Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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Messages 2361 - 2380 of total 2386 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Jimr

climber
Redondo Beach, CA
Oct 24, 2014 - 05:22pm PT
Thank you Cragman for identifying it. I wished I had had longer glass in the first place.
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
Oct 24, 2014 - 11:05pm PT
... indicating he only expected to do a day hike.
Understood that he was in good shape etc, but to do Ritter or Minarets IAD using public transpo/ hitch-hiking from town is pretty ambitious.
You can make up a scenario for doing it, (topping out - getting back to the road late in the PM - hitch a ride back to Mammoth) but nobody has even come forward as to giving him a ride that morning in the first place.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Oct 24, 2014 - 11:17pm PT
For once Biotch you and I agree. I have never thought his objective was that far out.

I have always thought his goal was one of the southern Minarets with a coulior.

Why because that is what he had time for and gear for.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Oct 25, 2014 - 07:08am PT
You're both incorrect.

I've spent a lot of the last 15 months getting inside Matthew's head, through his family, colleagues, and partners.

Tagging Ritter and Banner was well within his ability, even with the transportation issues.

Frankly, I'm an old fart, and I could do it....so Matthew would have cruised it.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Oct 25, 2014 - 07:18am PT
You certainly would know better than anyone Dean.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Oct 25, 2014 - 07:54pm PT
climbski2....I continue to learn more and more about Matthew all the time.

After all of my searching to date, I am reasonably convinced that Matthew's objective was the Ritter/Banner summits that day, and that he lost his life on the way up, not making either summit.

I'm not sure exactly what to call it, but on my latest search.....I felt it DEEP within my soul. Perhaps Matthew's spirit was speaking to me....I don't know.

Of course, I could be very wrong. But I'm going back into that spot in a few days for more searching, and will continue to do so as long as I am able.
zBrown

Ice climber
Bruj de la Playa
Oct 25, 2014 - 08:43pm PT
U r persistent Mr. Cragman. Hope u hav a good result.


Too late now, but what if a cache of items similar to his had been dropped in the locale at a known spot, then the attempt made to track them nine months or so later later to see how the items get dispersed.


EDIT:

Then again, maybe not.

If I recall, aside from the subsequently discovered plane wreckage, some cash, ID cards and two bones (even later) were all the remained of Steve Fosset

Jimr

climber
Redondo Beach, CA
Oct 27, 2014 - 10:48am PT
Cragman, you are obviously very in-tune with your gut instincts. The gateway to the soul. Most poor decisions are made when ignoring what's going on deep down inside and letting the intellect do all of the navigating.

Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Oct 27, 2014 - 08:19pm PT
Thanks, Jimr....I appreciate your thoughts.

Once again, I am experiencing partner problems for this week....and....as most of you know, we have the first significant storm of the season coming in later this week.

There is a foot of snow possible within the search zone....so in all likelihood, this storm will end the searching for this year. I was hoping to get a few more weeks, but that seems very unlikely. My current search area is north facing and above 12,000 feet, so no matter what the weather does from here on out, this area will not experience any meltdown.

I'll be posting more info here in the coming days.

Best,
DR
east side underground

climber
Hilton crk,ca
Oct 27, 2014 - 08:35pm PT
you guys know better than me , but i thought sar missions were based on facts and systematic proccesses of elimination not on feelings. determine all possible secnarios, , rate the locations among the search perimeter, then search these localtions , anyone check deer lakes, ram lakes , pyrimid peak, valentine canyon, iron mt, mammoth crest, pica peak? all locations accessed from mammoth? i think it's one thing to trust your gut, but isn't that why there are sar protcols?
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
Oct 27, 2014 - 11:20pm PT
East side, in most cases you are right. But so much time has passed now and there is so little verifiable information, that sometimes all you have to go on is feelings.

We had a subject a couple years ago that had been missing for a year when we finally found him. It was a homicide victim and we had damned little to go on - a cell ping covering most of a national recreation area. When out scouting an area, I KNEW - beyond a shadow of a doubt - we would find him there. Once we went into that area, we found him in less then 2 hours. Feelings do come into this game when there is nothing else to go on. Add to that, in cases like these long time SAR guys like Dean are into the subjects head at this point, many times surprisingly well.

Even with a verifiable last point of known location, so many factors are in play now due to the time elapsed. I salute Dean for what he's done, and admire it greatly.

Dean, when spring hits, I'm open to go out - just let me know.

Edit to add: East, sorry if it seemed like I was negating your suggestions - they are certainly viable ideas. I should have touched on that in my original post as well. Cheers!
east side underground

climber
Hilton crk,ca
Oct 28, 2014 - 07:44am PT
i have the utmost respect for dean and others who have put in so much effort in the search for mattew. i was thinking since so much time has passsed, maybe it's time to start over. shady rest as ground zero, where could i walk in a day with ice gear to test out gear and have a good hike. if i head south east, valentine to parachute couliar would be doable, up duck pass, to pica and ram lakes ( a nice x-country loop dropping into valentine ) would have some snow in protected gullies. southwest over blue crag (there was snow at the time of mattew's diapearance) to deer lakes ,also snow filled gullies- great skiing by the way- to the pct and back to the lakes basin another cool loop, and west to the ritter range. north leads to san juaquin ridge, not alot of snow , maybe a very low prability area. also hadn't mattew already spent time in the ritter range? would he expend that much effort to return to a area he had alredy been to? maybe yes since he would be familar with the area or wuold he chose to check out some new terrian? dean probaby knows better than anyone but mattew was fit and bold, so maybe he tried somewhere new. just throwing it out there. i just read the account of the sar for randy morgesen, he was found in a low probility area that had been searched twice before, the interestig thing is that his wife had feelings about water and he turned up in a creek, so i guess feelings are a important part of searches. just some thoughts ,stuck on the couch after surgery with too much time on my hands. good luck and be safe
CCT

Trad climber
Oct 28, 2014 - 09:55am PT
I can't make any guesses as to where Matt might have climbed, but I can speak to the conditions on the Ritter/Banner saddle last year. Our party of 4 climbed Banner not long after Matt disappeared, at the end of August. We had planned to do Ritter too, but got a late start and ran out of time.

