Missing friend in Mammoth Lakes area

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Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Aug 23, 2013 - 08:23am PT
Interesting thoughts....my one reaction is that the areas mentioned are SO heavily traveled, it would be virtually impossible NOT to be seen....clothing, gear, and certainly a body.

Also...the whole missing gear thing...why would he have taken that particular gear if not going to a spot he could use it?

As I said at the beginning of the search for Matthew, for a guy of his experience, fitness level, and goals.....the search area is literally HUNDREDS of square miles. And for a guy like Matthew, within that giant search zone, there are infinite places he could have met with an accident.

The foul play question is a legitimate one. Mammoth is a small town, but the same issues found in a large metropolis exist here, i.e. meth, whack jobs, etc.

With so little information to go on, I don't think you can rule out much...which, sadly, makes the search area that much larger.


EDIT: As I mentioned in my TR, if there is anything good to come out of this case, it is the example to all of how leaving information behind goes such a long way in aiding in the search....or for that matter, even starting one.

Crankster mentions his "frustrations" up thread. Yep....no more frustrating a case for SAR than this type. Lots of good people who would love nothing more than to help, with virtually no clue where to look.....in an incredibly vast, complex, dangerous, and dramatically beautiful sandbox.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Aug 23, 2013 - 09:33am PT
The strangest thing for me is when I look at Matts phone records. On the morning of the 17th he turned is phone on at 2.53am PT. No other time during the month/entire trip was his phone on this early.

It was clock work, he always turned it off by 9 or 10pm and the earliest he ever turned on was 6am. I am guessing to save the battery....
Why on the day that he goes missing is the phone turned on so early? To call for help, maybe, foul play - who knows?

We know for a fact the night before (on the 16th) everything was fine, he was texting back and forth to friends until 9.30pm, joking, etc... No mention of a big hike the next day.

Even when he did go on big hikes, when he did get up early, he never turned his phone on that early. Only on the 17th, the day he disappeared his phone goes on the middle of the night???

To me this indicates something happened at 2.53am, which means he did not get far from camp.
-Ron
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Aug 23, 2013 - 09:37am PT
Thanks for posting that, Tiffany...that IS a very interesting piece of information.


EDIT: Perhaps he turned it on to utilize an alarm feature...to wake him in a couple hours for an early start.....maybe turned it on when he got up to take a leak....check his messages....
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Aug 23, 2013 - 09:50am PT
good point cragman, but why only this day....it doesnt fit his pattern. BTW, this is Ron (Tiffany's Husband). I user her logon and try to always sign "-Ron" when its me. :)
Leggs

Sport climber
Tucson, AZ
Aug 23, 2013 - 09:52am PT
This thread is incredible, in every way.
I find myself in awe, once again, how our community comes together in times of need, rallies, and supports one another.
I will admit my heart skips a beat when I see it bumped, then relief at the fact so many of you are offering up your expertise and time to search for Matthew.

~Blessings to all of you... and positive vibes for all involved, esp family and friends missing their loved one.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Aug 23, 2013 - 09:53am PT
Ok Ron...sorry...I thought that was perhaps an email that Tiffany was simply forwarding to us.

: )
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:07am PT
He had a really old flip phone. No internet access, etc..The thing was a dinosaur.
-Ron
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:08am PT
I too have been following this thread since its inception. Not being from the area or in the area has left me a frustrated spectator.. I too want to get out there and shake the bushes. My heart goes out to friends and family as well.
Massive kudos to those that are putting time into search efforts especially those that are bring SAR backgrounds with them.. ya'll know who you are!

Cragman-
Also...the whole missing gear thing...why would he have taken that particular gear if not going to a spot he could use it?

I have to agree with QITNL. I think this is a huge assumption on our part. Assuming he went on a day hike to a certain area based on the gear that was missing assumes he took it with him. We don't know for a fact that HE took his gear. That's a jump from A to G with too many other scenarios in between. For example maybe his crampons and shoes were stolen and he took his back pack with him to go retrieve them and met with and accident or foul play. Or he sold them to help cover the cost of the repairs knowing the next stop on his itinerary he would need them. That's as much pure conjecture as going off to play on the snowfields of Ritter. The snow fields of Ritter just sound more enjoyable.

