partner and/or ride. No public transit would get him there
It's a 12 hour day MINIMUM even if he were walking Really Fast.
And he most certainly planned on picking up his car the next morning.

There was a tragic death in the Tetons early this summer. A client was some distance from his guide, took a slide down a moderate slope and slid into a moat at the bottom of the snowfield. The moat fed a significant stream beneath the snowfield. Even though he was extricated alive and flown out by helicopter, he died (presumably of hypothermia) in the hospital.
The report by Grand Teton Search and Rescue is here.
http://tetonclimbingsar.blogspot.com/2013_06_01_archive.html
See the "Garnet Canyon Fatality" 1/2 way down the page. Photos 2, 3 & 4 show the moat and the SAR team.

This route is traveled by dozens of people daily. I climbed this snowfield last summer and ascended/descended within a few feet of the moat.
crankster

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Oct 11, 2013 - 10:08pm PT
I'm repeating myself, but what the heck....Matt had been to the Palisades to climb the V-Notch Couloir, so he new the logistics. Really no chance he went there solo without a car when he's anxious to get his car and head to Colorado.

Mammoth has beautiful surroundings, but the "town" isn't really a town, there's no center, it's a place you need a car or at least a bike. Shady Rest Campground would get old REALLY fast. Getting to the Agnew Meadow trailhead for approaches to the Minarets and Mt. Ritter isn't that easy without a car, but it is the main traffic path & would be relatively easy to hitch a ride. That's the most likely place Matt headed. He had not previously climbed Mt Ritter, the highest peak in the area. Hard to argue he went elsewhere.
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Oct 12, 2013 - 01:31am PT
"Mathew was mauled by a large animal who dragged his body off of a pathway and into a ravine-esq area.
I had some time to hike/ look at some remote boulders today, and I remembered that post. The local bears would not qualify IMO, but Mountain Lions have been seen/ videoed in and around town, and seem to have the moxie to just outright attack humans.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Oct 12, 2013 - 02:10am PT
Maverick01/Peter, I’ve been meaning to tell you that I appreciate that you’re considering searching some more, weather permitting. If you do end up searching, I hope you’ll be careful. I realize that the search window for this fall is rapidly closing.

I do agree with Kenish’s and others' concerns that organizing search parties among people who don’t know each other can expose the searchers to danger and the organizer to liability. But perhaps if preexisting teams of technically skilled people are searching in the area, they can coordinate with each other.
zBrown

Ice climber
Brujo de La Playa
Oct 14, 2013 - 10:58am PT

Lost in the wilderness: 72-year-old man survives 19 days, eating lizards, squirrels

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/14/us/california-missing-man/
sharperblue

Mountain climber
San Francisco, California
Oct 22, 2013 - 12:43am PT
Just a throw-away comment: we ran up Ritter on Saturday and came down the SE Glacier (as has been mentioned, extremely icy and unusual conditions) - found a green ball cap 2/3 way down in a bit of an unusual location, with a stone very intentionally placed on it to keep it from blowing away. 'Canyonlands Half Marathon' logo. Likely from SAR crew, but the weathering on it seemed just about perfect to have been sitting in the open for a few three months. Took a GPS spot and left it.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Oct 22, 2013 - 05:47am PT
sharperblue...potentially a significant find, as Matthew was a runner.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Oct 22, 2013 - 08:53am PT
sharperblue - I just checked out the website for the Half Marathon listed on that cap. Unfortunately, it's a race held in March - Matt would be home in PA in March. Just to confirm, I searched all the race results and found his name. Hat must belong to someone else.

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/nazareth/index.ssf/2013/10/post_34.html
OutdoorGal

Social climber
Lehigh Valley, PA
Oct 22, 2013 - 10:27am PT
Tiffany/Ron, I saw the photo on FB, and there is no year shown on the hat. Could Matt have run this in a previous year--say, during a school spring break? Or has he never traveled out west during that time of year?
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