Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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Messages 2221 - 2240 of total 2319 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
kenish

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Jul 14, 2014 - 10:16pm PT
I am in complete awe of Cragman, friends and family of Matt, and everyone else who is unrelenting in their search even at risk and expense to their safety and spirit.

On a pragmatic note (with apologies if this dredges any bad stuff up or I'm being "keyboard quarterback")....last summer a retired police officer noted a person in the Minden area who loosely fit Matt's description. But like every other frustrating lead, it evaporated into thin air like Matt has. Several weeks ago, a road crew found remains off the highway at Spooner Summit in the Tahoe area. That's not far from Minden, and 2 hours' drive from Mammoth. A recent post mentioned this. Has anyone followed up with the Medical Examiner's office up there? Since family is in the area right now it could expedite or assist in the ME's investigation.

The backcountry search is focusing on Cragman and others' keen instinct on where Matt was most likely to hike and climb, much like Clyde's instincts 80 years ago. Certainly that should continue but what if he's not in the Mammoth area at all? I recall some scenarios were explored and ruled out, but it's a big world......
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Jul 14, 2014 - 11:25pm PT
Kenish said:
On a pragmatic note (with apologies if this dredges any bad stuff up or I'm being "keyboard quarterback")....last summer a retired police officer noted a person in the Minden area who loosely fit Matt's description. But like every other frustrating lead, it evaporated into thin air like Matt has. Several weeks ago, a road crew found remains off the highway at Spooner Summit in the Tahoe area. That's not far from Minden, and 2 hours' drive from Mammoth. A recent post mentioned this. Has anyone followed up with the Medical Examiner's office up there? Since family is in the area right now it could expedite or assist in the ME's investigation.

Kenish, I agree with your general point that though an accident in the Ritter Range is likely, other scenarios are possible. However, with respect to the remains found at Spooner Summit, Tiffany has told me that they did follow up with the Medical Examiner, and the remains were not Matt's. I think she found out just before leaving for Mammoth.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 15, 2014 - 06:06am PT
Yes, it is a fact that the remains on Spooner Summit were followed up on, and ruled out.

As you all know, Matthew disappeared one year ago this coming Thursday.

Just yesterday, we received some very good information. A group of campers who were camped near Matthew last year, came back for their annual trip THIS week. When they saw the posters at Shady Rest regarding Matthew's disappearance, they remembered him VERY well.

One of these persons asked Matthew to join them on a hike last July 17th....Matthew politely declined, and told them, "I can't, I'm going out to the Minarets."

BOOM!
crankster

Trad climber
Jul 15, 2014 - 06:50am PT
Wow, that's a great lead. Are there any more details of the conversation you can provide?

That narrows the search area considerably,
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 15, 2014 - 06:53am PT
That's pretty much it, Crankster.....but that is HUGE news.

I'm trying to follow up on one other lead right now which could be even bigger news.

Will post anything new.
crankster

Trad climber
Jul 15, 2014 - 09:09am PT
I'm eager to hear. "The Minaret's"; very specific, as opposed to saying Mt. Ritter or Banner...
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Jul 15, 2014 - 09:13am PT
Supposedly there are other campers expected who will be following up as well. Any bit of extra info helps. Nice to know our perseverance with posters and Facebook are not in vain.

Fingers crossed for more leads ...
crankster

Trad climber
Jul 15, 2014 - 09:29am PT
Yes, fingers crossed. The climbing community is fairly small and it's easy for us to think that every climber or back-country hiker would tune into this forum, but that's obviously not the case.

Again, I hope for closure soon for Matthew's family's sake.

And not to get too far ahead here, but I would be curious if these new developments might initiate a formal search. I'm sure Chief Watson has/is being updated.
Psilocyborg

climber
Jul 15, 2014 - 10:31am PT
South notch=crampons
kenish

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Jul 15, 2014 - 11:38am PT
Thank you for the update/follow up on Spooner Summit.

