Trip Report
A search for Matthew Greene
Friday August 16, 2013 10:11am
With all due respect to the family and friends of Matthew Greene…..


The following report is factual, though the fact remains that no one knows where Matthew Greene went, or whether he is alive or dead. This report of our recent search assumes that Matthew went into one of the areas he and his friends discussed prior to his disappearance. Given that assumption, and given the facts that we DO know in regards to what equipment Matthew likely had with him, along with the severity of the terrain, I am of the opinion that Matthew is deceased, and we searched for him as such.

This event is a terrible tragedy…..I simply cannot fathom the grief Matthew’s family and friends are enduring. The following report contains information gleaned through years of climbing and SAR experience, and at times is rather blunt. Though some information may or may not pertain specifically to Matthew, for those that know and love him, these facts may cause additional grief, and for that I am truly sorry. Of course, this is not my intent.

As with any tragedy, hopefully there may come something good out of the circumstances…perhaps something learned by someone that may save a life…and save another family like Matthew’s the pain and sorrow they are living today. That would be my hope and prayer.

The opinions posited herein are my own, and should not be attributed to any other entity.

Again, my profound apologies for any additional grief this report may bring. Matt’s family and friends are in my prayers.





"Climb if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste, look well to each step, and from the beginning think what may be the end."

Edward Whymper



These mountains…..they lure us. Their stunning beauty and rawness stir deep emotions in those of us with a passion for the high and wild places. We reach one summit…..and we’re captured……and on the way down, we are plotting our next goal. With each success, we become more addicted…..a true mountaineer has a diet of this stuff that is insatiable.

I don’t know Matthew Greene….but I believe that he could have identified with my words above. And I suspect I speak for most of us here on Supertopo when I say that all of us have likely ventured into the mountains alone, pitting our honed physiques against all the mountains have to offer….and gotten away with it.

Though we may never know, Matthew Greene, in all likelihood, did the same thing, and paid the ultimate price. Though I will speak more to this issue later in this narrative, if Matthew did die in the Ritter Range, he made his biggest mistake by not telling anyone where he was headed.

In October of 1984, a 3 ½ year-old little girl named Laura Bradbury went missing from her family’s campsite at Indian Cove, in Joshua Tree National Park. There was absolutely no information on where she might have gone. This case captured me and would become my first search, drawing me into the world of SAR, which remains a passion to this day.

Credit: Cragman

Patty and Mike Bradbury
Patty and Mike Bradbury
Credit: Cragman

When I heard the news of Matthew’s disappearance, and the lack of facts known in the case, I immediately thought of wee Laura’s parents…..I’ve never forgotten the look of desperation on their faces. I could not help but think that Matthew’s family and friends were now experiencing that same dread, and there was no question I needed to try and help.

I won’t review all the facts here….they are well divulged on the other thread here on Supertopo. However, after hearing that Matthew had discussed the Michael Minaret area as well as the Ritter/Banner cirque…..had mentioned wanting to get on some ice and snow…… and had left his campsite with only his boots, crampons and ice axe (no bivy gear), I felt a strong leaning towards the Ritter/Banner theory. Frankly, it’s what I would have done had I been in Matthew’s position of wanting a fun, full value day in the mountains, and from all reports, the mileage was well within his capability.

With any search or rescue event, the Sheriff and the SAR team have one critical criteria that is of the MOST value to them……information.

Within any county in the State, the Sheriff is mandated by law to provide SAR services for both residents and guests alike. However, a search will only be called on actual actionable information….not hunches or assumptions. By simply not taking a few minutes to leave information with someone, Matthew tied the hands of the Sheriff and the SAR team.

I was of the opinion that the few bits of information that WERE available, warranted a search of these regions of the Ritter Range that Matt had spoken of…an area I know very well.

I went to my long time friend, neighbor, local climbing guide, and climbing partner, Doug Nidever, and shared the information of the case with him….in hopes that he’d be keen to join me. Just like with the many climbs, rescues, and assorted other adventures in the past, it didn’t take Doug more than 3 minutes to say, “When do we leave?”

