Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 2001 - 2020 of total 2338 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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?
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Oct 22, 2013 - 11:04am PT
Sharperblue, thanks for reporting this. Though it sounds like it's probably not Matt's hat, it might set people's minds at ease if we knew whose hat it is.

For this reason, have you thought of posting a picture of the hat on the SummitPost California board or similar place? I mean, people usually do that when they find a whole abandoned campsite, but here there would be a particular reason.

It sounds like conditions up near the glacier were nasty. Just out of curiosity, how were conditions further down, near the trailhead?
kenish

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Oct 22, 2013 - 12:59pm PT
Just to confirm, I searched all the race results and found his name. Hat must belong to someone else.

@tdg- Did you mean you could *not* find Matt's name?

Annual events often change color of apparel each year. If the marathon does that, an organizer should know the year they did green caps. Or, you may already know that Matt never went to that event.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Oct 22, 2013 - 01:38pm PT
Kenish, it looks like the Moab Half Marathon people sell a more recent version of the cap in their online store -- the cap that was found is similar to the yellow one but is constructed somewhat differently:

http://www.moabhalfmarathon.com/product.cfm?id=DFA57217-3048-7A03-3935CD71997C5D7E

If the marathon has been selling such gear for years, the owner of the cap need not even have run in the half marathon. But I doubt that a runner would wear the cap of a marathon they hadn't run in (unless they had some other reason, such as supporting the Boston Marathon). And I've never seen pictures of Matt in that cap. So I doubt it was his.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Oct 22, 2013 - 01:54pm PT
Sorry, yes I meant I did NOT find Matt's name in any of the race results and I searched all the years they had available on the website which goes quite a few years back.
sharperblue

Mountain climber
San Francisco, California
Oct 22, 2013 - 04:43pm PT
Well, I wouldn't call the glacier nasty - just icy - as far as Sierra goes, it was rather fun! Even the North face route above the saddle is solid water ice though, and quite broad - pretty dangerous without a technical tool, but still great fun. (There is a spectacular mixed climb formed up lower down, too; a miniature Canadian climb)

Approach is perfectly clear all the way up, no snow. A scattered remnant in the shade on the northern aspects around the lakes, otherwise ideal Autumn conditions

And yes: teh hat is on the FaceBook page, but i'll post it over on Summitpost as well
pacarockhound

Social climber
Escondido CA
Oct 22, 2013 - 10:03pm PT

I suppose there is the possibility that Matt wore a hat that someone gave him. He might have lost his, blown away, etc. If not, it would be good to know who it does belong to.

Sharperblue - thanks for sharing your thoughts on hiking conditions.

Any news about Matt's eating habits and possible places he ate around July 16th? and possible people he spoke to about his plans....?
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Oct 24, 2013 - 07:58pm PT
sharperblue
Can you be more specific about your actual route on approach, climbing, and your return route after the SE Glacier?
maverick01

climber
Oct 24, 2013 - 08:23pm PT

Just to update everyone involved,

Would like to say that I am sorry to the family, but I decided
to call off our search due to the weather and transportation
issues to and from the trailhead. With the snow and icy conditions
it would have made the search much riskier, also locating any
evidence would have been much more difficult to see/find.
Appreciated everyone's input for and against our search.
Our group of approx 10, and possibly more by next year will
conduct a search in the Minarets if nothing is found by then.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Oct 28, 2013 - 10:16am PT
Thank you for the update Maverick - we were wondering.

I'm glad you decided to play it safe.

I think it's safe to say that all efforts will just need to wait until spring.

I'm going to put forth some effort to go through Matt's gear that was brought back from Mammoth if my parents are OK with that. It's as much for my own peace of mind than out of expectation of finding anything.

Thank you again to everyone who's stuck by us throughout everything.
Ŗ ő ō T « H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Oct 29, 2013 - 12:27am PT
Thank you again to everyone who's stuck by us throughout everything.
^^Class act, but I will always wonder why an official search was not initiated sooner (with the info they had at the time). Why let the the trail go cold in those critical first days? Interviews of hikers, and shuttle drivers better early etc.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Oct 29, 2013 - 03:38am PT
Biotch, there never was an "official" search called out, because there was simply not enough information to determine where Matthew had gone. Simple as that.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Oct 30, 2013 - 11:49am PT
What Cragman said.

I'll mention too that Matt was not even reported missing until 7/29. Neither the car repair shop nor the campground reported him missing (despite that they had his car & gear) and though family was worried that he was not returning calls, we didn't want to jump the gun.