It doesn't surprise me that many are unaware of Matt's disappearance. Myself for example; I visit Mammoth 1-2x every summer to go mountain biking and hiking. Although I'm very net-savvy and spend way too much time online, I was only aware of Matt's disappearance through the Mammoth Times website. That piqued my interest and led to the FB page and then to this forum. So most visitors to Mammoth who sightsee, fish, bike, tailgate camp, etc. are presumably unaware of the search and may have interacted with Matt since he seemed to make an impression upon everyone he met. So the effort to refresh posters in the area is spot on!
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jul 15, 2014 - 12:15pm PT
The term "Minarets" is often extended to include Ritter and Banner.
Ritter gets a lot of traffic by the SE glacier/gully. Banner not so much.
I believe the high bowl/snowfield and Ritter - Banner Saddle between them is not often visited.
From Mountain Project
lots of snow/ice leading up to Ritter/Banner saddle and lots of loose rock in the chute
Sounds like Matthew's idea of a grand day out.
From mountainproject.com
From mountainproject.com
Credit: HighTraverse
2008 (a big snow year) photos here:
http://www.mountainproject.com/v/north-face/105810186
crusher

climber
Santa Monica, CA
Jul 15, 2014 - 12:35pm PT
Wow...just goes to show you can't put up enough posters in enough places or spread the word far enough. Or let up for that matter. Amazing luck that these same folks came back this year and to Shady Rest again.
CCT

Trad climber
Jul 15, 2014 - 02:24pm PT
This is not to say that it's not worth looking again, but the saddle between Ritter and Banner does get climbed frequently. We were up there a few weeks after Matt's disappearance last year, and climbed Banner from the saddle. Crampons and ice-axe were needed only for a few hundred feet, and maybe not even that for a sure-footed person. We saw no sign of Matt. We also met a man who "skied" the short snowfield that same weekend; to give you a sense of how small it was, at most he got 3-4 turns.

Of course, there is a large talus field at the base of the snow hike, and we did not look behind every boulder. Nor did we peer into every part of the moat between the snow and the rock.

Best of luck to any searchers!
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Jul 15, 2014 - 11:10pm PT
... there is a large talus field at the base of the snow hike, and we did not look behind every boulder. Nor did we peer into every part of the moat between the snow and the rock.
Could be a good area for Cragman et al to work.
Otherwise, it seems most likely the remains will ultimately be discovered by a random person who gets off route, or retreats from something, on a path almost never trodden.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 16, 2014 - 06:58am PT
I'm working on tracking down a subject who came out of the backcountry and reported that he and his partner found a broken ice axe shaft with the head missing.......in the Minarets.
crankster

Trad climber
Jul 16, 2014 - 07:03am PT
Wow, that's huge. If it's a Petzl Quark he can't be far away from the find.

Credit: crankster
dit

Mountain climber
eastside
Jul 16, 2014 - 09:06am PT
"
I'm working on tracking down a subject who came out of the backcountry and reported that he and his partner found a broken ice axe shaft with the head missing.......in the Minarets.

Just saying; if it's an old Chounard northwall hammer (wood shaft) in the vicinity of Michael Minaret, it's mine.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 16, 2014 - 12:10pm PT
dit...thanks for that info. Still working on this....should have something on it today.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Jul 16, 2014 - 01:48pm PT
Good to say that he is not forgotten.

We have our own missing climber to find from one year ago. As soon as the snow retreats a bit more, we are planning a multi-agnecy search-a-thon. I have been out officially for this person several days, and have kept my eyes open on all my training days on the mountain thus far this year. FOr clarity's sake, I was not "misplaced" but merely expanding my serach paraeters during my bushwahacking espeditions this season.

Every year we do at least one "cold case" as a good exercise and occasionally with some success.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Jul 16, 2014 - 02:05pm PT
to me, the danger of the Minarets in general increase as you go up. All the standard routes have looseness abounding. Odds would point to an experienced climber to have problems on high- on route. And where would i go if i was going to do my first Minaret? Clyde and or Ken Minaret is where i went. That leaves 4 faces of strong possibility. Which up there, is a LOT of turf. Turf which is not easily negotiated from one route to another.

All the major peaks ive been on werent as really "sketcthy" as those Minarets. Ive known parties to get stuck up there from a routine route ascent and finally make it down well into the night, when it should have taken only the good part of the day. And that is on the trade routes.


I hope this season can bring some closure for all involved here.


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