Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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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.


LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
Jul 16, 2014 - 03:20pm PT
I'm glad there have been some leads! While we're waiting for more info re the ice axe handle, here's a compilation of info and some questions re the Minarets.*

According to SplitPants's very helpful timeline, Matt climbed Riegelhuth Minaret on 7/8/13 and Clyde Minaret on 7/11/13 (this one confirmed by his signature in the summit register). Given that Matt tended not to repeat climbs, I suspect that neither of those Minarets was his objective on 7/17/13.

There has been some discussion on this thread about what Minarets might fit with Matt's gear -- the ice axe/crampons and the absence of his helmet. In this post, HighTraverse says the following:
South Notch itself, Kehrlein and Starr can all be done "safely" sans helmet. With axe and crampons, chance of taking a big fall on South Notch is very small. There are "walkup" class 3-4 routes with no snow on Starr, Adams and Kehrlein that also wouldn't turn Matt back if he had no helmet.

HighTraverse also comments on a report by someone climbed the NW route on Kehrlein (among many other things) in mid-August of last summer, though the guy wasn't looking for Matt.

Harv Galic posted this slightly alarming account of climbing to Starr Minaret a little later in the summer, on July 31, 2013 -- he found the South Notch difficult to negotiate and reports a little flood on the snowfield. (Fits with what Ron Anderson said about the Minarets being dicey.)

I don't think it's known whether Matt climbed Michael Minaret, but the summary site reports that Teddy found that his signature was not in the register at the plaque honoring Walter "Pete" Starr. I gather that the plaque is some ways from Starr's gravesite, leading HighTraverse to ask
What's the chance he went to NW face of Michael Minaret to look for Peter Starr's resting place?

Would Matt's lack of a helmet (coupled with his tendency to wear one when appropriate) have made it unlikely that he attempted to look for Pete Starr's grave on 7/17/13, or is that still a possibility?

Harv Galic's report mentions that there was no summit register on Starr Minaret. Does anyone happen to know whether there are registers on Kehrlein or Adams Minaret, and whether those were checked last year? Are there other Minarets or routes up them that might fit with Matt's gear?

I gather that the two main routes to the Minarets are from Agnew Meadows and from Devil's Postpile. (So would a person going to the Minarets and taking the shuttle get out at one of those two stops?) If Matt's destination was the South Notch, is one of these routes more likely than the other? (Are there other areas within the Minarets besides the South Notch that would require an ice axe and crampons?)


*I'm focusing on the Minarets proper despite HighTraverse's interesting point that people sometimes refer to the Minarets, Ritter, & Banner as "the Minarets." At least in Matt's conversations with the Morales family, it sounds to me as if he referred to these locations separately; maybe Jill and John can clarify whether he was likely to lump them.
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
Jul 16, 2014 - 03:42pm PT
ice axe in minarets
ice axe in minarets
Credit: John Duffield

If it's this one, it's not a petzle quark
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 16, 2014 - 03:51pm PT
John Duffield, where did you take that photo?
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
Jul 16, 2014 - 04:30pm PT
My friends took the pic on Rock Route last summer, about a week or so after Matthew Greene went missing, and the handle looked like it had been there for much longer.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 16, 2014 - 04:35pm PT
Ok, John....thanks.
crankster

Trad climber
Jul 16, 2014 - 05:54pm PT
Nice points, LAhiker. I've been looking through Secor trying to put myself in Matt's place. I'm leaning towards Ken or Michael Minaret.

Credit: crankster
CA.Timothy

climber
California
Jul 16, 2014 - 07:10pm PT
The missing helmet detail is so weird. Is Matt the kind of cautious where he would decide not to do a climb if he realized he had forgotten his helmet? Why would he head into that loose stuff on Michael if wearing a helmet was his MO?

EDIT

I looked at one of the sites made for matt and answered my own question I guess.

Quote from climbing friends Jill & John "I asked my husband "Would Matt climb easy 5 class rock without a helmet? ' This was his response...Possibly. But the decision to wear the helmet would be more a function of the nature of the terrain he planned to visit, the potential for rock or ice fall, the potential of other people climbing above, etc. He might wear a helmet on a less technical climb with poor rock quality and choose not wear a helmet on a harder climb with clean rock. From what I saw in the Minarets, there aren't too many places I would be comfortable without a helmet. That's one of the things that's never made sense to me with this whole thing; why he wouldn't have a helmet in that area."
Per Jill "From what i observed from Matt if he needed a helmet for a climb and forgot it. he wouldn't do the climb!!! I don't see him forgetting his helmet."
Ron Minto

Social climber
Bethlehem PA
Jul 16, 2014 - 08:24pm PT
When Matt said "I'm going to the minarets tomorrow, " to me, means he meant exactly that. He would not mix words. instead, he would have said I am going to Clyde or a specific peak. I know nothing about the area or hiking, so if this a stupid question, please let me know. I have thick skin.

Is it possible to traverse the minarets without attempting a peak? For example, can a person move along the area, in a relatively safe way (3rd class), and say "I hiked the minarets"?

If so, what is the size of the area? Just curious, I understand the terrain and that regardless of the square miles/km the size is not relatively significant.

Also- seamstress...thanks and keep a weather eye on the horizon.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Jul 16, 2014 - 08:26pm PT
If it is your time . . . no helmet will be required.
Ron Minto

Social climber
Bethlehem PA
Jul 16, 2014 - 08:32pm PT
Kalimon - if you can please only add insight of value that would be highly appreciated.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Jul 16, 2014 - 08:34pm PT
Whatever Ron.

Carry on bro.
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