By the time the MLPD found out, the campground had already packed up Matt's stuff and put it in storage. Kind of makes for a difficult trail to follow...
pacarockhound

Social climber
Escondido CA
Oct 31, 2013 - 04:34pm PT
I am still confused by this...seems like the given in search and rescue is that a person is missing. By missing, we mean we don't know where he/she is. Don't most searches start where a person was last seen?
michaeld

Sport climber
Sacramento
Oct 31, 2013 - 05:07pm PT
By the time the MLPD found out, the campground had already packed up Matt's stuff and put it in storage. Kind of makes for a difficult trail to follow...

That sounds like Negligence to me. "Hey a single backpacker is overdue and his gear is here."
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Oct 31, 2013 - 06:48pm PT
Pacarockhound said:
I am still confused by this...seems like the given in search and rescue is that a person is missing. By missing, we mean we don't know where he/she is. Don't most searches start where a person was last seen?

Iím sure more knowledgeable people will correct me, but this is how I understand it. I think thereís a difference between not knowing where someone is within a specified area and not having any idea of where they are. If, for instance, we knew that Matt taken the shuttle to Agnew Meadows and had planned to climb Mt. Ritter, then search teams could have been deployed to those routes. Itís a big area and they might not have found him, but they could have tried.

But we have no idea of where Matt went. The missing gear implies that he planned a day hike involving snow, but that doesnít narrow things down very much, given that there are several large objectives involving snow nearby, and more further away if he had gotten a ride.

Regarding starting a search where a person was last seen/detected, I think that depends on the terrain and abilities of the missing person, which determine how likely it is that the person is near where they started out. If a toddler was last seen wandering away from a remote campground, you would start there and work outwards because the toddler would not have had the intention or the ability to go far. When college student Bryce Laspisa crashed the car he was driving on a freeway ramp near Castaic, and then disappeared without taking his wallet or cell phone, a search started nearby because it was assumed he was injured and disoriented.

If, on the other hand, an extremely fit, healthy, and motivated adult is last seen/detected in an area accessible to trails, roads, and public transportation, that creates a problem in terms of search. Mattís cell phone records put him in Mammoth on the 16th, but he could have gone in any direction on the 17th. There was no sign in his gear of struggle or injury that could have limited where he went. As noted above, his gear implied that he planned a day hike to somewhere with snow. So we're back to not knowing nearly enough about where he went to start an official search.

That said, I wish more searching had been done near the campground, and hope to do some myself if I get up there. (The thinking might have been that if Matt had had an accident in such a well-traveled area, someone would have noticed.)

Finally, my hat is off to Cragman, Mattyj, Matt's friends, and others, who despite this troubling lack of info, and sometimes at great risk to themselves, have done unofficial searches for Matt in the back country.
Off White

climber
Tenino, WA
Oct 31, 2013 - 06:55pm PT
Ron, I think missing adults constitute less than a tenth of that total, which of course is still a lot of people.
kenish

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Oct 31, 2013 - 07:16pm PT
Matt took off solo without informing anyone of his itinerary or timeline. So, nobody realized he was missing and it didn't raise concern at first. By the time friends inquired with the police, almost 2 weeks (IIRC) had passed. At that point, the trail was going cold along with physical evidence and other clues. As it stands today, the timeline is clear up to the evening before his disappearance. The "place last seen" was in town that evening. Family, police in CA and PA, friends, informal searches, etc. have not come up with any substantial clues after that.

From the campground's perspective, they simply had an abandoned campsite. I'm sure it's a regular occurrence which happens for a lot of reasons. True, Matt had paid reliably and wasn't a deadbeat, but they had no reason to conclude "person in trouble in the back country".

SAR couldn't launch a formal search without more information, but would keep an eye out. SAR is a volunteer effort using their own gas, meals, equipment, and time. As dedicated and interested as they are to help, they can't be expected to search a vast area. Even with an educated guess at areas to search, it's still vast and considerable risk is involved. Several with SAR experience have done their own (risky) searches with frustratingly few results.

That's the broad summary (I've been on this thread since it started)...no action was taken in the important initial days because nobody realized Matt was missing.

<edited to add>: +1 to LA Hiker's post above
pacarockhound

Social climber
Escondido CA
Oct 31, 2013 - 07:36pm PT
Thanks LA Hiker and Kenish for the clarification.

I certainly appreciate all the searching that has taken place.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 31, 2013 - 07:54pm PT
Those missing persons stats, like so many, are highly suspect in that agencies
that stand to benefit from increased funding are not likely to correct
those numbers when the person shows up later.
Messages 2001 - 2020 of total 2338 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews