Trip Report
Team GREENE.....the search for Matthew continues in the Ritter Range.....
Wednesday July 2, 2014 8:20pm
“Grandchildren are the crown of old men….and the glory of sons, is their fathers.”

Proverbs 17:6




My searches for Matthew Greene late last summer were wrought with frustration, even beyond the fact that his case had very few facts to go on.

I was personally dealing with a literal pain in my neck…..a nagging problem at C5/6 that left me in constant pain, robbed me of sleep, and kept me in a general state of unpleasantness. Going into the backcountry with this condition proved rather uncomfortable. (After 7 months of chiropractic, I had an epidural in my neck that FINALLY solved the problem)

My first search of the Ritter/Banner cirque with Flanders came up empty….as did the second search of the Minaret glacier area with Cupcake….yet the neck pain remained. On top of that, an infection in one of my big toes caused me to have the toenail surgically removed upon my return from the Minarets.

Then, for good measure, my beloved dog, Cush, was clearly beginning to fail, and at the same time I was being called away from home September 1st on business that would take me down to Southern California for an extended period…..away from family, my dying dog, and this search that I desperately wanted to continue. As I settled into an apartment in Redondo Beach, I was away from the things I loved, an in a word…..miserable.

In late October, word came from home that Cush was really struggling…I headed home immediately. Two days later, I buried my beloved boy here on our property…..his death still haunts me daily.

The day after I buried Cush, I received an email from Bob and Pat Greene….Matthew’s parents back in Pennsylvania, asking me to call them to discuss Matthew’s case.

With the loss of Cush, I was kind of a basket case emotionally. The thought of making this call brought back the brutal memory of having to tell my friend Pete Schoerner’s mother that he had died in an ice climbing fall. Talking to the parents of a deceased child is a desperately grief-laden thing.

Before I made the call, I decided I was going to be as honest as possible….and focus on not saying anything that would come across too harsh.

Within the first 30 seconds of that call, I knew I was speaking to two amazing people. They thanked me for my assistance in the case….asked lots of questions, to which I gave frank answers. Within this conversation, they asked me if I would be willing to speak to their attorney, who had been retained in an attempt to get the Pennsylvania courts to issue a Death Certificate, so that they might be able to settle Matthew’s affairs. Our 90 minute discussion ended with me promising to call their attorney, and as I hung up, I knew I had made two very special friends. The next day I drove back to Southern California.

I spoke to their attorney in the coming days, and agreed to file an affidavit as to who I was, my experience with these types of cases, and the various reasons why I was convinced Matthew was deceased. Many months later, on April 15th of this year, the judge granted the Greene family their request, allowing them to begin yet one more difficult process in this saga.

Over the course of last winter, Bob and I began a series of email exchanges. He immediately let it be known that he wanted to come out here to the east side. I encouraged he and his entire family to do just that…to be able to look out from Minaret Vista and see the area we believed Matthew went missing, and perhaps draw some solace. Bob let me know right away that HIS intent was to go well beyond that…..he wanted to search with me.

Of course, I immediately began telling him why that was not a good idea. At 67, and not used to doing much in the way of hiking even back in Pennsylvania, I filled him in on the rigors of the Ritter Range….the effects of altitude…..and the unfathomable odds of finding anything. I threw EVERYTHING at him to talk him out of it. This was the beginning of my discovery of who Bob Greene is…and what a father does for a son.

Once I realized I was fighting a losing battle, I had Bob load up one of Matthew’s packs with 45 pounds of junk….and start hiking it all over rural Pennsylvania, through a winter that was all kinds of brutal back there. He lost weight, and replaced it with muscle. I sent him a list of all the gear he would need, then over the course of the winter, I helped him locate a condo in Mammoth. This was clearly a man on a mission, and he arrived in Mammoth on May 8th. When we met face to face, we embraced like long lost friends…and from that point on, through Bob, I began to know Matthew more and more each day.

Wasting no time, Bob set to hiking every front country trail he could find that was snow free, acclimatizing, strengthening, and familiarizing himself with the Mammoth area….his only companion, his SPOT device, which his family insisted he have with him.

I watched the search zone from afar as the snow melted…all the while, Bob was chomping at the bit to get back there. By the time we headed in this week, Bob had logged over 400 miles of trail, fed countless mosquitoes, and whipped himself into a lather of muscle, energy, and humble attitude.

I had three days to spend with Bob this week…we left the Agnew Meadows trailhead at 0545 Monday morning, and entered the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Bob Greene
Bob Greene
Credit: Cragman

Though I didn’t tell Bob, I was sizing him up on this initial hike in to our base camp at Iceberg Lake. How he did on the approach would help me decide just how far I was going to be willing to take him. I hiked my usual pace….I am NOT a slow hiker, and have quite a long stride compared to Bob. The guy was right on my heels.

Credit: Cragman

As we made the southerly turn at Ediza Lake and began heading uphill to Iceberg, the altitude began to hit him a bit, and in my mind, I began to have a few concerns. We made it to Iceberg at 0900, and as far as I was concerned, Bob had passed the test with flying colors. Now I needed to test him on some off trail terrain.

We quickly set up our camp at the same spot Cup and I had used last year…right at the outlet. Then we spent a little time scoping our objectives.

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

I had planned on hitting the shoulder between the steep gully/drainage (which Cup and I had searched) coming down from the glacier below Eichorn....and Cecile Lake. However, it was clear that a fair amount of that area was still covered in snow....it would be pointless to go up there and not be able to see it all.

At that point, I suggested we search the group of trees between our campsite and the base of the snowfield on the southwest shore of Iceberg, then onto the snowfield itself. This would put Bob on un-trailed, steep terrain…..so I could see how he managed. He was flawless.

Bob skirting steep terrain above Iceberg....and one of our mosquito co...
Bob skirting steep terrain above Iceberg....and one of our mosquito companions on the lens
Credit: Cragman

After searching the trees, we entered the snow and talus field below the cliff band that Cup and I had covered last season. Bob stayed to the north side of the snow as I began ascending towards the bottom of that drainage gully, which was still laden with a fair amount of snow. Here's a few shots looking up and down from the base of the gully...

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

A few hundred feet from entering the gully, I made the decision to take a southerly exit off the snow, and ascend the cliff face, with the intent of gaining the ridge a few hundred feet above. I found loose but easy 3rd and 4th class climbing, and after 80 feet, I made a rather startling discovery….this nalgene bottle in an Outdoor Research sheath. From the fading on the sunny side, and the lack thereof on the dirt side, it appeared it had been there for only one winter.

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Of course, I was immediately energized…..if we could prove this to be Matthew’s, it would shrink our search zone down DRAMATICALLY! I screamed out to Bob that I had found the bottle, and for him to join me. Minutes later he was at my side, and together we began ascending the cliff, looking for additional evidence.

Not 40 feet above the bottle, in a muddy seep, I spotted this pocket knife…which had clearly been there MUCH longer than the bottle.

Credit: Cragman

Looking down the cliff where the bottle was found...the seep in the foreground was where the knife was...you can see Bob's pack far below...

Credit: Cragman

We continued up the cliff, with the intent of getting into cell range, so that I could get a few pictures out to various contacts, in hopes of determining whether the bottle was indeed Matthew’s. Along with a SAR member, I also managed to reach Supertopo’s long lost and banned FATTRAD, who put me in touch with SEWELLYMON….and Jeff was kind enough to post the pics here. (Thanks you guys!!!!)

By now the sun was directly overhead…and it was BLOODY HOT even at altitude! Bob and I hunkered in the shade of some small trees, sending out a few more texts, and making a couple of phone calls.

Minutes later, the clouds began to appear. In the ten minutes it took us to get down to the Cecile drainage to pump some water, things began to get rather ominous.

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

We quickly filled our bottles and began heading down that HATEFUL trail/rockslide that traverses the east shore of Iceberg. Picking our way carefully across the slope, the lightning began to crackle and thunder filled the cirque.

Just as we arrived at base camp at 1530, the skies began to open up…..thankfully, we received a nice, light rain with HUGE drops, for an hour.

The mosquitoes proved themselves a bit aggressive, though we had both seen far worse, and the DEET clearly was our saving grace. After feeding ourselves well, we settled in for the night at 2000 hours….a pleasantly quiet and cool night of about 40 degrees.

Dawn Tuesday was clear and had us raring to go, though we took our time gearing up for what was going to be an arduous day. My goal was to ascend to the glacier where Cup and I had met it last year…directly below Bedayan Minaret. Cup and I had gone south from here….today, Bob and I would cover the base of the glacier to the north, where it dead ends into Dawson Minaret.

Credit: Cragman

Leaving camp at 0800, we ascended via a STEEP gully system above the west shore of Iceberg, carefully searching amongst the talus and gullies. We made good time, and Bob handled both the altitude and the VERY direct line of ascent like a pro. By 1000 hours, we had arrived at the glacier. In the photo below, the cliff on which I found the bottle the previous day is right above Bob's head...

Credit: Cragman

Though now above 11,000 feet, the heat was rather oppressive. We pumped melt water from between the glacial boulders, and kept ascending. Around 1100 hours, and directly below Bedayan Minaret, we stopped for some lunch and a much needed rest. With cell service once again, we received word that the water bottle was likely NOT Matthew’s. Though disappointed, we found contentment in our position, and reveled in such a stunning location.

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Bob, discovering that buying trail mix with chocolate and peanut butter on a WARM hike....really isn't the right choice....

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

We then began making our way down brutal talus and boulder fields, to the toe of Dawson Minaret...

Credit: Cragman

....then crossed beneath it to the north for a few hundred more yards....

Credit: Cragman


Credit: Cragman

We felt compelled to search a gully that leads directly below Dawson to the moraine below, so we began our down climb. The gully was choked with snow and running with lots of water.

Credit: Cragman

About a 150 feet down the chute, I had Bob hold back, as it appeared to me that the thing might cliff out below. I continued down, and spotted this mylar balloon in the gully…such an odd place, though these things have quite the reputation for traveling great distances.

Credit: Cragman

Another 200 feet down, the gully did indeed cliff out, so back up I came, snagging the balloon in the process.

Credit: Cragman

We found a safer descent line a few hundred yards to the southeast, and made our way towards the moraine. We hooked back around a series of small cliffs and began making our way back south towards our camp at Iceberg.

Here's a few shots looking back at the gully we had tried to descend....

Credit: Cragman

Credit: Cragman

Bob snapped the following shot of me atop the cliff above our camp, as I scoped what appeared to be an ice or rock slide up on the glacier where we had been earlier that morning.

Credit: Cragman

We arrived back at base a little after 1500.…feeling pleasantly tired.

A nice, steady breeze thankfully kept the mosquitoes off us as we cooked up some dinner and chatted about everything from the search….Matthew…..our childhood…..our families……just about everything under the sun.

Credit: Cragman

As I climbed into my bivy just before dark, I realized I had, in a few short days, grown a DEEP respect for a man who I would have never known, had he not suffered such a profound tragedy. Tears rolled down my face as I tried to force myself to sleep, in spite of a warm night that tried to keep me out of my bag, with the bugs keeping me in. I tossed and turned all night…one that never got down much below 50 degrees. Dawn today was pretty special....

Credit: Cragman

Some friends of Matthew’s had arrived in Mammoth over the previous weekend to help search, and hiked into the Minaret Lake area last night…..so this morning, Bob and I parted ways….he heading up to join them, and me heading for home.

I have to admit…..I did not find it easy to walk away from my new friend…..someone I had come to know and respect SO quickly…..under the worst of circumstances a father could ever face. I was completely humbled by his grace…..in spite of untold grief.

Staying off trail, I made my way northwest, heading back towards the tarn west of Ediza….searching the vast, wide open areas that perhaps Matthew may have used coming in or out. Hours later, and reluctantly, I turned back to the trail, and made my way towards the trailhead.

It wasn’t long when, just as had happened on the last search, the melancholy invaded my soul….and once again, just as I had last year....I was talking to Matthew......



“Hey Matt….damn, you are hard to find! How desperately I wish you would have left some information behind…..DAMN IT!!!!! I absolutely HATE this crap!!!!!!…….

…..but….I know exactly what drew you out here….it is SO incredibly beautiful!!! I’m certain you were as humbled by these mountains as I am……I just wish we could have shared them together…..

…..I feel I know you SO much better, now that I have met an amazing man……the one who raised you. You were SO lucky to have the father you had……how I wish I would have had one like that…..

…..Your father loves you SO much…..he has made SUCH an impression on me…..I know now where all the amazing things your friends and colleagues have said about you came from…..a father and mother who sowed themselves into you….taught you to follow your dreams with a fervent desire……to pour out on others…..and to live a life of grace and integrity…..

……I’m going to keep coming out here with your Dad…he’s REALLY a great partner out here….I’m sure you’re looking down on him with pride….and perhaps even a little jealousy of the times he and I are having….I thought I would have to take care of him….but, in spite of his grief, I believe he has found something special out here….he has found what brought YOU here, and he is one with it. He fits in here, Matthew…..the mountains that spoke to your soul…now do to his…..and it’s a thing of beauty…..

…..I’m privileged beyond belief to be able to call your Dad my friend……we’re gonna keep on keeping on….both with searching….and with life…..

….you just climb on, Matthew….”





The search……continues…..


Peace,

Dean Rosnau
July, 2014

  Trip Report Views: 8,126
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
Tami

Social climber
Canada
  Jul 2, 2014 - 08:30pm PT
Awesome TR Dean. I sincerely hope Matthew is found.
The Lisa

Trad climber
Da Bronx, NY
  Jul 2, 2014 - 08:32pm PT
Now I have tears in my eyes too. That is a beautifully written report, Dean.
eKat

Trad climber
  Jul 2, 2014 - 08:38pm PT
Wow. . . now I can't see very well. . . everything's all washy.

TFPU!
scrubbing bubbles

Social climber
Uranus
  Jul 2, 2014 - 08:48pm PT
I can only imagine how touched and grateful MG's family would feel, considering your continued efforts; this is really showing some genuine love for your fellow man
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 2, 2014 - 08:52pm PT
Good Try Crag..Mathews Pa sounds and looks like a Great Guy. Good on ya both..
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
  Jul 2, 2014 - 09:14pm PT
It all makes sense... Bob is my neighbor.....Matthews green Suburaru...? This nice lady named Pat from Pennsylvania...? I'll have to say hi...rj
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 2, 2014 - 09:16pm PT
Please introduce yourself to Bob, RJ....by the way, I ran into Tracy and your daughter on the way out of the backcountry today.....up above Shadow Lake.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
  Jul 2, 2014 - 09:28pm PT
Good sighting Dean..No wonder i didn't see Maren this evening...ha, ha..rj
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, or In What Time Zone Am I?
  Jul 2, 2014 - 09:35pm PT
Speechless.

Susan
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
  Jul 2, 2014 - 09:48pm PT
A very moving TR Dean. In a way I think Bob has found his sons spirit, the mountains do give some solace.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Jul 2, 2014 - 10:12pm PT
Thank you for the report.
It's very special for Matt's father to see this beautiful area in the same way Matt got to see it.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jul 2, 2014 - 10:19pm PT
Thanks cragman. For being a good person.
johnboy

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
  Jul 2, 2014 - 10:36pm PT
Looking for a lost soul while looking introspectively at your own soul.
Very moving.

Sounds like quite a bit of his father rubbed off onto Matt, and vice versa.

Thanks Dean for the read.
Todd Eastman

climber
Bellingham, WA
  Jul 2, 2014 - 10:58pm PT
It really is a campfire...
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Jul 2, 2014 - 11:14pm PT
That's what friends are for! That story should live in a book.

JL
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Jul 2, 2014 - 11:22pm PT
Beautiful.
Cragman, you could write a book.
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Jul 2, 2014 - 11:33pm PT
Could be kind of touchy if you actually find the corpse and the father is right there, but it sounds like he's all-in 100% too.
ShawnInPaso

climber
Paso Robles, CA
  Jul 2, 2014 - 11:41pm PT
Amazing.....
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Jul 3, 2014 - 01:45am PT
Beautiful, heartbreaking, and showing what is really important in life. Great post Cragman
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Jul 3, 2014 - 02:15am PT
none of these deeds are amazing.
not extraordinary.
not heroic.

instead this is the type
of gesture that simply
falls out of a good man.

a man of astounding moral architecture;
a man committed to life-long progress;
and a man in pursuit of that ever-evasive purity.

tomorrow always delivers new opportunities
for the seeker of meek.

the deeds are mundane.
though the man behind them
is deserving of our adoration
and gentle applause.
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
  Jul 3, 2014 - 05:02am PT
Cragman,

I was in June Lake for a couple of days last August, I made a big mistake in failing to hook up with you, but time was short... :-(

Your decency in doing all this, both for Matt and his family shines through.

You're a great example for the climbing community and stuff like your deeds knocks a lot of the shyte that get posted on here for a cocked hat. It makes hanging around the forums worthwhile.

Over and above the help you are giving to the family, (Matt's Dad is remarkable - non?)I hope your efforts end up resolving the mystery of Matt's disappearance.

Stay safe,

Steve
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
  Jul 3, 2014 - 05:23am PT
Beautifully written, Craigman.
Bad Climber

climber
  Jul 3, 2014 - 06:13am PT
Damn, Mr. Cragman, quite the TR. I pretty much lost it as I imagined Bob, out of shape and in grief, loading up a pack back in PA and beginning to slog up and down hills, all the while thinking of his son.

You're the best sort,sir.


BAd
Timid TopRope

Social climber
the land of Pale Ale
  Jul 3, 2014 - 06:23am PT
Now this is a really good morning coffee read. Thanks for sharing. Kudos to you and Matt's father.
Andy T.
crankster

Trad climber
  Jul 3, 2014 - 06:36am PT
A father looking for his son...I sure hope he finds him. Great story.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Jul 3, 2014 - 06:55am PT
Great effort and great TR Dean. Hope Matt is found soon. At least it sounds like his Father has had some closure with this experience.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
  Jul 3, 2014 - 07:03am PT
Just Wow! Cheers to Bob Greene. Hope this reaches some closure.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Jul 3, 2014 - 07:05am PT
Thanks Dean,
you sir are a class act!
Tad
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Jul 3, 2014 - 07:28am PT
Wow, Dean...what a TR, and what a gift you are to this community.
W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Jul 3, 2014 - 09:45am PT
Dean,

Thank you for sharing and the initial lead-up story is absolutely moving. Thank you for being you.

Weston
ydpl8s

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Jul 3, 2014 - 09:59am PT
As the father of a son in his 20's, I can't tell you how much that touched me. Yes, the tears are flowing.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 3, 2014 - 02:03pm PT
Bump
pyro

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
  Jul 3, 2014 - 02:30pm PT
good read!
thank's for sharing pictures.
Hope you find your friend.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jul 3, 2014 - 03:21pm PT
Well done and good luck.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 3, 2014 - 06:23pm PT
Dean, you are a good man,
Much respect SIR!!!
zBrown

Ice climber
Brujò de la Playa
  Jul 3, 2014 - 06:44pm PT
I'm proud of the both of you.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
  Jul 3, 2014 - 08:01pm PT
Cragman...Had the fortune to meet Bob this evening....What a cool dude/gentleman..In a short conversation we talked about Lehigh Valley and bike racing , how dangerous mountaineering is , and BEER...The group of people staying with him are a breath of fresh air and really psyched to be in the Sierra...He can't say enough nice things about you..RJ
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Jul 3, 2014 - 08:08pm PT
hey there say, cragman... hoping and praying for you all to see what 'is unseen' and find clues that will surface...

and for that 'gut feeling' to be lead to the right spots, or
right situations to unfold...
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Jul 3, 2014 - 09:46pm PT
Cragman, you are a great human being to lend your time and energy to this search for Matthew. Now that we have vicariously met his father, the whole scene takes on a very deep and primal emotion. To lose your child without a trace would be exceptionally difficult, if not impossible to bear.

Best of thoughts to you and Bob.
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Jul 3, 2014 - 09:51pm PT
Great write up Dean.

You're both in my prayers out there. Can't imagine what that would be like.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 4, 2014 - 05:47am PT
Just wanted to say thank you to all who have commented here. This type of search really wears the mind down, so it helps to know there are so many people out there supporting the effort with thoughts and prayers.

Bob Greene is an exceptional individual, and I am honored to know him. He will be remaining here on the east side until the end of August to search.

Your continued thoughts and prayers for our safety would be most appreciated.

Cheers,
DR
Chief Dan Watson

climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
  Jul 4, 2014 - 09:28am PT
Beautiful post, Dean. I too had the privilege of meeting Bob Greene shortly after he got to Mammoth. He dropped by the Police station to thank us. He told me of his plans for the summer and I spent an hour or two with him, including driving him to Minaret Vista so he could see the vastness and beauty of the back country for the first time. The road was not open past the Main Lodge, but I was able to get through. You have done a good job of describing this humble, generous man. My heart goes out to Bob and his family and I hope they can find peace this summer. Thank you for all you've done for Matthew, the Greene family, the other searchers, and all the friends and family who are unable to come here
feralfae

Boulder climber
in the midst of a metaphysical mystery
  Jul 4, 2014 - 09:45am PT
Thank you for the heart-felt TR and comments here.

You and everyone involved will be in my thoughts and prayers as this search continues. It is heartwarming to read about good people coming together to help and show kindness to each other. This is what the real spirit of the mountains is all about. Thank you for sharing your beautiful spirits with us all.

Blessings,
feralfae
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Jul 4, 2014 - 09:58am PT
Chief Watson
I see you've posted on the threads for Matt several times. Thank you for taking a personal interest in Matt's family. I'm sure your dedication and humanity are recognized by your employers, peers and subordinates.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
  Jul 4, 2014 - 10:09am PT
Dean..Here's a pic of my girl from the other day..rj
Dean..Here's a pic of my girl from the other day..rj
Credit: rottingjohnny
The Minarets..
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
  Jul 4, 2014 - 11:08am PT
Kudos to Dean.

I'd like to meet Bob if I get into town. I've visions of hiking a small portion of the Sierra High Route into Minaret Lake later this summer.....
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 4, 2014 - 02:07pm PT
Thank you, Chief Watson, et al......

And Jeff...thanks again for posting those photos I sent from the backcountry....that really helped us out! I hope you do get a chance to come to town and meet Bob. Better yet....come on out in the BC with us!!!

: )

Cheers,
DR
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
  Jul 4, 2014 - 02:30pm PT
Your best thread yet!
Smullen

Social climber
Bethlehem, PA
  Jul 4, 2014 - 02:41pm PT
How lovely to spend this morning with you, hearing your stories and getting to know you. Matt's disappearance has left us bereft . . . but coming to know people like his father and you balances that terrible loss. Your writing is beautiful, and I look forward to reading that book! With love and gratitude, Judy Smullen
eKat

Trad climber
  Jul 4, 2014 - 02:49pm PT
Chief Watson,

You are a class act!

I can't begin to tell you how lucky Mammoth is to have you.

Thank you, so much, for posting to these threads.

Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 4, 2014 - 03:49pm PT
Thanks, Jan.... : )


Judy, It was such a pleasure to hang out with all of you this morning. Matt was SO lucky to have such friends! I look forward to seeing you all again....safe travels home to you all!


eKat.....yep...you nailed it!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jul 4, 2014 - 05:22pm PT
Dean, I am writing this with tears in my eyes after an exhausting week of being in the back country with my son, Jack. I often wonder if my showing him how to climb and ski in the mountains might be a mistake, in that someday I might have to contend with what Bob is dealing with. But I can't help but note that his sons death has impacted his life in some positive ways by meeting people like you and getting introduced to the wilderness. I wish you all the best and I hope you guys find Matt.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 4, 2014 - 08:11pm PT
mike m....thanks for your note.

I know those feelings you are having about introducing your son to climbing....I recall dealing with that with my first-born....a son.

In hindsight, I couldn't imagine NOT raising my kids within the climbing world that has brought me the best times of my life now after 40 years of roping up. I certainly would never want to deny my kids the opportunity to share those kinds of experiences.

All of us raise our kids with wings to fly....we have to do that job well....and trust that they will soar. We began working in South America at an orphanage when my oldest daughter was only 7. Today, at 20 years old, she is working with orphans in Africa. Would that be my choice for where I want my daughter? Frankly...no. But again....we raise them with wings.....to follow their OWN dreams and desires. I believe the solid things in climbing, like learning responsibility for one's self, as well as that of your partner.....will go a long way in helping my kids make good choices in their future.

I certainly don't wish to speak for him, but I believe Bob Greene would tell you that he has no regrets about Matthew being a climber...that Matthew knew the risks...and that Bob as his father would never have wanted to deny him the incomparable joy that climbing brought to his son's life.

Matthew's life, to those of us left behind, was way too short. As I come to know Matthew more and more each day, I'm convinced that his was a life well lived. Sometimes, it's not the years.....it's the mileage....

Again....we raise 'em with wings.....to soar high.

Best to you and your son,
DR
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 5, 2014 - 06:28am PT
I just spoke with my daughter, who is in Africa for the summer. Last spring, when she was raising funds to get over there, Bob Greene and his family made a generous donation to her efforts. She just told me that when she gets home, she wants to go into the backcountry with me to search.

Paying it forward.....cool stuff.
Scout2

Sport climber
Kunkletown, PA
  Jul 5, 2014 - 06:38am PT
Matt has introduced us to some fantastic people and adventures. Thanks for this little peek. Your a good man Cragman
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 5, 2014 - 10:25am PT
Dean that Proverbs 17 quote set the tone perfectly for this wonderful and moving piece. Your relationship with Bob sounds like it will stay sweet for the long haul. I have two young sons and this story is a moving tribute to all fathers and sons. May the Lord continue to bless you not for what you are doing but because he finds favor in you and your faithfulness. Keep us updated in your journey. And seriously, talk to Largo about a book......
This story is one to share.


Sincerely,

Scott Jett
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 5, 2014 - 10:37am PT
Thanks, Scott...I've actually been working on a book for a few years, and my editor requested I find one more chapter to provide a fitting end.

I believe I have found the subject for that chapter....
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
  Jul 5, 2014 - 12:49pm PT
Dean,
Thank you for sharing this sad and beautiful story. Reaching out to you and Bob Greene, and the rest of the larger family, with hope to find resolution, but most of all to find serenity and acceptance whatever happens with the search. One heart.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
  Jul 5, 2014 - 03:03pm PT
Dean, thanks for the beautiful trip report -- you had me crying into my keyboard.

You're doing a good thing in searching for Matt, going above and beyond. And Bob Greene sounds like a great guy -- very determined. Amazing how he's transformed himself so he can search for his son and keep up with the likes of you.

I know this is a dangerous business, and hope that you, Bob, and the others searching stay safe and well. I hope that signs of Matt are found soon, but in any event, that his friends and family find some peace.

Thanks again,
LAhiker
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 5, 2014 - 07:39pm PT
Thanks, Em....good to hear from you. Let's connect one of these days.....


LAhiker....yes, Bob Greene is an amazing man...humble and determined. If you get to the east side, you should look him up.

