Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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east side underground

climber
Hilton crk,ca
Oct 28, 2014 - 01:34pm PT
if you read my post above , i said just that, just putting out some other secnarios for discussion, that all. cheers
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Oct 28, 2014 - 02:14pm PT
east side, no one is debating you. What you contributed it important.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Oct 28, 2014 - 05:31pm PT
Some quality discussion here....thanks, all.

Regarding my "feelings" which I shared in my last TR.....

I have had occasion in past years where a "feeling" played a major role...case in point.

We were on a joint mission with YOSAR, searching for an elderly woman with Alzheimer's Disease. She and her husband, and another male friend, had hiked in from Mono Village into Northern Yosemite....ending up in lower Big Slide Canyon, at Doe Lake. On their day to start coming out...she disappeared.

When my partner and I received our search assignment, I turned to him and said, "Ya know, Bruce....I think we have a GREAT chance of finding her, as our search area is the ONLY one that is downhill from the PLS....and an elderly subject in that condition is going to take the easy line."

We were flown in to an LZ and descended into Paiute Canyon, then began working our way UPHILL towards the PLS.

My partner was struggling with keeping up with me, so I was constantly having to stop and let him catch up. We were searching the creek bed, which was largely dry and boulder-strewn. There was no trail in the canyon, so the creek bed would have been the easiest line, in spite of all the boulders.

At one point, as I was waiting for Bruce to catch up, I was standing in the middle of the creek bed watching as the NPS helo came overhead from upstream, heading down towards Smedburg Lake.

As the helo began to disappear far below me, I suddenly had that "feeling" come over me.....and the hair stood up on the back of my neck. Though totally alone, out loud I said, "She's here....I just KNOW it."

I turned upstream, hopped up on one boulder........and there she was, lying face down in an 8 inch deep crystal clear puddle amongst the rocks.

So YES, feelings sometimes can play a part....even from the very start.

In Matthew's case, when I arrived at the Ritter/Banner glacier two weeks ago, it was something different that I felt. To me....it was something in my spirit....as if Matthew himself was speaking to me. I was simply overwhelmed with a sense of his spirit.....it just spoke to me in that sense.

And as I said.....I don't know exactly how to explain that, but I trust it.

Also, as was stated above....because this case had SO little to go on, standard SEARCH practices pretty much go out the window. I truly feel what has served me best, is getting to know Matthew through his family, friends, and colleagues.

Knowing the man makes it a bit easier to choose the mission.

Regards,
DR
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Oct 29, 2014 - 04:57pm PT
The forecast has not changed.....significant snow is due in to the region by later Friday, which will put an end to the search season for this year.

I was unable to secure a partner this week, so did not get back out.

I will be spending the coming months finishing my book, as I recently was given permission by Matthew's family to include his story as my closing chapter.

It's been great that SO many here have kept Matthew's case at the forefront, in spite of no new news.

Never forget....this type of case is not a sprint, but a marathon.

Peace,
DR
SplitPants

Social climber
LA
Oct 30, 2014 - 06:48pm PT
Thanks for the update Dean. Hopefully next summer you can find Matthew and write a nice Epilogue when your book goes to print. Good on ya as always. I am sure Matthew's family and friends greatly appreciate all you have done.

Instincts are so important I know mine have saved myself a couple of times. Sometimes the "feelings" one gets.......one just knows........

Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 1, 2014 - 11:41am PT
Thanks, Brooke....

I'm already working on the chapter about Matthew....and am purposing to have a final edit ready by the first of the year.

I suspect the search zone received a foot of snow last night....honestly, I wish I was up there, just for the beauty of it all.....but I am already anxious for the Spring.....and more searching.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 9, 2014 - 06:47pm PT
Writing about this kind of stuff is such a rollercoaster for me....such a powerful subject....and so many difficult paths traveled over the years. Focusing on one case, brings back so many memories that cloud a good share of a lifetime.

Gets me rather melancholy.....and sometimes questioning whether these mountains are really worth it. What they can take from us can be so damn devastating.

Guard your lives....the mountains are not worth the ultimate cost....
crankster

Trad climber
Nov 9, 2014 - 06:56pm PT
I image Matthew heading out on the last day of his life thinking it was a day in the mountains, like so many other days before. No cause for alarm, just a day in search of adventure in the high alpine. He gave little thought, I suspect, as do most of us, to what an accident would do to others, much less himself.

What went wrong, we will know someday, I trust. That will help.
Psilocyborg

climber
Nov 9, 2014 - 07:10pm PT
You are wrong cragman.....its worth it. You know why? It couldn't possibly be any other way. Whatever happened is the only way it could have happened.
Alpineholydog

Trad climber
Spring Tx
Dec 12, 2014 - 02:51pm PT
Has there been any information as to how Matthew's Camp was found by the caretaker of the campground? Was it disrupted or pretty well "tucked in" like he left it to go on his hike?

He stays in our thoughts...
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Dec 12, 2014 - 03:01pm PT
Matthew's camp was in order, the way he left it.
Alpineholydog

Trad climber
Spring Tx
Dec 13, 2014 - 06:32am PT
Thanks Cragman. I think he went for Ritter Banner as well. It just makes sense given his equipment.We have been up to Nydiver and the whole area leading up to the east facing chute the last 2 years always w him in mind. Glad you made it out ok after searching that chute and east part of the saddle. Very dangerous area for sure.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jan 19, 2015 - 10:29am PT
If this 'winter' keeps going like it has been, I'll be back out in the search area very soon.

Good for searching.....devastating for our environment and the state of our State in general.

: /
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
May 23, 2015 - 04:28pm PT
Spring is finally here...and so is the weather!!!

My first search of the year has been postponed now TWICE due to snow and rain this month....such a WEIRD year this has been!

Based on the forecast, I'm now hoping for week after next.

The following pic taken minutes ago...yet ANOTHER cloudburst!

Credit: Cragman
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
May 23, 2015 - 09:35pm PT
I had a distant goal of ascending Blue Crag Coulior this season to have look.
crankster

Trad climber
May 24, 2015 - 06:52am PT
You'd be the one to ask, cragman...any information in the last year that would steer you away from the Ritter/Banner area? I have a climb of Ritter planned this summer. It's always seemed liked the most likely choice to me. What a gift to the family it would be to bring closure.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
May 24, 2015 - 07:00am PT
crankster....in answer to your question...no. I am still sticking with this region, and in particular, the notch between Ritter and Banner...and more specifically, the gully on the west side that leads down to Catherine Lakes.

I will spend my efforts this summer in this region, as it is vast, complicated, and dangerous....it will take time.

Glad to hear you are headed in to the region.....which line on Ritter do you plan on?
crankster

Trad climber
May 24, 2015 - 07:06am PT
SE Glacier. I've always thought that he was looking to tag Ritter and get back, get his car and head to CO.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
May 24, 2015 - 08:51am PT
Ok, crankster....that's an enjoyable hike. We scoured that side pretty well, but more eyes in there would be great!

The more I've come to know Matthew, the more I am convinced his intention was to tag Ritter and Banner on that day....and the bulletproof ice on the north face of Ritter is a HUGE red flag for me.

Let us know when you're heading in....
canyoncat

Social climber
SoCal
May 24, 2015 - 09:26am PT
Safe journeys, and best wishes for bringing him home.
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