Admittedly, I dragged my feet for a couple more days, as I was battling a pinched nerve at C5 in my neck. The Chiropractor was recommending more time…..but what does he know? We were out the door at dawn thirty on Sunday. (11 August)

Leaving from the Rush Creek Trailhead near our homes here in June Lake, we crossed the dam at Agnew Lake, ascended the west flank of Carson Peak to Spooky Meadows, then on up to Clark Pass. We then dropped down to Clark Lakes, with the intention of going to 1000 Island Lake, and skirting it’s south shore enroute to the Banner Peak region.

However, near Clark Lakes we discussed the logic that if Matt had been interested in the glacier on the east face of Banner, or chosen this way to come out, he would have likely utilized the Garnet Lake area and not 1000 Island Lake. We dropped down the River Trail and headed up into the Garnet Lake drainage.

With the trail around the north side of Garnet Lake as the popular route, we chose the faint trail along the south shore….much less traveled and wrought with areas where one might find some potential trouble. Our goal was to get to the tarns above the west end of Garnet Lake and bivouac there for the night. We arrived there at 1530, established our camp, and began scanning the Banner Glacier with binoculars.

Credit: Cragman

I also contacted a couple of SAR members in Mammoth via radio, utilizing the Mammoth HAM band, giving them our position, and also hoping that perhaps more information came in over the course of the day. That, however, did not happen, so our plan was to continue up the peaks the following day.

Credit: Cragman

Prior to darkness, we felt that in all likelihood, Matthew would not have ascended the glacier on Banner’s east face, as it ends at the massive, impassable face, forcing one to retreat straight back down. However, just south of the main face, a small notch with a snowfield above, allows passage to the much-traveled Notch route, that divides the Ritter/Banner massifs. We agreed this would be our route come morning. The notch can be seen between the trees behind me in the picture below.

Credit: Cragman

Searching for a likely deceased subject is a daunting chore…both mentally and physically. Any SAR member will tell you that we live for using our skills to SAVE lives, and thrive on that aspect in order to feed our adrenaline junky personalities. This search was, for the most part, devoid of that. To compensate and lift the mood, a fine bivouac becomes a catharsis. Ideally, this means great location, stunning view, excellent water source, and (especially if I’m along) LOTS of food! We had it all, and were treated to a stunning meteor shower courtesy of the Persiod phase…..GORGEOUS! The night passed wonderfully, with a light breeze and moderate temps. We slept like pigs in mud.

First light is all about one thing…..COFFEE!!!!!!

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

OK…two things….MORE FOOD!!!!!

At 0830, we shouldered our packs and got back into search mode….facing a daunting ascent of a challenging talus field in order to reach the notch.

I’ve found it best to not search for people, but to search for signs that LEAD to the person. I scan the landscape for color, and more importantly, for things that just seem out of place from the consistency of the search area. With this in mind, I stop every 50 feet or so and do a 360 degree scan. It is especially helpful to look back behind you, as seeing things in the opposite aspect of light often pays HUGE dividends, and in the case of a deceased subject, it would not be hard to simply walk right past the scene.

This style of searching becomes infinitely more challenging in a talus field, and far more dangerous and exhausting. I pick a large boulder 50 feet ahead of me (ideally one larger than those around it, giving a loftier view) focus on each step to safely get there, then do my 360 scan. Then repeat…….and repeat…..and repeat……about a zillion times. Even finding a LIVE person in this type of zone is a challenge…..can you see the searcher in the picture below?

Credit: Cragman

One must keep in mind that MOST of the search area that Matthew may be missing in, looks just like this landscape. The task is, in a word……daunting.

Credit: Cragman

In an hour and a half, we had gained the entrance to the notch, climbing a short section of 3rd and 4th class to reach the snowfield. We focused on the base of each snowfield specifically, looking for ANY sign. It is easy to become myopic in this type of search, thinking that you are simply looking for a body. However, Matthew may have suffered an injury that did not kill him outright. Injured people often lose or drop equipment in their haste to get to help. Finding ANYTHING of this nature would go a LONG way in shrinking the search area, and if we could find something that could be confirmed as his, we could then call in HUGE amounts of resources.

