Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Sep 23, 2013 - 06:56pm PT
Not sure if this was posted here but someone found a campsite that was abandoned:

http://www.summitpost.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=66256
pacarockhound

Social climber
Escondido CA
Sep 23, 2013 - 09:19pm PT
Is this(Discovery Pinnacle) anywhere near discussed and agreed upon possible destinations of Matt's?

Could he have hooked up with another hiker and this gear belong to the other person?
10b4me

Ice climber
Soon 2B Flagstaff
Sep 23, 2013 - 11:21pm PT
Discovery Pinnacle is in the Whitney area.
pacarockhound

Social climber
Escondido CA
Sep 23, 2013 - 11:23pm PT
Yes, I see that now.....about 50? 100 miles away?
kenish

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Sep 23, 2013 - 11:34pm PT
Discovery Pinnacle is 80-100 miles south of Mammoth, very near Mt. Whitney. I'd urge the person who found the abandoned camp to report it to SAR or the sheriff. It's either in Inyo or Tulare County...but might get more attention thru Inyo County. It may be connected to a known rescue/recovery where the camp was abandoned or never found, or less likely to a still-missing person or even the subject of an active search (like Matt). No matter what, that much gear isn't simply lost or casually left behind. The owner wouldn't be able to continue much longer without it.

I'd reply on Summitpost myself, but I'm not registered. Best to err on the side of the worst-case...and hopefully free stuff to the finder if SAR or LEO can't connect it to anyone (I'd personally feel creeped out or ghoulish getting gear found under that circumstance).
Timid TopRope

Social climber
'used to be Paradise, CA
Sep 24, 2013 - 12:11am PT
As has been mentioned many times on this thread: Matt had been ticking off many classic climbs in the Sierra. He had already been on Mammoth Crest once if not twice. He had already done one of the main Minarets. He had one last full day in the area. His only gear missing was for a long day on snow possibly hard/approximating ice. Most likely destination still points to Ritter/Banner as it fits the most mountaineering objective given what is known.

As also mentioned. I'm sure I'm not the only who wants to save a battery charge and turns off phone camping and then wakes up easily tent camping due to restless excitement about an early mornng adventure and turns on the phone near 3am to see what time it is only to go back to sleep for a couple more hours. A little coffee and wait for some pre dawn light for more favorable hitch hiking from early birds either employees or those like myself driving over Minaret Summit super early to avoid the shuttle to Agnew Meadow.

Talus and scree, snowfields and glaciers have many hidden places that can be overlooked even with a few careful search parties. It may not be this season but I think (as does cragman and others) that focusing on the Ritter/Banner area, particularly southeast to northeast is still the most fruitful place to search. My sincere condolences to Matt's family and friends as they seek closure to this mystery.
pacarockhound

Social climber
Escondido CA
Sep 24, 2013 - 03:43am PT
I look forward to hearing what HighTransverse and Split Pants have come up with re a list of what still needs to be searched.

I also am looking forward to hearing Paul Dostie's thoughts.
jeg

Social climber
center valley,Pa
Sep 25, 2013 - 01:00pm PT
We spoke with the gentleman(Arnold), who spoke with Matt the Friday before he went missing. We had 2 separate conversation with him.
1st conversation....He remembers Matt showing him pictures
of climbs he had done and climbs he wanted to do. He thought there were 2 climbs Matt wanted to do before leaving Mammoth, one being in Yosemite. I asked him if Ritter, Banner, iron mountain rang a bell and he said no but he thought one did start with a B. He also said Mt Lyell did ring a bell. He did recall matt talking about climbing in the minarets and getting into some dicey situations. He said he would look through some pages on line from the Secor book before our next conversation.

2nd conversation.... He was looking through the pages in Secor's SECOND edition online. Matt had the 3rd edition.
He is 100 percent sure Matt showed him the pages 395 and 371 and that Banner and Laurel rang a bell.
He also showed him page 404(cathedral peak).
Matt spoke to him about climbs he did and climbs he wanted to do but Arnold isn't sure which were the 2 he wanted to do. We did inform him that he may have showed him cathedral because he climbed it the previous year.