Cheers,
DR



EDIT: Snitch....I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but the "glaciers" have been searched.....and if you need "directions" to the glaciers.....you best stay where you are.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 5, 2014 - 07:56pm PT
snitch....the glaciers have been searched....and no, we are NOT searching the bergschrunds due to the fact that if Matthew did fall into one, we would never know, as those in question are inaccessible and VERY deep.....and if we KNEW he was in one, extricating him would be impossible.



yes, PLEASE come over from wherever it is you live, and save us dumb locals from ourselves.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Jul 5, 2014 - 08:09pm PT
Thank You!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 5, 2014 - 09:08pm PT
snitch,, you wanna help? Go solo ALL of the Minaret peaks - start with Clyde and Ken Minarets, and fully circumnavigate them from the top down.. Should only take a burly foreigner a day or so..
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 5, 2014 - 10:32pm PT
It would help if you knew a small degree of the area we are talking about. On Clyde Minaret alone there are at least 20,000 small gaps, chimneys, boulderish ledges and fissures if all manner that a climber could fall into from 10 feet to 300 feet above, and never be seen from the air. Hundreds of chockstones guarding chimneys ramps and gullies, and ledges abound. The Minarets are perhaps the hardest areas to search be it ground or air in the Sierras imo.

Look up the search for Walter Starr JR who was finally located on a ledge on Ken Minaret after exhaustive searching by the likes of Norman Clyde. And then apologize to the OP and others on this thread for a very idiotic and distasteful remark.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 5, 2014 - 10:57pm PT
Feel free to explore the shrunds all you want. But to make calls like you did here on this thread to the people that have a lifetime of experience in the very area of question is a bit much donthca think? Helping is good,, insulting efforts was just BS...

This is what i first said of the Minarets when i climbed Clyde back in 77-- " how in the heck does these massive rubble piles stay glued together to make such high peaks"...There is enough looseness up there that you could make an extra Minaret if you tossed it all off. a 5000 foot Minaret. The place is not a simple " hes in a schrund or at the base of a cliff" . Google up the Minarets and view for yourself.
Bill Mc Kirgan

Trad climber
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  Jul 6, 2014 - 04:43am PT
^^^ "Member profile information for Snitch is shown below. This member's account has been deactivated." ...

Go figure???? Nice attempt at diplomacy Ron Anderson. ...and I mean that sincerely. You were being really nice.







Like many I've been following this story from the beginning and praying for Matt and all who are trying to help. Thank you for sharing this Cragman.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 6, 2014 - 06:24am PT
"I have a feeling he is in the Glacier, otherwise the chopper would have found him at the bottom of a cliff."




This quote pretty much explains why I do not even wish to waste one breath with someone who has his head completely up his ass.



Thanks, Ron Anderson....you're a better man than I.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 6, 2014 - 07:00am PT
Out of respect for YOu Crag,, Elder Greene and Younger Greene and the many friends of his on this thread, i was being tactful. Otherwise i would have been my blunt self..;-)
Scout2

Sport climber
Kunkletown, PA
  Jul 6, 2014 - 07:41am PT
The efforts of all involved for the search of my friend Matt have not gone unnoticed. Matt is a needle in a high Sierra haystack. There are many stones and I have no doubt about the desire to leave none unturned. Thanks Cragman <3
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Jul 6, 2014 - 10:05am PT
You can abseil down into them you know.

BwaaaaHaaaaaHaaaa . . . What a noob.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 6, 2014 - 01:16pm PT
You did nothing BUT insult.....that's why you are not welcome here.

Respect isn't a birthrite....it's earned.
overwatch

climber
  Jul 6, 2014 - 01:40pm PT
Good call the hawk, mattf*#k coming on this thread with his crap epitomizes the pos troll.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 6, 2014 - 03:47pm PT
Bob went back out today with a few of Matthew's friends from PA.

Thunderstorms have moved into the area this morning, and today is mostly overcast, bringing some nice cooling to the search area. Looks like a chance of thunderstorms throughout the week.
Lurking Fear

Boulder climber
Bishop, California
  Jul 6, 2014 - 04:12pm PT
I'll bet you already thought of this, but did the searchers consider all of the routes that friends of Matt had done in the previous weeks up to his disappearance? I know that climbers like to do routes that are recommended by friends. It might help narrow down the search. Good luck.
crankster

Trad climber
  Jul 6, 2014 - 04:23pm PT
Yes, this was done and was covered extensively in this thread.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2195321&tn=2320

Never hurts to ask, though.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 6, 2014 - 04:40pm PT
Always good to continue to consider this case, and muse over the many possibilities.

Whether I am in the search area or not, I have spent countless hours thinking about Matthew's disappearance.

From the start, I've felt that the few bits of evidence we have points to the Ritter Range. If I were Matthew, it's where I would have gone.

With that in mind, looking at a REAL big day in the mountains, Matthew would have been moving fast. Within the search zone, the approaches and descents off of ANY of the peaks that might have been Matthew's objective, are wrought with hazard.

Moving fast over these terrains is a HUGE potential for trouble. Even a sprained ankle could prove fatal, considering what Matthew did and DIDN'T have with him.

These talus and boulder fields are EXTREMELY vast....and harbor millions of nooks and crannies that now, a year later, may conceal Matthew's gear. The natural effects of snow creep over the course of the winter, jams evidence ever further into smaller and smaller spaces.

Subsequently, someone will likely actually have to step on the evidence to find it....just like the water bottle and knife that I found last week.

That is the reality of this case. It will require patience, endurance, and perseverance. Just because a certain area has been searched, will not allow it to be checked off.....there are simply TOO many of those little spaces to look into....EVERYWHERE you go in the range.

This is the ultimate marathon.....
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
  Jul 6, 2014 - 04:47pm PT
Phil.2:13
"for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

Dean, i wonder if you know this chapter? Very inspirational!!

As is your story. i pray that God's will would be working in His good timing.. and hope for Bob to find his son,
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 6, 2014 - 04:53pm PT
Thanks, Blueblocr....yes, I know that scripture ALL too well!