Credit: Cragman

We continued up the snowfield and gained the spectacular ridge above. One of the benefits of being a searcher……the VIEWS!

1000 Island Lake

Credit: Cragman

The Minarets and Iceberg Lake

Credit: Cragman

It was nearing mid-day, so we descended about 300 meters to a nice ledge, and while having lunch, scanned the glacier on the Notch route with binoculars. We also began to scan our next main search area….the cliff band below the Ritter Glacier.

Credit: Cragman

I had been concerned about this area from the start. After a normal winter, the gullies that split the cliff are laden with snow, allowing easy access to the glacier. With last winter’s paltry snowfall, the cliff was entirely melted out, leaving a deadly fortress of loose rock and flowing water. We would have to find a safe way up that, as well as search the base for the possible scene of the end of Matthew’s journey.

Credit: Cragman

With much caution, we descended the rest of this hateful slope…..crossed the hateful base of the Notch route, and entered the equally hateful talus below the cliff band. The picture below shows the ridge from which we came….the low spot on the skyline….and really puts this search into perspective.

Credit: Cragman

At this altitude, a body very quickly changes from the effects of the environment. Weather, the freeze/thaw cycle, animals, low humidity….all these things alter the scene, making it smaller and much harder to see, and susceptible to movement into smaller and smaller places. Again, the word here that seems appropriate is…..daunting.

We moved our away across the base of the cliff, looking for a safe way to ascend.

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

We ended up all the way over on the south side of the cliff, and utilized the standard route used in low snow years….a mostly 2nd and 3rd class line, with some 4th class as you near the glacier. We ascended this for 1000 feet, and gained the toe of the glacier.

Credit: Cragman

Getting back into crampons was a treat….a fine break from the past 8 hours of dangerous, moving talus.

Credit: Cragman

About a 1/3 of the way up the glacier, Doug stopped to scan the upper reaches of the lower glacier with binoculars, while I continued another 1000 feet to the top.

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

I did NOT search the HUGE bergschrund….just TOO dangerous. I’d estimate it’s depth at 80 feet.

I found a small piece of cordage on the glacier…..looked to be a shoelace…..but other than that, not a single sign. I quickly descended back to Doug, and we began heading down the mountain.

Doug Nidever, with his ‘nearly’ namesake Nydiver Lakes in the background.

Credit: Cragman

With the lateness of the day, the peak went into deep shadow, which only added to our sullen moods, realizing our search was coming to an end, with no success. Our bodies were aching from the nearly 8000 feet of elevation gain and loss over the course of 4 miles during the 11 hours of hiking. We were sore, and dejected.

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

While I pumped some water from a nearby stream, Doug found cheer in the vast amount of wildflower carpeting the lower flanks of the mountain….GORGEOUS!

Credit: Cragman

We headed for the treeline above Ediza lake, and set to lightening the mood with another fine bivy and lots of water and FOOD!

Credit: Cragman

My favorite…ramen and smoked salmon!!!

Credit: Cragman

We were treated to a fine view of the last light of day on the Minarets, and had another perfectly restful night.

Credit: Cragman

Dawn’s first light on the Minarets and Mt. Ritter and Banner Peak

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Not long into breakfast, we heard Ed Roski and his SkyTime helo enter the area, and watched as he buzzed the Minarets and Ritter and Banner.

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

It was tough to turn our backs on the area, knowing that Matthew might be out there somewhere…..we prayed for the other teams still searching, and for Matthew’s family and friends…and thanked God for the stunning beauty of this place.

Credit: Cragman

At 0930 (I know…..LAZY) we began descending down to Ediza Lake, Shadow Lake, and eventually, to Agnew Meadows and our way home.