QITNL's post rang a bell with me.
QITNL-
Can you actually confirm that he was carrying these items? Or were these items merely absent from his camp/car? After two dry years, there were only a couple of spots in the entire Sierra where you could stick an axe in snow this July. Those boots would be total overkill.

I can't help but think the axe/crampons may be a red herring.

And if I were getting my car out of the shop in the next few days I think I would be more inclined to stay closer to town as the completion date neared with the notion they might get it done earlier. especially if they already had it for so long! [two weeks to fix a blown head gasket?! I think I would have (I know I would have) set up shop on the side of the road and fixed it myself. but that's me]

I agree with QITNL's line of thought. We are following assumptions based on based on assumptions. Probability gets real fuzzy after the second assumption my Stats prof used always say.

(sorry I just reread my post and noticed I've been using "we" when you guys/gals have been doing all the leg work. I've been so engrossed in everything I feel a part of it too. The collective mind working together)
10b4me

Ice climber
Wishes-He-Was-In-Arizona
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:22am PT
He was paying for his spot day to day. He must have paid for the night of July 16. Did he pay for the 17th? It's not a busy camp, but how long would they leave his tent standing until the campground host noticed? Was he paying for his site on his own or sharing it with someone?

excellent questions
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:26am PT
All GOOD to keep those minds churning.....
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:33am PT
+1 Riley
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:35am PT
Agree with Riley.~Ron
Timid TopRope

Social climber
'used to be Paradise, CA
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:43am PT
As I remember it, about 99% of the bottom fissure at the earthquake fault is visible from the trail. It's heavily visited sun up to sun down by tourists and birders looking for the often seen pine grosbeaks that frequent that spot.

Maybe a local can head over there and look at the deepest spot of the fault just to rule it out. It's also not far from the ski area where the last cell phone ping was noted.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:47am PT
So if there is to be a search locally, can dogs be used?
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:49am PT
Other things to consider.

Where would the missing gear be if it was not on him? Sold? Perhaps but my guess is he had it with him.

How much traffic does ritter/banner see? I'm guessing fairly regular traffic.

Traffic seems a key point. I would suggest that he is not in a highly traveled position. I would suggest he is within 4 to 7 miles of a trailhead with a shuttle. I would suggest that his objective was a summit via a route that had or was expected to have snow or ice.

Of course it's quite possible that he did something else completely. But I still think he went somewhere very lightly or rarely traveled.

I think the area Cragman is planning to search fits the bill perfectly. Good luck.

Lots of good thinking going in the above posts.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:51am PT
^No.


EDIT: The Ritter/Banner area is HEAVILY traveled this time of year...but...as I shared in my TR...a body being out in the wilds this long...well....you could miss it just FEET away.
Timid TopRope

Social climber
'used to be Paradise, CA
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:53am PT
There's a splitter crack in the earthquake fault but don't know if anyone boulders there.
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:53am PT
Riley Wyna-
There is very strong evidence he was going to do some dangerous stuff.
Ice, climbing , glacier ...

That's my point.. what evidence do we have that his intention was to do this "stuff"? Just that this equipment is missing at the same time he is missing. There is nothing to conclude that the equipment and Matt are together. To my knowledge nobody saw Matt and the backpack on the bus for example. Unless I missed a connecting point earlier.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:55am PT
Mammoth is a REALLY crowded, heavily used area...including the earthquake fault vicinity. Myriad mountain bike trails pass right by there....LOADS of people every day.

If Matthew was down in the Mammoth area, the likelihood of not finding anything after this much time is minute.
10b4me

Ice climber
Wishes-He-Was-In-Arizona
Aug 23, 2013 - 10:56am PT
Any bouldering near Shady Rest

The Geothermal boulders just east of 395. An easy walk down 203. A couple of miles from the cg.
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