I am confident someone will find Matthew's resting place. We all need to stay the course.
crankster

Trad climber
  Jul 6, 2014 - 04:58pm PT
Someday, a person will stumble upon a clue, whether during an actual search or just by chance. Randy Morgenson was found after 5 years; hopefully, Matt is found sooner and his family can get the closure they need. You, too, Cragman.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 6, 2014 - 05:02pm PT
Thanks, Crankster...you're correct. There will be success....I'm certain of it.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 8, 2014 - 12:20pm PT
Wanted to add this link here....very interesting reading.....so many similarities to Matthew's case.

http://www.traditionalmountaineering.org/News_PeterStarr.htm
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 8, 2014 - 01:55pm PT
That may be very accurate in the end Cragman.. It would make sense that an experienced climber such as Mathew would be on high somewhere- just off route. that narrows it down to about 350K possible locations. Your the new Norman Clyde of old in this regard.. Damm if that isnt one hella- compliment..;-)
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 8, 2014 - 08:25pm PT
That's flattering, Ron....but I'm not worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as 'ol Norman.


I'm just an old fart that knows these mountains a bit....and I'm a father. Those things compel me to be out there.
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Jul 9, 2014 - 12:29am PT
Only Norman Clyde remained ... he held no hope of finding Starr alive but felt that locating him “would afford a good deal of consolation to his parents.”
LilaBiene

Trad climber
Technically...the spawning grounds of Yosemite
  Jul 9, 2014 - 12:34am PT
I thought I would have to take care of him….but, in spite of his grief, I believe he has found something special out here….he has found what brought YOU here, and he is one with it. He fits in here, Matthew…..the mountains that spoke to your soul…now do to his…..and it’s a thing of beauty…..

Yes, it is...and that you picked up on that is even more lovely. Without you, Matt's father would be without that which has the potential to make him feel whole again, somehow. A similarly incredible gift was also given to me by this awesome community.

There's not a day that goes by that I don't have Yosemite in my heart, and all that comes along with it, including deep, deep gratitude.

Thank you for continuing to share your journey. My thoughts and prayers go with you, Matt's father and friends, as you continue on the path less traveled by...
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 9, 2014 - 07:03pm PT
LilaBiene....thanks so much for your kinds words.

Matthew's death is a horrible tragedy. As with any circumstance like this, one would hope that somehow....some way....there would be some good that comes out of it. As I mentioned in my OP, there have been many friendships that have come to pass since Matthew went missing, and many people have been made aware of the dangers and pitfalls of not telling someone where they are going in the wilds.

Obviously, all of us would prefer that Matthew be alive and well....and amongst those that are a part of his life. Unfortunately, they will be left with their memories of him, and thoughts of what might have been.

Though these new friendships will never be able to replace a lost son, brother, uncle, friend, colleague, teacher, etc.....there is value there. And it's for all of us.

Best to you, Audrey....

DR
CA.Timothy

climber
California
  Jul 9, 2014 - 08:06pm PT
Cragman

I think Bloody Mountain has some potential. Matt could have hitched or possibly walked...It sometimes has the ice he may have been after. Any ideas or thoughts? I dont recall what the ice was like on it in late July 2013.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 9, 2014 - 08:16pm PT
CA.Timothy....nope....no ice on Bloody last July.
crankster

Trad climber
  Jul 9, 2014 - 08:31pm PT
Last year was almost as dry as 2014. Little snow/ice in July. He had done some ice/snow classics, but not Mt. Ritter or Banner, which are close. He was eager to get going to Colorado after a lengthy wait for a car repair and he knew his car was about ready. Pages from a guidebook were missing that included Ritter/Banner.

If you're playing the odds, you're looking at the Ritter Range; hence Cragman's search effort.

Which is all speculation, really.
Scout2

Sport climber
Kunkletown, PA
  Jul 12, 2014 - 06:51pm PT
As many new friendships as lasting memories of Matt Cragman. I would love to have missed the pain, but then I would have missed the dance. Matt took life by the horns and danced well with it.
pacarockhound

Social climber
Escondido CA
  Jul 12, 2014 - 11:29pm PT
Thank you for this trip report.

Dean, I am sorry that last fall was so difficult a time personally for you - thank you for sharing.

Thank you for your commitment to the Greenes.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 13, 2014 - 06:55am PT
The friendships that have been added to my life over the course of this event are such a blessing....and a motivator to continue in spite of overwhelming odds.

This type of search is grueling. As Crankster posted above, our search zone is speculation based on very few actual known facts. When you add the fact that the search zone is such a challenging and difficult landscape, it's all the more cruel. The picture below is just one small glimpse of the Ritter Range...and Matthew's resting spot may be in this pic....but one must literally step on that spot to find it.....

Credit: Cragman

In spite of the overwhelming odds, I expect to find that spot each and every time I go out. Knowing there are SO many of Matthew's friends and family keeping his memory alive, and wanting to know where he left this earth, is the motivator.

Please.....don't ever go out in the wild without telling someone where you are going.

Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 14, 2014 - 06:54am PT
Tragedy is an interesting thing. I liken it to a well-thrown stone landing in the middle of a perfectly placid lake.

In this case, Matthew is the stone....which has disappeared into a place unknown. Above, the ripples go out from that place of disappearance, affecting the lives of those left behind.

Initially, those ripples are so many different things....pain, sorrow, disbelief, tears, mystery, countless questions..........unfathomable grief.

Eventually, those ripples reach the shore, where those of us left behind are gathered. And it's there that those ripples of pain touch us all. We stare out, looking for what caused the effect....but it is lost to us....out of our view forever. As the lake goes placid once again, we continue to look for the source of what united us. We're only certain of one thing....that source is, indeed, out there....somewhere.