Arnold truly tried his best to remember that night. We need to remember that it was 2 months ago and Arnold is a NON climber.
He really kept talking about page 371 in the second edition. He was 100% sure matt showed him this page.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 25, 2013 - 02:55pm PT
Credit: tdg119

This is the photo that Amazon is showing me in the preview for Page 371 of the Secor THIRD edition book. Based on your description it sounds like a match.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Sep 25, 2013 - 03:02pm PT
Sounds like Laurel Mountain would be a good one-day solo destination from Mammoth Lakes:

http://www.summitpost.org/laurel-mountain/151761

Except how would Matt get to Convict Lake without wheels?
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 25, 2013 - 03:07pm PT
Tiffany,

As far as I know, if you "look inside this book" for the THIRD edition of Secor, Amazon shows you pages from the SECOND edition. Look for a notice along the top of the page for the Amazon "search inside this book" results.

So that's why it's an exact match. I'm pretty sure the pagination for the 3rd edition is different (at some point managed to pull up an index for the 3rd edition somewhere).

But I assume Jill is saying that Arnold Morales said that Matt showed him the pictures that were on page 371 (Mts. Banner, Ritter, Halfdome and Clark in distance) and on page 395 (Mts. Lyell and McClure) in the second edition, not that Matt showed him pages with those numbers.

So we haven't confirmed yet that pages with those pictures are in the 3rd edition. But I bet they are -- they look kind of classic...

Bruce -- Interesting, though I assumed Jill meant Lyell when she wrote Laurel. Edit: Apparently he did mention Laurel (among other things).
jeg

Social climber
center valley,Pa
Sep 25, 2013 - 03:11pm PT
Yes, LA HIKER, Pag 371 in the second edition is the same picture as page 390 in the third edition. Tiffany your picture is correct. This is the picture Arnold remembers Matt showing him. He was 100 percent positive.

He remebered the name Laurel but he also remebered the pictures on those pages.
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Sep 25, 2013 - 03:25pm PT
Sounds like Laurel Mountain would be a good one-day solo destination from Mammoth Lakes:

Except how would Matt get to Convict Lake without wheels?
There is regular bus service southbound 395, and the bus stop is right across the street from shady rest. The route would seem to have seen traffic in the last couple months tho, and noone has reported anything unusual.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 25, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
Jill, thanks for the update on your conversations with Arnold!

Do you happen to know whether Matt showed Arnold these pictures in the book or as cut-out pages or some in the book and some as cut-out pages?

I'm guessing it was at last partly in the book because from what people have said in this thread, the Lyell pages/picture were not in the pages he cut out of the third edition of Secor.

The answer to that question might tell us whether Matt cut the pages out of the book before or after talking with Arnold. Does Arnold remember what day/days they spoke? Also, do you happen to know whether the book (with its missing pages) was found at the campground or in the car?

When you and John were climbing with him, was Matt carrying around any pages from Secor? Did he have any other maps or guidebooks? Did he tend to print info about climbs out from the library?

The answers to some of these things might help us determine how strongly Lyell not being in the pages cut from Secor implies that Lyell was not Matt's objective, and maybe how strongly the pages cut from Secor imply that his objective was the Ritter Range. (Of course, he could have gone to one of these places on Monday July 15th or something, but he didn't sign summit registers on Banner, Ritter, or Lyell.)

For instance, if Matt spoke with Arnold the weekend of the 13th/14th but all the pages were in the book, then he cut out the pages later which might more strongly imply the Ritter Range and not Lyell. On the other hand, if he'd been carrying those pages from Secor for a long time and tended to print out guides from the library, maybe the content of the pages was less crucial and his objective could have been somewhere else.

While waiting for his car to be fixed, in addition to going places within those pages, I think Matt also went other places, without apparently cutting our their Secor pages. If he had other maps or guides or was in the habit of printing climbing/hiking guides out at the library, he might have used those other sources to go various places besides those in the Secor pages.

Biotch -- Do you happen to know -- would the Laurel Mountain area have had snow in mid-July?
kenish

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Sep 25, 2013 - 03:55pm PT
It's less than a mile from Hwy 395 to the Convict Lake Resort and the TH for Mt. Laurel. Matt could take the bus as mentioned or hitch a ride with someone leaving Mammoth in the morning for LA, Bishop, etc. (We try to be on the road by 7am to miss LA traffic and have the afternoon to unpack). They could have dropped Matt off at the roadside, or detoured 10 minutes and taken him to the resort and TH.

