Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area


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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?

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Sep 18, 2014 - 10:23am PT
We are 1 for 2 on our cold cases here this year. That 1 win, finding someone lost for months or years, sustains you.

Years ago, a family of a missing person asked the sherrif to search for their family member again. A multi-agency drill was pulled together, and the family made soup and sandwiches for the 100 volunteers that spent the weekend in the field. That case was over 10 years old. Teams often have multi-agency drills. Keep putting this infront of them, and you may get more resources.

Sep 18, 2014 - 11:56am PT

LAhiker wrote:
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?

Viewed from near the top of the ridge line leading to Nydiver
Lakes: http://WildernessApertures.com/img/s3/v24/p125377775-6.jpg

Redondo Beach, CA
Sep 18, 2014 - 01:07pm PT
What Maverick said. There was a third person with us as well. I've asked her if she has a picture taken from that spot. I may be able to get GPS coordinates.

Redondo Beach, CA
Sep 19, 2014 - 09:49am PT
No go on GPS, but where Maverick has us and transposing it to the obvious high spot there using Google Earth, wgs 84 datum, we were at:

37.6895 -119.1826

Gym climber
Orange County, CA
Sep 19, 2014 - 07:40pm PT
My hat is off to Maverick, Jim R and the many others who have freely given their energy, spirit, time, resources, expertise, and safety to help Matt and his loved ones reunite.

Jim- You're probably well aware that Matt's missing backpack fits your description? https://www.dropbox.com/s/mdolc54o81pu7qc/FMG%20Spring%20Flyer.pdf?n=273786315 (and look on the Facebook main photo).

What date and time did you sight the suspected item? What were sky conditions (cloudy, clear, etc)? Sun and shadow can highlight or hide items and play visual tricks. The info will help glass the area with sun angles and intensity as close as possible to your sighting. Autumnal Equinox (end of summer, boo!) is next week and the change from day to day of the sun position is at the max.

Redondo Beach, CA
Sep 20, 2014 - 07:32pm PT
Sept. 13th, absolutely sunny. Saddle was in full sun, perhaps around the 11am hour. In full sun, the 2 or 3 slabs were more amber than the surrounding black rock.

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Oct 13, 2014 - 06:44am PT
I went in last week to search the area of the Ritter/Banner Glacier, and the cliff band above, to check out the report Jimr gave regarding a possible white pack.

That proved to be a white and black rock, unfortunately.

I had a few mishaps in there last week, and will be posting a TR about the search this week.

I'm going back in this week as well.

Trad climber
Oct 13, 2014 - 07:13am PT
Excellent work, Cragman. Be careful out there.

Boulder climber
Oct 23, 2014 - 10:57pm PT
A good look at some of his gear at the time ... http://www.flickr.com/photos/tdavidock/9448801914/in/pool-findmattgreene/lightbox/
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