Just as those ripples cause pain, they also bring some good along as well.....interweaving lives on the shore.

I was blessed to have as guests in my home last night, Matthew's parents, Bob and Pat Greene, Matthew's sister, Tiffany Minto, and Matthew's great friends, Viola Krouse, Patty King, and John, Jill and Anthony Greco.

Around the table, sharing food and drink, we laughed, we cried, and most of all....we bonded. All through the ripple affect of a tragedy.

I am humbled to know these new friends....and we all share a common goal.....we'd like to know where lies the source of the ripples.

The search continues....
MGuzzy

Trad climber
Orangevale
  Jul 16, 2014 - 08:16pm PT
Bump...
Cragman, You have outdone yourself with this TR. It yanks at the soul of every climber that has looked up to the peaks, every person that has thought about life from that vantage. If you are thinking this could be a chapter in a book... I think you could write a whole book about this. For those of us that will likely never meet Bob and Matt's friends and family we continue to experience this through your eyes. Keep it up.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 17, 2014 - 06:52am PT
MGuzzy...thank you for your kind words.

This is obviously a deeply personal story for the Greene family, and has become the same for me as well. It is also a continuing story...one that we hope will have an ending that we all seek.

It fits right in with the topic of my book, though ultimately I want to respect the Greene family's privacy. If it makes it into my book, it will only be with their permission.

Right now, all I'm thinking about is finding what we all are looking for....closure. That is my only priority.
SplitPants

Social climber
LA
  Jul 17, 2014 - 05:28pm PT
Dean,
Thanks of sharing this wonderful TR with all of us! Glad you are still searching and were able to meet Matt's family and go up with his dad (who sounds way cool by the way). We are so happy the search is still on and potential new leads are popping up!

Keep the faith and be safe:)

Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 18, 2014 - 10:00am PT
Thanks, Brooke.....it's a team effort...and you've played a huge roll in that.

Today is the anniversary of Matthew's disappearance. I'll be having lunch with the Greene family over in Mammoth tomorrow....and we will be remembering Matthew for all that he was to everyone.

I feel like I have new family.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
  Jul 25, 2014 - 05:25am PT
New "extended" family, Dean. You're stuck with us now! :)
dfinnecy

Social climber
'stralia
  Jul 25, 2014 - 07:55am PT
Matthews story caught my attention last year as it did so many others. I hope and pray for closure for the benefit of his family, I realize the chances are slim.

Vale Matthew Greene!

What a wake Matthew has had! What a testament to Matthew and his parents, that family and friends have gathered in those sierras to bring him home. We all lose loved ones, and it is always difficult. Anyone who has pondered their own end would wish for such a send-off, would take comfort that out of the loss would come such a community.

My prayer for all those searching for Matthew is that the time they spend is full of joy, laughter and healing. Know that no-matter the outcome of the search, the goal has already been attained. Those chosen Sierra Nevada mountains which are irresistable to certain souls, the shared toil on and off trail, the meals and beer around a common table, all these things experienced with each other, are all Matthews legacy. All of you have had the privilege of being a part of it.
And those of us following along who didn't know Matthew, we can look at our own lives and what we do to touch others. We can try to live our lives in a way that, if all is lost, our passing might be a gift that brings a community together.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 25, 2014 - 10:50am PT
Thanks, Tiffany....I'm a lucky man...and honored to be called your friend.



dfinnecy...You've really hit the nail on the head with your comments.

The loss of Matthew is overwhelming...he could never be replaced.

Through that loss, we have all discovered a lot.....about Matthew, and about each other. That good things can come out of a tragedy is a real blessing.

The best of those things, in my opinion....is a deeper love for those in our lives.....including such wonderful, new faces.

It's Matthew's legacy.
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Jul 25, 2014 - 11:08pm PT
Have you guys considered crowdfunding to keep the search going?
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 27, 2014 - 05:22pm PT
BIOTCH.....there is no need for funds to keep this search going.

This type of search takes patience....diligence.....and lots and lots of time. It also takes people who are willing and capable of searching under very daunting circumstance.

Because of the lack of good information, no "official" search will ever be launched...and subsequently, there will be no crowd of searchers out there.

It will be a few of us...friends and family....those interested in wanting to know where Matthew left this earth.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 30, 2014 - 07:25am PT
Heavy, monsoonal rains have been pounding the search area every afternoon for the last week or so, and are forecast to continue, though will begin to wane later in the week.

Bob and I are heading back in on Friday.
Rankin

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
  Jul 30, 2014 - 09:25am PT
You're a good guy Dean. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
tdg119

Social climber
Northampton, PA
  Jul 31, 2014 - 05:46am PT
Stay safe out there daddy & Dean. I hope the weather cooperates and Matt decides to "show himself" this time. I will right there with you in spirit.
John Duffield

Mountain climber
New York
  Jul 31, 2014 - 08:33am PT
Stay safe out there daddy & Dean. I hope the weather cooperates and Matt decides to "show himself" this time.

+ 1

Thank you for allowing us to share this epic adventure.
LAhiker

Social climber
Los Angeles
  Jul 31, 2014 - 11:44am PT
Dean and Bob, I hope you have a safe -- and successful -- trip into the back country.
crusher

climber
Santa Monica, CA
  Jul 31, 2014 - 02:46pm PT
Good luck tomorrow - know that we're all with you and Bob in spirit. Be safe!
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Author's Reply  Jul 31, 2014 - 02:53pm PT
Thanks all....just a brief update.

A conflict has risen for me due to one of my subcontractors dropping the ball on a project, so I will be delayed in getting back out.

ARRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!

It's all about persevering through ALL kinds of stuff....but we'll get there.
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