The snowfield below the saddle was hard and scalloped. Like Cragman, we brought minimal snow gear, and found the transitions from the snow onto the unstable scree field at the top of the gully rather exciting. However, if Matt had slipped there, he would have been easily visible, given the low snow level at the time.

In several places, where the snowfield abutted the rock walls, there was a large moat, several feet wide. I don't know how deep it was, because we did not look. There is no reason that a climber attempting the saddle would have been close enough to the moats to fall in, unless they approached deliberately.

The west side of the saddle, down to Lake Catherine, was a normal-looking hard snow field interspersed with open patches of scree. Definitely not something you would want to fall down, but likely you would be able to stop yourself if you did. Very wide open, with few places to "hide."

If a person were to climb Ritter and Banner via the saddle, likely they would summit Banner first since it is much closer. The hike up Banner from the saddle is an easy class 2 or 3 scramble. The trail is used frequently, and well-marked with cairns. However, there are many small variations possible, and it would be possible to take a minor fall and end up hidden behind a block. At the time, the summit register had a lot of recent entries (sorry, no photo), which means that the route is climbed regularly by lots of different parties.

We did not climb Ritter from the saddle. The snow patch leading up to 3rd class north flank of Ritter looked hard and icy. A fall there could have been dangerous and self-arrest more tricky. A falling person could slide down the wide open snow field on the west side of the saddle towards Lake Catherine, or take a smaller ride towards the east. In both cases, the snowfield is wide open, so not an easy place to "hide."

Here are some photos from September 1, 2013. Hope this helps.


Snowfield leading up to Ritter/Banner summit from east side
Snowfield leading up to Ritter/Banner summit from east side
Credit: CCT

Transition from snow to scree near the top of the chute
Transition from snow to scree near the top of the chute
Credit: CCT

Looking towards Ritter from the south flank of Banner.
Looking towards Ritter from the south flank of Banner.
Credit: CCT
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Oct 28, 2014 - 11:08am PT
you guys know better than me , but i thought sar missions were based on facts and systematic proccesses of elimination not on feelings. determine all possible secnarios, , rate the locations among the search perimeter, then search these localtions , anyone check deer lakes, ram lakes , pyrimid peak, valentine canyon, iron mt, mammoth crest, pica peak? all locations accessed from mammoth? i think it's one thing to trust your gut, but isn't that why there are sar protcols?

Some SAR cases are more fun than others. When you have done a lot of SAR cases, the ones that stay with you and haunt you are where you had the feeling to go one place and then were talked into doing something else...when if you had gone with your feelings, the person's life could have been saved...

I am burdened with three such cases where such a deep feeling proved correct. In two of those cases I let someone talk me out of doing the right thing. The first time as a teenager with the Idaho SAR team, I was tracking someone through a blizzard in the Owyhee Mountains and adults talked me into stopping for the night, fatigued from 24 hours of tracking, even though I knew the trail was fresh. Another time with the Inyo County SAR team, the person had actually managed to signal me at dusk by dropping a stuff sack into the wind off a cliff into Schober lake, but the IC ordered me by radio that I was on the wrong lake, and sent me on an all night fruitless search that nearly claimed my partner from hypothermia. The helicopter coming in for us the next morning accidentally spotted the lost person within a few yards of where I had been ordered to abandon the tracks in the blizzard. The third case in the high Sierras on a high school field trip, my son risked his life to bring two drowning classmates from the middle of Granite Lake at 9000', barely making it to a small rocky island. While he was using the last of his strength to drag the smaller kid up onto the rock, the larger kid disappeared. I was running and swimming towards him and had a choice to either climb up out of the water over the rock in warm sunshine or continue swimming around the rock in icy water, where I would probably have come face to face with his drowning classmate. I talked myself out of the right choice, climbing over the rock to reach my son. We didn't find his classmate until it was too late....right where I would have been swimming...

I can't count the number of cases where gut feelings helped save someone.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Oct 28, 2014 - 11:45am PT
Thanks for the gruesome but useful accounts serving your point, Tom.

I agree too, and it's not news at all that there is more than one form of logic. Certainly more than one form when trying to hypothesize a victim's location. Fuzzy Logic---we have all heard about it--- is one such form, quite a bit more complex than mundane deduction or induction, where many values and probabilistic functions are used to form smart guesses. I would think that an army approach might get to the target no matter what if enough time, personnel, and materiel are applied, but then how blunt can we get? Meanwhile more complex approaches are to be respected, to wit, Chuck's experiences he relates.
east side underground

climber
Hilton crk,ca
Oct 28, 2014 - 12:06pm PT
you experinced sar pros know better than me.........cheers
crusher

climber
Santa Monica, CA
Oct 28, 2014 - 01:15pm PT
Dean has also spent a lot of time with Matthew's Dad, learning about Matthew - his past, his personality, his patterns. If anyone has any kind of gut feeling as to what Matthew may have been thinking or wanting to do that day, it's probably Dean.
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
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