Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area


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Trad climber
Jul 22, 2014 - 05:27pm PT
I don't think that's an unreasonable scenario, HT. Certainly in the realm of possibility given all that is known. It doesn't change the potential search area much, which is basically the entire Ritter/Banner/Minarets region.

Sure wish I could ask him, "Hey, Matt, why'd you leave your helmet behind?" (Among some other very obvious questions)

some eastside hovel
Jul 22, 2014 - 05:35pm PT
Not to be a stickler Biotch, but it's Mcleod Lake.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
Jul 22, 2014 - 05:46pm PT
&-7 Matt did the Ruegeluth , the 11th he did Clyde. Prime suspicions for me now settle with Ken and Micheal Minarets. Or even Eichorn area.

edit: (sigh) or Dyer, or Banner or~~or....

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Jul 22, 2014 - 09:59pm PT
Capt...it's McLoud when it's overcast...rj

some eastside hovel
Jul 22, 2014 - 10:10pm PT
RJ-Yeah,looks like BIOTCHs pic is in Mcloud conditions. :-)

Boulder climber
Jul 22, 2014 - 10:52pm PT
Thanks Capt. It's been so long since I refer to maps, or signage I plum forgot.

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Jul 23, 2014 - 08:55am PT
Here's a panorama I took of the mountain range on the anniversary of Matt's disappearance; hiked with my dad up to Ediza.

View of Minarets from Ediza
View of Minarets from Ediza
Credit: tdg119

Trad climber
Fresno, CA
Jul 23, 2014 - 11:54am PT
I frequently climb at Shuteye and The Balls areas to the west of the Minarets. Has anyone tried looking on the west side of the Minarets for signs of Matt? I realize that it is highly unlikely the he could have been climbing on that side since he would have had to climb over to the west side, but if he was on a ridge when something happened, there may be evidence on the west side. Would someone be able to easily approach the west side from the east where he was staying?

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 23, 2014 - 07:45pm PT
Climberdude....yes, we will be searching the western side of the range more and more as this season goes on.

Social climber
Los Angeles
Aug 1, 2014 - 10:56am PT
Just a reminder -- if you happen to be climbing any Minarets during this brief break from the thunderstorms/smoke/whatever, in addition to being on the lookout for signs of Matt, please photograph any summit register pages with entries from between ~7/12/13 and 7/31/13. That will help us try to reach people who might have seen or spoken with Matt before he disappeared on 7/17/13 or who might have noticed some of his gear or something else amiss afterward.

Note that Matt climbed Clyde Minaret and signed its summit register on 7/11/13 and that he climbed Riegelhuth Minaret on 7/8/13 (no register). Even though he probably didn't climb Clyde again, we're very interested in the pages from that Minaret, because more people climb it than the other Minarets.

Not all of the Minarets have summit registers -- here's my earlier post with details about the summit registers of various Minarets.

In addition to Clyde, I'd be most interested in pages from registers on Kehrlein, Ken (if it still has a register which is questionable), and Starr (if it has a register which is doubtful -- at one point it had a plastic tub under a rock). But if it's safe/convenient, please photograph those pages of the register of any Minaret you climb.

If you take any such pictures, please let me know.


Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Aug 11, 2014 - 12:48pm PT
Keep in mind that low snow years and late season are an excellent time to find the missing. we just located one of our missing from last year:



Sep 15, 2014 - 04:22pm PT
Put together a search team consisting of fellow HST members
from 9/10-9/14, lots of ground covered, and still barely touched
the surface.
Areas checked: Kehrlein-Pridham Notch, South Notch, North Notch,
Southeast Glacier, also Clyde Variation, Ritter/Banner Saddle,
The Gap, Ritter Pass, Col between Ritter and Gap, Upper Dyke
Lakes area on the eastern side, area around Minaret Lake/Cecile/
Iceberg Lakes, Glacier on the northern side of Banner, Catherine
Lake/Glacier, and Ritter Lakes, including western side of Ritter.