The Minarets from Ediza Lake

Minarets and glacier from Lake Ediza
Minarets and glacier from Lake Ediza
Credit: Cragman

Mt. Ritter from Ediza Lake

Credit: Cragman

Doug Nidever, the Chief Knucklehead, at Ediza Lake

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

We stopped a few times to care for our most used (and abused) piece of equipment

Credit: Cragman

At 1530, we arrived at the shuttle stop at Agnew Meadows, and bummed a ride to Mammoth Mountain Inn, and by early evening were at home in June Lake.




Epilogue:

This event is a profound tragedy. If indeed Matthew entered this area, he has lost his life there. The search for his remains is the ultimate needle in a haystack, and the fact is, no evidence may ever be found. However, as I mentioned on the other thread, we had another case that went 7 years and 3 months, before remains were found….it CAN happen.

In spite of cases like Matthew’s that I have been involved with in the past, I still occasionally go into the mountains alone, with the caveat that I leave detailed information on my itinerary. In fact, I go so far as to leave a list of my gear that I am carrying, including the color of my clothing. I even make a photocopy of the tread print of my shoe…as I said at the beginning of this report, the most valuable tool a SAR team has is GOOD INFORMATION.

I look at going solo in the mountains two ways….using the manner detailed above is like playing Russian Roulette….there is risk, but you are not playing alone, and at least your loved ones are going to know when and where you lost.

Going solo without telling a soul is, in my opinion, so equivalent to suicide. Most suicides happen alone, no one is told beforehand, and above all…..the ultimate victims in a suicide, are the loved ones left behind. They are left with all the questions….the disbelief….and so many things left unsaid.

For months while I searched for Laura Bradbury, I watched her parents agonize over her disappearance. I’m certain that the family of Matthew Greene are dealing with that same level of agony, and my prayers and those of my family are with them.

We don’t know where Matthew went….it’s possible he never entered the mountains, and is out there in the world somewhere. If that is true, hopefully he will be located soon.

Evidence says it is quite possible that Matthew entered the Ritter Range…if he did, he has lost his life there…..but his spirit soars.

Ritter Range from the summit of Carson Peak....May 2012
Ritter Range from the summit of Carson Peak....May 2012
Credit: Cragman



Peace,
Dean Rosnau

  Trip Report Views: 8,479
Cragman
About the Author
Cragman is a trad climber from June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:23am PT
Mad props to Dean n Doug!
Tad
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:24am PT
Great TR and photos, feel like I am there. Respect to everyone giving time and effort to this mission.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:30am PT
crag did you ever locate the 3 1/2 year old girl in joshua tree?
10b4me

climber
  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:35am PT
Thanks for the effort, Dean.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:40am PT
Weeg...skeletal remains of Laura were found nearly two years after her disappearance.
Deekaid

climber
  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:52am PT
^^^ Lawrence Singleton? (P.O.S)
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:55am PT
Good Try team D&D. Zero failure there- as you now know spots where he isnt. A search is about elimination of areas. This one has a million areas.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Aug 16, 2013 - 11:03am PT
Great job fellas. Glad you guys came back safe. Very sorry to Matts family that closure could not be had just yet. Thanks for the TR, good insight for those of us who have no experience with searching and good advice on things to do before solo trips.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Aug 16, 2013 - 11:27am PT
This case, of Matthew Greene, has haunted me since it the first post from his friend appeared. His young healthy face looking right at us. Many of us who never knew him have been following the search efforts day to day, hoping beyond hope for a miracle.

I cannot even imagine the feeling of the fears and hopes of his family and friends.

Your search efforts, and the efforts of all who have been and still are out there, are beautiful and courageous. Thank you all.

