Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Use this forum to stay informed on missing persons alerts, active SAR's and unfortunate hiker accidents we can all hopefully learn from. Any information you may have on a missing person, including first hand weather related information or any other insight (however little) may prove to be critical information to Law Enforcement / SAR in locating the person in question.
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rightstar76
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Post by rightstar76 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 3:37 am

I thought I would add to the discussion. I'm thinking that if the last time she was seen was at Horsehead Lake, she must have headed back to Colt Lake, climbed the ridge separating Bench Valley from Blackcap Basin and then summited Blackcap from the south. She probably decided to return to Guest Lake by traversing west and then north to the trail below McGuire Lakes. Maybe she thought she would meet up with the trail and take it back up to camp. The news stories have said the helicopter was at 9200 elevation and 200 yards from where she was found. The trail is very faint in that area so either she crossed it without realizing it or she overshot where she thought she was going and ended up further west. It now makes sense why the area she was found was outside of the original search area. The searchers were probably focused on the route up to Blackcap and the surrounding area.

The other thing I was thinking was how frustrating it must have been for her to be so close to camp and yet unable to get help. I'm not saying that it would have felt much different if she had gotten hurt further away say if she had done a long dayhike to Goddard Canyon, but to be so close to camp. Wow. I was talking about this with my wife last night and how when we're out hiking we're basically just needles in a haystack. One of the articles said it was a teenager in the Marin SAR who heard the whistle. Nobody else did. This was incredible luck.








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Mike M.
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Post by Mike M. » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:48 am

Here's a link to a heartwarming KCRA story about the rescue effort:

http://www.kcra.com/news/local-news/new ... s/35013860

Thank goodness for that teenager's good hearing!

Mike

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commonloon
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Post by commonloon » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:01 pm

This may be a bit obvious to some, but I wanted to add one take away I had from this story.

Not whistles are the same! While we may never need it, this is one small piece of gear that we should get right. A LOUD whistle is a better.

I discovered just how inadequate my old whistle was when myself and 2 friends were contouring on a rocky steep hillside. The climber among us had gone a little ahead and myself & the other had lost sight of him. We tried and tried to whistle to him hoping for an acknowledgement back. This hillside had some drop offs so we began to become concerned. Later after reconnecting, we found out he simply never heard us.

After that trip I googled loud whistles and ordered a storm whistle.

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schmalz
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Post by schmalz » Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:14 pm

Yeah, this story has me looking to re-ad a whistle into my kit.

I also found it slightly amusing that the hiker mentioned that she was lucky to have her water filter and that she actually filtered her water each day with two broken legs. I don't think I'd be too worried about water purity at that point. She is a badass.
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Mike M.
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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Post by Mike M. » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:48 pm

My kit includes a whistle, which I keep in a pocket of my backpack. But I've never taken it with me on a dayhike; maybe I should. I was thinking the other day about the choices I make when I'm traveling solo in the backcountry -- what I take with me and what I leave at home. It's a pretty robust kit. But when I'm off from a a base camp scrambling up a peak, I take only a very lightweight daypack with a map, a snack, water, and a jacket or long-sleeved shirt; I carry a camera as well (in a case, strapped to my neck).

I too think it's funny how all the news stories focused on the water filter -- as if this saved her life. She in fact was very lucky to find a creek that was flowing. It's very dry up there now.

I assume the S&R team debriefed the members of the Sierra Club outing group as part of the rescue efforts. So I'm surprised no news accounts have mentioned which route Miyuki's group took from Guest Lake (where they were base camped) to the summit of Blackcap Mountain and which route the other members used to return to camp. Did they straggle in near dusk? (Miyuki's letter mentions she left the group because she was concerned it was getting late and she wanted to get back to camp before it got dark.) The Sierra Club appears to have made a conscious decision not to share information about this incident with the news media. Do they feel liable?

Mike

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Re: Missing Hiker -- Sierra National Forest

Post by WarrenFork » Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:02 pm

Mike M. wrote:
Thank goodness for that teenager's good hearing!
My hearing for high frequencies is so shot from age that if I was on that SAR team I doubt I would have heard her whistle at all. As an old climbing buddy of mine said, it's both an illustration of the wisdom of always carrying a whistle in the backcountry and the desirability of having a youngish pair of ears amongst the searchers.

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