Glaciers were horrendous, blue ice, crampons barely make a dent.
Lots of loose rock from Ritter on down, class 2, 3, and 4, with
rock that crumbled in your hand, very loose, and very steep talus.
Did not find any evidence, but everyone in our group (6) came
out safely.
Definitely not recommended for anyone without solid route finding,
and climbing(glacier/ice included in some areas)experience, really
easy to get over your head quickly.

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 15, 2014 - 11:40pm PT
Maverick, thank you to you and your intrepid group for searching for signs of Matt in all those areas! Though no search can be definitive, you covered a whole lot of ground.

It sounds like conditions were daunting -- I'm so glad you came back safe.


Trad climber
Sep 16, 2014 - 06:53am PT
Great work, maverick.

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Sep 16, 2014 - 08:13am PT
Maverick - Thank you and the group for searching for Matt; sounds like you covered a lot of ground. Every bit helps.

Thanks for the condition report too - glad you all came out safe & sound - that's the most important part of all this. I hope everyone takes your advice and stays within their abilities, whether searching for Matt or just out on an adventure.

Redondo Beach, CA
Sep 17, 2014 - 11:28am PT
I was with Maverick and have come here to ask for help. Please read my request posted on another forum.

I need some help please

Postby Jimr on Tue Sep 16, 2014 10:09 pm
I saw something up on the wall of the Ritter Banner saddle. I tried to point it out to Maverick and Oleander and I think they saw what I saw, but I can't be entirely sure. It looked eerily like a black backpack with a white strip to me. I know it stood out against the surrounding rock in that the rock was very angular, rectangular, but this was oblong with no sharp angles. And the appearance of a white stripe. It was sitting on one of a series of golden colored rock slabs.

This is really bothering me and I need to research further. If anyone has a high quality image of the east side of the Ritter Banner saddle taken clear of snow before July 16th, 2013 and/or after July 20th, 2013. Please PM me. The best would be either a raw file or a 16 bit .tif file. I can process most raw formats.

If I can locate the object in place before July 16th, then it is of no interest. If I can identify the absence of the object before that time, it immediately becomes a potential item of interest and perhaps worth somebody hiking a long lens, 800mm or greater, or a powerful set of binoculars. A shot after July 20th that shows the object there would be ideal for others to possibly locate the object.

I thought that it was in a place that could be seen from the ridge, but what the hell do I know, I've been on too many ridges and saddles where you had no idea what was beneath you until you went down and this seemed too steep to safely wander down from the ridge to investigate.


Trad climber
Bay Area
Sep 17, 2014 - 01:00pm PT
on the wall of the Ritter Banner saddle
Can you be more specific in describing the location?
Make a quick sketch, take a pic and post it here?
Point out the location in one of your photos?

Sep 17, 2014 - 01:31pm PT
Also there were 2 climbers we saw descend from the summit of
Leonard Minaret on 9/12 while we were at Dyke Lakes under the
western side of The Gap.
It would be great to find out whether they checked the register
for Matthew's signature.
We did not see them descend from the eastern side of The Gap after
we climbed over Ritter pass, so they may have spent the night up
near The Gap to climb Waller the next day.

Redondo Beach, CA
Sep 17, 2014 - 02:02pm PT
Thank you Maverick for posting that. Yes, they stood at the ridge for some time, right where the loose talus leads to the final approach along the top. It very much appeared that one was intently searching the steep western side from peak down to the catch basin below.

If you are looking at the Ritter-Banner saddle from above Nydiver Lk., the prominent low section of the saddle and surrounding area a few hundred feet below.

Credit: Shawn

Maverick, anything else you can add would be good. I need to keep my facts straight as the memories seem to be melding into one long day.

I've replaced the photo with a better one.

If anyone local to Mammoth can get out there with longer glass before the first snow of the year, it may prove fruitful to either confirm or eliminate the item of interest.

Social climber
Los Angeles
Sep 18, 2014 - 10:09am PT
Jimr, thanks for pursuing this. Can you say where you were when you saw the possible item of interest? From where would it be visible?
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