I read with sadness on Matt's thread, the frustrations of some of his friend's and family about the level of search response. Because I thought to myself "they just don't know how huge it is. They just don't know how wild it is." You TR will help people to understand, and huge thanks for that.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Aug 16, 2013 - 11:29am PT
if you stretched out that vertical landscape in the minarets for instance, it would probably cover 3000 sq miles of flat ground.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Aug 16, 2013 - 11:33am PT
Thank you so much for your efforts.
couchmaster

climber
  Aug 16, 2013 - 11:49am PT
Good TR, with a solid take away for all of us both to keep our eyes open for Matthew when in those areas and as important to leave the info of where we will be behind us. In fact, if you change your mind mid-drive for some reason and go elsewhere, just leaving a quick note in your car can be all the difference. Cars usually get located fairly fast. Like Dean says, searchers will need all the info they can get. I've seen the sheriff pop a car open as fast as any car thief and go through it for info on a missing climber we were looking for and inventorying what was left behind in the car. (knowing a person has a sleeping bag and a shovel on them and not left behind in the car can radically change the search parameters) I'm not pointing fingers about not leaving notes behind as I've been as guilty as the next person.

I hope that Matthew gets found one way or another, even if it is so that the family can have closure.
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Aug 16, 2013 - 12:20pm PT
Proud effort Cragman, and friend. You are to be commended for your selflessness.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 16, 2013 - 12:21pm PT
Good on you Dean, thanks for your service !!!!!
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Aug 16, 2013 - 12:34pm PT
Thank you Dean and Doug for your search. Like phyl, I've had Matt in my mind since I read the first report here on ST.

A little background for Matt's friends if they are reading this.
The recently published book (2001) "Missing In the Minarets" describes the search for Walter A Starr Jr. who vanished at the end of July, 1933 on a solo trip in the same area. Starr, 30 years old, was one of the top Sierra climbers of his day, and probably the most accomplished for his age. He had previously climbed several of the Minarets, including Michael. He took a detour into the Minarets from his planned "walk" from Tuolumne Meadows to Glacier Lodge or possibly Kearsarge Pass near the south end of the Sierra Nevada. He intended to spend significant effort off the main trail in order to map an alternate high route.
His friends, the best Sierra climbers of the time, searched the entire Minaret-Banner subrange for several days. Eichorn, Dawson, Walter Starr Sr, several others and of course Norman Clyde. The searchers found his camera at his highest camp, beneath the Minarets, and spoke with people who had encountered him in the area. All of the searchers had climbed extensively in the Minarets, done first ascents. Some had peaks and passed named after them. Finally, about 2 weeks after Starr's last journal entry, the team, including Starr's father, accepted that he wouldn't be found alive. After the rest left, returning to their obligations, the redoubtable Clyde continued searching alone. Clyde, certainly one of the toughest and most experienced of the team re-searched most of the area, finally concentrating on the remote, rugged Michael Minaret. Eichorn and Dawson had climbed Michael in their search. Remarkably Clyde found "Peter" Starr's body on a ledge on the extremely steep N Face within 150 ft of where Eichorn and Dawson had searched more than a week earlier. Following the wishes of Starr's family, Clyde and Eichorn returned and entombed Peter near the spot he was found.

This Minaret region, although small, is one of the most tortuous and difficult areas in the Sierra Nevada. Several of Cragman's photos show this.
Matt is most likely out there in wild and spectacular surroundings. Someday he will be found. I for one, won't forget him soon.

I'm not pointing fingers about not leaving notes behind as I've been as guilty as the next person.
Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
  Aug 16, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
Good to know there's people like you two out there. Thank you.


-JR
ElCapPirate

Big Wall climber
Ogden, Utah
  Aug 16, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
An incredible and valiant effort, Dean and Doug. TFPU.

I know how dangerous those talus slopes can be. I had one come alive on me near the base of Keeler Needle, as thousands of BIG rocks came screaming past me. Still not sure how I was uninjured or got out alive.

Glad you both made it back safely. Huge props!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Aug 16, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
Gripping....and I too like many have been haunted by his smiling face.
Also Dean, thanks for the reminder and leaving more detail behind than just "going here". Michael and I are headed up there this week and and will be more vigilant about that. We also carry a satellite phone, but batteries go dead, things break etc.
Thanks so much to you and Doug.

Susan
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 16, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
Thanks all....

I should mention that as Doug and I traveled the backcountry, virtually EVERYONE we encountered had gotten word that Matthew was missing...IMPRESSIVE!

Also, I just came back from Mammoth, and there wasn't a single person there that wasn't talking about this case.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Aug 16, 2013 - 03:18pm PT
Good effort.

