Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

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oldranger
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Post by oldranger » Tue Nov 24, 2015 4:59 pm

This is really sad, the cause caught me totally by surprise,
Myers' body was located on Saturday and the Inyo County Coroner's Office confirmed on Monday that he was killed in an avalanche.
With so little snow I didn't even consider an avalanche as a possibility. On reflection with reports of 70 mph winds that weekend a cornice could have easily built up, broken off, then gathered and pulled downhill the few inches of snow on the ground. Never again will I discount the possibility of avalanches after just a few inches of the first snow of the season!

Mike


Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!






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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Post by whatmeworry » Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:40 pm

oldranger wrote:This is really sad, the cause caught me totally by surprise,
Myers' body was located on Saturday and the Inyo County Coroner's Office confirmed on Monday that he was killed in an avalanche.
With so little snow I didn't even consider an avalanche as a possibility. On reflection with reports of 70 mph winds that weekend a cornice could have easily built up, broken off, then gathered and pulled downhill the few inches of snow on the ground. Never again will I discount the possibility of avalanches after just a few inches of the first snow of the season!

Mike
.
While cornices may be one of the obvious signs of danger it is the subtle wind loading of slopes that create significant areas of risk that are easy to miss. The wind can move a lot of snow to create areas of deep unstable snow. If you travel in the mountains during the winter you should understand the key factors associated with weather, snowfall and topography that influence avalanche risk. Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain by Bruce Tremper is a good intro. Mountaineering Freedom of the Hills also hits on the basics. If you are a serious winter traveler take an AIARE class.

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Beantown
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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Post by Beantown » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:21 am

Wind loading and weather contribute to conditions for avys and on terrain that can produce them. You don't need much snow.

I took avy1 last year and the book we used is snow sense. It's really good.

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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Post by gdurkee » Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:03 pm

Yes. I second the recommendations to study and be aware of snow avalanches. It's actually rare they're triggered by a cornice, though that would be one indication of a wind loaded slope. The wind drives the snow over a ridge and the downdraft compacts it in the zone below the ridge. You get both increased deposition (vs. whatever the storm is dumping) and a denser layer formed. If that dense layer is on top of a weaker layer and the slope is sufficient, it can release. When travelling, keep an eye out for other releases and fracture lines; also sudden "whumps" of snow slabs settling. Bad sign. Very bad sign... . Doesn't take much deposition to slide and bury a person.

Early season avalanches are not uncommon especially because there are sometimes people out without the training and awareness, considering them "only" a winter phenomenon.

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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Post by maverick » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:09 pm

Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Post by rlown » Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:52 pm

Even if he had a second and didn't read the chute correctly, there'd be more gone. RIP.

Nice job SAR!

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Re: Missing 25-year-old hiker in Russell/Whitney area

Post by maverick » Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:43 am

Michael's mom is reaching out to the outdoor community with the following request:
We are certain some of Michael's equipment is still up above Meysan Lake where he was found--lost during the avalanche. I'd like to get messages posted so that anyone hiking and climbing in the area once the snow is pretty much gone, should they come across any of his items, to please take it to the Sheriff's Office in Lone Pine.

I'm going to see if I can post something at High Sierra Topix, too.

We are certain the following were lost: Ice axe: Black Diamond Raven 70 cm, a Go Pro camera, silver, Garmin GPSMap 62s, and white framed Julbo Camel sunglasses.

Thank you so very much for any help or suggestions on how we can get this information out.

Sheriff's office in Lone Pine: 726 N Main St, Lone Pine, CA 93545 Phone:(760) 876-5606
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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