That said, there's a trip report posted today on Mt. Laurel http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Mount-Laurel-in-an-Afternoon/t12141n.html. It doesn't look very challenging and isn't consistent with the gear that Matt presumably took with him. There's no snow in the photos or text. Laurel isn't consistent with other facts.
10b4me

Ice climber
Soon 2B Flagstaff
Sep 25, 2013 - 04:15pm PT
any gully on Laurel Mtn. was melted out in July, plus is was a low snow winter.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 25, 2013 - 04:22pm PT
Kenish and 10b4me -- thanks for clarifying re Laurel Mountain.

Jill -- It sounds like Arnold did his best to remember. But if he had scanned pages from Secor and still went to the trouble of looking at other pages online, maybe that means that he'd be willing to talk more if other questions happen to come up? It's just a thought -- I'm guessing you have a sense of how he'd feel about that.
jeg

Social climber
center valley,Pa
Sep 25, 2013 - 05:05pm PT
This is the wierd thing...
Arnold said the pages were bigger than the pages that would have been ripped out of the book(book being about 5x7). He said they were photocopied(like when you flip a book over on a copy machine and you can see the binder)and they were on bigger sheets than 5X7. Why would he rip out the same pages that were photocopied???

Mt. lyell is still intact in matt's book.

He spoke to him on Friday 7/12. his brother saw him Sunday night at the camp site with his headlight on but did not talk to him.

Other pages were ripped out of his book but placed back in(Palisades area, cathedral, unicorn),climbs he did in the previous days/year.

I believe the detective found the book at the campsite.
kenish

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Sep 25, 2013 - 05:29pm PT
@jeg- It makes more sense that the pages Matt copied are intact in the book, not ones that were ripped out and re-inserted. Without jumping to conclusions, that still supports Mt. Lyell, which is intact. (Maybe I misunderstood the wording of your post).

I believe the timeline placed Matt at the library the afternoon before. Since he had easy access to a copier it would make sense that he would copy pages rather than tear them out....less paper to carry and less trauma to the book.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 25, 2013 - 06:14pm PT
Kenish, I agree that the discovery that Matt seems to have photocopied pages of Secor as well as cutting them out gives a boost to Lyell and potentially to many other places.

However, if I recall correctly, 30 pages (those corresponding to the Ritter Range) were missing from his copy of Secor 3rd edition when it was retrieved. And assuming Arnold is right about the photocopied pages, those have been retrieved, either. So the question is why the pages were both cut out and photocopied. (Matt showed Arnold the photocopied pages on Friday, the 12th, so if he copied them at the library, it must have been on an earlier visit than on the 16th.) Who knows, Matt might have copied other things on the 16th...

Jill, I agree that that's weird. Did Matt ever show Arnold the book itself, or just photocopied pages? Was the picture of Lyell also among the photocopied pages he showed Arnold?

I can think of a few possible scenarios, none of which make complete sense:

1. Contrary to his previous practice, Matt didn't initially cut the 30 pages out of Secor (maybe he thought that was just too big a chunk? too many little pages? maybe he wanted bigger margins or backs on which to make notes?) but instead photocopied the pages -- and maybe others, such as the one on Lyell -- and then showed them to Arnold. At some point after that, the photocopies got messed up or lost so then he cut the same pages out of the book.

2. At some point before the 12th, Matt photocopied some of the 30 pages in Secor, as well as the one on Lyell, but didn't copy the whole shebang. Then he decided he needed some missing pages, so for consistency he just cut them all out of the book. (This doesn't seem that likely -- why not copy all of them to start with -- but might happen if he'd forgotten to take the book to the library or something.) Did Arnold say whether Matt appeared to have copied a big chunk of the book, or just a few pages?

3. Matt photocopied the pages from Secor, gave or shared them with someone else, and then cut out the pages for his own use.

4. Matt initially cut the pages out of Secor 3rd edition, lost them or they got messed up, and then (before the 12th) photocopied replacement pages from one of the the library's copies of Secor. (The library appears to have two copies of Secor 2nd edition. So then he would have had that rather than 3rd edition.)

4. Matt cut the pages out of Secor first and then arranged them on the copier to make a copy that consisted of fewer sheets of paper. (This doesn't make sense because what happened to the pages he cut out? He didn't put them back in the book. Also, that wouldn't really look the same as if you opened a book and pressed it down a copier. And unless you made back-to-back copies you'd end up with more total paper than you started with.)

5. ???

When you and John were climbing and hiking with Matt, what sorts of maps and guides did y'all use, besides Secor? Did Matt bring cut-out pages from Secor with him? Did he ever make copies or printouts of other things at the library?



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