This is a good example of why it is a good idea to leave some clues behind just to limit the inevitable search if you go missing.

My take on it was to not force SAR to spend huge resources or put them at anymore risk than necessary.

Build a big X if you can, even if you know that you are bleeding out or something awful.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 16, 2013 - 04:28pm PT
"Build a big X if you can, even if you know that you are bleeding out or something awful."


FYI...the International Distress Signal is 3 of anything....logs in a row.....flashes of light.....whistle blasts......tromped out lines in the snow....etc...
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Aug 16, 2013 - 05:53pm PT
Thanks for living life as you do Dean. You're a good man.
Nohea

Trad climber
Living Outside the Statist Quo
  Aug 16, 2013 - 06:29pm PT
Wow...

Great work and thanks for the heartfelt write up.

I'm always thankful for the days I've spent with Doug, a great teacher.
Thank you,
Will
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:28pm PT
Good on you, Cragman, wish I could've joined you. Hope Matt's found soon.
goatboy smellz

climber
लघिमा
  Aug 16, 2013 - 07:34pm PT
Solid effort guys, at this point it' s just a matter of faith and time that there will be some closure eventually for friends and family.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:23pm PT
How bout 3 X's...?
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
Dean, did you see this?

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/19/local/la-me-0920-bradbury-second-20100918-58

Edit:
Part 1 - http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/18/local/la-me-0919-bradbury-20100918
Slide show: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bradbury-ss,0,3278061.htmlstory
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Aug 16, 2013 - 10:36pm PT
Bump!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 16, 2013 - 11:02pm PT
graniteclimber...thanks for the links....breaks my heart....and sure brings back lots of memories.
graniteclimber

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
  Aug 16, 2013 - 11:16pm PT
Dean, I don't often read something that makes me cry, but that sure did.
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Aug 17, 2013 - 12:37am PT
Next time start from Agnew Meadows instead of June Lake...
I tried that one time. I got up to Clark(?) Lake, saw how much further I had to go, and turned tail back to JL. Props to team knuclehead for going the distance.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Aug 17, 2013 - 12:48am PT
"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance"—Luke 15:4-7.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 17, 2013 - 06:26am PT
Going in from June Lake is easy peasy....you gain lots of altitude very quickly in the morning shade, then it's all downhill from Clark Pass.....you guys are ninnys. : )




Peter.........thanks.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Aug 17, 2013 - 11:13am PT
Fun with a heroic purpose.
Ken M

Mountain climber
Los Angeles, Ca
  Aug 17, 2013 - 12:15pm PT
Very moving account.

Thanks for your efforts.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 17, 2013 - 02:15pm PT
Gonna have to head back in there in a few days...if you're keen, let me know.
deanalynn

Social climber
Huntington Beach-June Lake
  Aug 17, 2013 - 04:38pm PT
I hope to run across you in town one day.. just to say thank you. I'm impressed with all the efforts of everyone. Great job and be safe going back out there..
10b4me

climber
  Aug 17, 2013 - 04:19pm PT
Gonna have to head back in there in a few days...if you're keen, let me know.
if I didn't have prior committments Dean, I'd offer to help.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 18, 2013 - 09:08am PT
10b...I'm thinking the latter half of the week and into the weekend, in case that works for ya.


Deanalynn.....I look forward to meeting you.
LilaBiene

Trad climber
Technically...the spawning grounds of Yosemite
  Aug 18, 2013 - 09:38am PT
Thanks very much for your objective and heartfelt write-up. I will walk away with more safety information than I've gleaned from any other source for a long time. The passing down of lessons learned is crucial, and not just within the climbing community. The information that you've shared is invaluable.

Over the years I've had many friends laugh at me when I would run back inside to leave a note as to my whereabouts and possible detours (I lived alone at those times). When texting came about, my best friend and I had a mutual agreement that we would always check in and back. It was a sort of "personal safety" buddy system we used for a number of years.

Thanks very much for teaching me more about safety and search considerations.

