Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

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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AlmostThere
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Re: INYO-SEKI SAR / Overdue Hiker Search in Progress Alt Thr

Post by AlmostThere » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:30 pm

rayfound wrote:
In the case of our missing compatriot, using the tracking feature would have allowed a much smaller search radius. None of this is to replace an itinerary, but rather to supplement.
For all we know, he was using the tracking feature. That too can fail, you know...

what would have definitely absolutely allowed a much smaller search radius would have been a reliable itinerary left behind... that he detailed alternates and any bailout routes he might use on, or perhaps just described the boundaries of where he would be.

Although -- even then, the search teams won't assume he stuck to that, necessarily. People do still make wacky decisions under the influence -- of drugs, of alcohol, of head injury.... A fairly good number of searches in my recollection featured substance use, in fact.








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maverick
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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by maverick » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:10 pm

Well, theoretically there is a crumb or track, which is the location from where Robert sent the "OK" after sunset, around 6:45 pm when presumably went to bed.

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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by rayfound » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:17 pm

Fair enough, he could have had a major issue right there near his Check-in, OK. We just don't know of any breadcrumbs on the SPOT track, seems he was not using the tracking while moving, from what I have seen. We just don't know if things got bad and forced him to move that night, or he awoke and triad to bail in the morning, or....? we just don't know.

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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by Jimr » Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:45 pm

Are the cross hairs his actual last know coordinates or just an approximation?
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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by AlmostThere » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:28 am

I know people think I'm paranoid about thinking that electronics are so prone to failure... it's just the way you think on a search. YOU DO NOT ASSUME. You don't look at something and say, in an investigation, that something "probably" happened and then start making decisions based on a probably. You follow protocol and you cover your bases. The fact that devices can be left somewhere, picked up and taken by other people (this has actually happened, someone left a device on a rock after setting it down to hopefully connect then forgot it and some other hiker found it, picked it up, started to try to use it, sending the family into absolute hysterics as they watched the track change wildly from expectations) or they can just malfunction makes the data from them less than absolutely reliable. They can be helpful and data is always better than no data, but they won't be taken as an absolute certainty/

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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by maverick » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:41 am

We just don't know if things got bad and forced him to move that night, or he awoke and triad to bail in the morning, or....? we just don't know.
Exactly, but we do know that neither Robert or his equipment were found at the location from where the "OK" was sent from, so we do know that he did move, just not when or where?
Are the cross hairs his actual last know coordinates or just an approximation?
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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: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by LAhiker » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:53 am

AlmostThere, that's true, but in the case of Mr. Woodie, I think the location of the SPOT "okay" was consistent with his plans. I read somewhere (not sure where and would love to have this confirmed) that Mr. Woodie planned to fish at Barrett Lakes on Saturday and Sunday morning, then hike out. On the Inyo County Sheriff's Facebook page, an angler said that the fishing in Lake 11523 at Barrett Lakes is better than it is in Dusy Basin.

I'm a bit curious about is why Mr. Woodie sent out the message when he did. If he sent out any other SPOT messages during his trip, we haven't been told about them. Was the Saturday message by prior arrangement/custom on four day trips (a message after being out several days and before turning towards home)? Was it to say "you may be hearing about some bad weather coming in, but I'm okay"? Or to say "Things are okay now, but it's getting colder and if something bad happens, this is where I was"? Of course, we may never know.
Last edited by LAhiker on Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by ironmike » Fri Oct 28, 2016 10:46 am

maverick wrote:
We just don't know if things got bad and forced him to move that night, or he awoke and triad to bail in the morning, or....? we just don't know.
Exactly, but we do know that neither Robert or his equipment were found at the location from where the"OK"was sent from, so we do know that he did move, just not when or where?
Are the cross hairs his actual last know coordinates or just an approximation?
Actual Jim.
"Actual" as in actual coordinates sent by Mr Woodie's SPOT device. Or did search teams (incl. dogs) actually find evidence of him camping at those coordinates?

Is it SAR protocol to attempt to find the last known habitation spot, and attempt to track the target's movement from there? Obviously subsequent weather may have largely obscured any available tracks.

Trying to put myself in his shoes, I'm not sure what I would have done that Sunday morning. As I've said before, I was exiting Blackcap at the time and had pretty solid rain Sat night and into Sunday. I was anxious to get out knowing that lower temps and snow might not be far behind, but not panicked, so I calmly and efficiently got out the normal route to Courtright. But would colder temps and a blanket of snow have affected my choices and state of mind? Likely, but hard to say how.

I know the SAR teams are working this extremely hard. Praying for some kind of closure for the families before winter sets in.

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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by maverick » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:11 pm

"Actual" as in actual coordinates sent by Mr Woodie's SPOT device. Or did search teams (incl. dogs) actually find evidence of him camping at those coordinates?
Coordinate sent by SPOT device.
Was the Saturday message by prior arrangement/custom on four day trips (a message after being out several days and before turning towards home)? Was it to say "you may be hearing about some bad weather coming in, but I'm okay"? Or to say "Things are okay now, but it's getting colder and if something bad happens, this is where I was"? Of course, we may never know.
There are quite a few unanswered question, that the family or friends, may be able to shed light on, this could narrow down the possible places he may have considered going based on the weather and his prior experiences.

- Has Robert ever been in a survival situation, similar to this one?
- Does he have snow camping experience?
- Was he aware of the series of storms coming in that weekend?
- Which areas in Dusy and Barrett Lakes Basin has Robert visited before?
- How many times a day did Robert usually check in with his SPOT?
- Did Robert ever use the track feature on his SPOT, has he ever used the SOS feature?
- Would he wait out inclement weather or brave through it?
- What time does Robert usually get up in the morning to start his hikes?
- What layers of clothing (layers), equipment, and survival gear did Robert take with himself?
- Does Robert have any survival training or wilderness first aid training?
- What's Roberts average trail and off-trail milage?
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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: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by rayfound » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:18 pm

I'm a bit curious about is why Mr. Woodie sent out the message when he did.
I'm not... an evening "Check-in/OK" is probably the most common use on a SPOT device, generally what I think Most SPOT users do when they make camp for the night. What's more curious is why there was no subsequent check ins - if I was to fathom a guess, he broke camp overnight or in the morning (maybe forced due to weather) and something happened that prevented him from using the SPOT device again.

My personal hunch is that he would have attempted to seek shelter at lower elevation overnight or in the morning, when forced by weather, following the basin outlet down towards palisades creek, trying to get below treeline... perhaps even planning to follow it all the way down to the JMT. That said, the terrain there looks challenging but not un-workable(looking at map resources)... exactly the kind of terrain that seems like a risk for slip/fall injuries. It also looks to be a route that has been traveled by the SAR teams, so I am at a loss.
Last edited by rayfound on Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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