Audrey
ncrockclimber

climber
The Desert Oven
  Aug 18, 2013 - 01:28pm PT
Cragman, MUCH respect for your efforts. You have gone WAY beyond what most would do and shown your self to be a real class act.

My thoughts are with Matt's family and I wish them all the best in this difficult time.
10b4me

climber
  Aug 18, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
Unfortunately Dean, this whole next week is not good for me.
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Aug 18, 2013 - 02:50pm PT
Dean: Thanks for doing the search and posting your story.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 18, 2013 - 03:44pm PT
Thanks for all the comments here, everyone.

Audrey, I REALLY appreciate your post. My hope was that many may read this and learn some things.....and my hope was also for Matt's family to be able to see some of the search area, so that they might be able to relate to all the discussion and effort.

Best,
DR
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Aug 18, 2013 - 11:30pm PT
Thanks for your dedication and thanks for bringing some good points about going solo to light...
msiddens

Trad climber
  Aug 19, 2013 - 03:34pm PT
You are doing a good thing and thanks so much
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 20, 2013 - 11:16am PT
Just wanted to reiterate a point....

If you are out in the search area, and come across a piece of evidence that you believe may be connected to Matt's disappearance, it is ideal that it be left in place.

Photograph it well, and to the best of your ability, mark the spot on your map....then report to authorities as soon as possible.
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Aug 20, 2013 - 12:54pm PT
SAR people are special people. WIsh this TR had a different ending. Nonetheless it is still useful for the SAR effort and a good education.

ALl the MRA teams in Washington are being examined on their SAR competency in just a few weeks. It is hard to take these hard charging folks that love to move with urgency to rescue and refocus on looking for clues that lead to a person. Nice to see that demonstrated in your report. That terrain is just so huge, and a nonresponsive person is so difficult to stumble upon.

Of course, I wander outside, oftentimes alone. It is a good reminder to leave enough information behind. As I slip out in the wee hours, I never think to tell my husband what I am wearing. Depite all the people we search for, we still lack the discipline to leave behind our plan. In this world, it feels so foolish to give the criminal element any notion of how long you will be away from your home or your vehicle. Then you think about the family left behind, with no idea where to look for you, and your things matter so much less.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Aug 20, 2013 - 01:01pm PT
Somewhat tangentially--
For several years now I've been buying brighter colored clothing and gear as I retire the older. No more greens and browns. Added Scotchlite reflective tape stripes all over my helmet. I WANT to be seen.
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
  Aug 20, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
re :Scotchlite reflective tape stripes "

What if you somehow took aerial night photos with a giant strobe flash?

Might get some reflective tape "hits" from a pack or parka?
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 21, 2013 - 06:33am PT
Probably the most challenging part for most of us who go alone in the mountains, even with leaving behind all the proper information, is sticking to our itinerary.

The great thing about mountains....they don't move....they'll be there another day.

Stick to you itinerary.....it may save your life.....and your family a lifetime of grief.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 21, 2013 - 03:41pm PT
A case in point, to lend credence to the above post....

We had a subject come over here and enter the backcountry with the intention of climbing Tower Peak, southwest of Levitt Meadows, with the goal of scattering the ashes of his recently deceased son.

When he got to the peak, he felt he could not climb to it's summit safely while alone. He then chose a neighboring peak.

While climbing that one, he fell and broke his femur....then crawled down the mountain to a nearby creek.

When he did not arrive home at the appointed time, his wife alerted our S.O. and gave us the itinerary. We scoured the peak...nothing.

This search ultimately involved HUNDREDS of personnel including Marines from the WWTC at Pickel Meadows....and many air resources.

By absolute CHANCE, the subject was spotted by an airman on one of the helos when they were banking a sharp turn.

The man was extremely lucky...and he survived his ordeal.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Aug 21, 2013 - 05:26pm PT
For his wife and families sake that is good he made it out alive. What a bummer to loose your husband while he was scattering ashes of your recently deceased son. Must have felt great to find him.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 22, 2013 - 07:18am PT
"Must have felt great to find him."



Pure, raw elation.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 24, 2013 - 08:18am PT
I am sorry to report that local Matthew Mooney was found deceased after a day hike.

At the same time, it is quite an example of the difference made when someone leaves an itinerary.

Lessons for us all.




On a personal note.....I have grown SO weary of death in the mountains...
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Aug 24, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Dean,
you've seen so much more of death in the mountains than most of us. I'm sure at times it is a heavy burden. You carry it well but sometimes you have to put a burden down for a while. Anyway, I'm rambling but know that even though I've only met you briefly a couple of times take heart. You are appreciated by a great number of people. Next time we run into each other, I'm buying.
GLee

Social climber
MSO
  Aug 26, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
If Matt's family and friends are still reading this thread, you have my condolences...

Thank you Dean for making all of us more aware of what SAR does, and what a person should do in preparing for a trip into the Wild (or anywhere).. if one cares about their family & friends...

I'll definitely be passing this thread on to my friends...

We met @ FL2011. And if we do again this year @ FL2013 (I'm staying in YP), I'll definitely buy you one (or two, or)...

Here's to all of you SAR types!!

from Montucky,

Greg Lee
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 24, 2013 - 07:46pm PT
High Traverse..GLee....of course I remember both of you very well when we met in the Valley....thanks for your kind words, and the offers of something cold. : )

Thanks too for your suggestions on the search for Matthew. I love when our community comes together for such an important cause. That's when we really shine.

Best,
DR


EDIT: Sadly...I will not make the Facelift this year....will take a raincheck though. : )
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 25, 2013 - 05:57am PT
Heading back out....sure do appreciate the amazing outpouring of support from the Supertopo community....together, we can make a difference.

Berg Heil!

DR
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Aug 26, 2013 - 11:36am PT
Good luck Cragman
and
BUMP
Signal_Hill

Mountain climber
Signal Hill
  Aug 28, 2013 - 04:01am PT
Nobody deserves to pass in the wilderness, it is always a sad tragedy. I think that what makes this case so compelling is the way his family and friends describe him as a very decent individual. The photos, he does not have a sign of cynicism in his eyes. The mountaineering community is filled with amazing people, something special about most of them I have encountered. Sad when one of them leaves us.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Aug 30, 2013 - 12:15pm PT
BUMP
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 30, 2013 - 11:43pm PT
Of worthwhile note is the fact that we have NO unsolved cases on our county.....and we have one of the busiest SAR teams in the country.


Never give up hope for closure......
SplitPants

Social climber
LA
  Aug 31, 2013 - 01:19am PT
Double BUMP

Great article Matthew, the search and all of Dean's wonderful efforts!
PS-Hope it is okay to post this article

http://thesheetnews.com/2013/08/30/dean-searches-for-greene/
Bruce Enyeart

climber
Reno, NV.
  Aug 31, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
I knew you would be out there looking. Wish I was able. We have found them before. Good luck
Bruce Enyeart
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Aug 31, 2013 - 11:26pm PT
Hi Bruce! Great to hear from you! Long time!!!!

Yes, you and I found a needle in the haystack together many years ago...a great example of how it CAN happen!

Glad you posted up....best to you my friend!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Sep 2, 2013 - 09:39pm PT
Bumping for some that are new to the search.
Bruce Enyeart

climber
Reno, NV.
  Sep 4, 2013 - 12:53am PT
I just noticed that I was camped about 30 yards from Matt on July 16, 17 in Shady rest. How I wish I had talked to him then. Seems like I might have noticed a couple guys in tents in that site, but that's all. So sad.
Because of this I talked to a girl packing up climbing gear by herself today. Actually she was going to wait for others to come and go climbing in Yosemity. I felt better then.
Bruce
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Sep 4, 2013 - 05:34am PT
Bruce.....check your email.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Sep 30, 2013 - 07:31pm PT
Bump
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jun 29, 2014 - 01:18pm PT
Bumping per request.....
PAUL SOUZA

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
  Jun 30, 2014 - 10:59am PT
Good luck out there Dean. Be safe!
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