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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rlown
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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by rlown » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:29 pm

I seriously doubt they're putting helos in the air today or until after the storm clears, which will be a few days: http://bishopweather.com/








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maverick
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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by maverick » Fri Oct 28, 2016 12:49 pm

It also looks to be a route that has been traveled by the SAR teams, so I am at a loss.
It is easy to miss someone, Larry was at the top of Taboose Pass, but SEKI and Inyo missed him, and it wasn't until next spring that they found him.
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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 1:14 pm

Good point Mav.

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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by LAhiker » Fri Oct 28, 2016 1:25 pm

Just to clarify, I wasn't wondering why he sent a SPOT message before (probably) making camp on Saturday. I was speculating about why he might have sent one on Saturday but not (apparently) on Thursday or Friday. (Unless we just haven't heard about SPOT messages he sent earlier during his trip.)

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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by Steve_C » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:01 pm

rayfound wrote:
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.
For Spot owners: Why in the world would you pay the $150 per year subscription, and only send one or two signals a day? I can use tracking all day for maybe 10 days on one set of batteries. That's about a dollar a day in cost. ...and you spend how much on getting out there on a trip? It just seems contradictory to own and carry such a unit, but not use it regularly. And then, in the off chance that something foul occurs, as in Bob W's case, a having a track would save tons of others' time and expense.

I'm really sorry that Bob hasn't been found. Terribly sorry for his family and friends. ...I am thinking along the same lines as rayfound: broke camp at night. But what if there was whiteout conditions. One could head in almost any direction without a good map and compass or better tools.

R.I.P, Bob W. :(

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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by oldranger » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:48 am

Why in the world would you pay the $150 per year subscription, and only send one or two signals a day? I can use tracking all day for maybe 10 days on one set of batteries.
Just not in my DNA. My wife is happy with 1 report per day (the only reason I carry a spot). Have no desire to be "tracked" just so someone can find my body. And that saves me $50 per year(actually the money has nothing to do with it, spend more going out to dinner!) which I then use to apply to the extra cost of the towing request function of the spot which is much more likely to be of benefit because many places I travel in eastern oregon have no cell service.

As an old fart with nearly 60 years of backpacking I realize that I could be immobilized by an accident on a trail (or in my house) but being conservative in when I go--late season must end by Oct 15, good weather projection, late season no passes to go over to get out, careful in route decisions when off trail are my ways of minimizing risk. Limiting my electronics now a days to headlamp, cell phone (if alternate emergency exit required and I will not end up at my car, and spot. No GPS, no head phones, no built in lights in my tent.
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: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by Hobbes » Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:10 am

Backpacking solo is inherently selfish; actually, for us married folks, it's a wonder our spouses are seemingly (or appear to be) unperturbed. I mean, if you reverse the situation, imagine for a moment your SO off doing something (latently dangerous) by themselves for a number of days: how well would that sit with you?

So, in that context, the breadcrumb tracking feature allows them to "follow along". Since I plan my trips far in advance (scheming all winter long), by the time I leave, my wife is probably sick of hearing about it. But, once I'm on trail and she can follow my progress plotted on a topo map, it allows her to see the entire hike in a different perspective. (I always keep it on while I drive home as well, so she knows exactly when I'll walk through the door.)

Besides standard, canned pre-set messages (eg I'm heading out now for the day - I'll send you an update later. Make sure to follow my tracks @ https://share.delorme.com/Hobbes ), with the mini-keyboard of the DeLorme, I can (slowly) type up custom messages describing how nice it is so that she can semi-experience it through my eyes. Plus, since the DL is 2-way, she can send me messages; for instance, something small & personal like she went to lunch with our son, etc.

One of the features of the DL is that you can turn off certain automatic processes, such as logging and open listening (for inbound messages), to extend battery life/utilization. I must say, from firsthand experience, it's quite a kick to manually ping the satellite and get a little inbound message icon. It really is like the old "you've got mail" sensation. I usually send a request in the afternoon to get an updated weather report as well, so typically I have a few messages to read through while sitting on a rock.

PS I didn't know about the Spot fixed pricing. The DL has a "Freedom" package that is $35/mo that can be renewed/unsubscribed at will. I renew each spring and (re)cancel by Sept.

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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by gdurkee » Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:33 pm

Campers: Hi. I keep meaning to do a write up on this SAR or, generally, on SAR tactics and workflow. I started it -- really! -- but failed to finish. Maybe I'll get amped up again. But a few notes after reading this thread:

I agree with Steve and others that it's not out of line to require or, at the very least, make available and InReach or other tracking device after October 20th or so for solo hikers. Fall searches are very common for solo hikers; are usually weather related; and are hugely expensive. Steve's right that for the cost of this one an entire cache of InReach's and message plans could have been bought for every single hiker in the country who travel after those dates. The SAR folks in Oregon who object that people would take more chances are just wrong. That's kinda absurd and I've seen no evidence to support that. Also, the agreement should be that the trip wouldn't be monitored, just that tracks would be checked if overdue. I think they are required on Mt. Hood in winter.

As noted, the guy here had a SPOT but used it only once for that location marker at Barrett Lakes on Saturday evening. He did not have it in tracking mode.

I hadn't noticed that paragraph in the Sequoia Wilderness plan but it really doesn't preclude making them available. As a side note, my former supervisor takes a yearly solo xc backpack in the fall and always has her spot in tracking mode with login given to two people. She's run hundreds of SARs and knows both what can go wrong while hiking and how hard it is to find someone. Although I understand the purist wilderness aspect of not carrying one, in my old age and after dozens of Fall SARs myself, have to say (and with forelock tugging respect to my colleague OldRanger and others here): it's not just about you. It's about your family and the dozens +, helicopters, & etc. who are going to be looking for you if something goes wrong. That said, though, a 2X daily check in is pretty good and does go a long way to narrowing a search area. All of the field people (rangers & researches) in Sequoia Kings now carry them and set to tracking mode (something I wouldn't have wanted in my youth, but there you go...).

Onward: weather Sunday (when he was due to do out) was horrendous. Wind gusts on Mammoth Peak exceeded 100mph most of the day. That's extreme but I wouldn't be surprised if Dusy Basin had sustained winds exceeding 50mph and blowing snow. I've been in Dusy in whiteout conditions and it's really easy to get lost. In fact, a group of us on a snow survey -- each of us had been over Bishop Pass maybe 100 times or more -- did just that. Got lost in a whiteout. A really unpleasant day. We were well dressed for winter conditions. Someone in light hiking clothes would not survive long and deterioration can be so quick they wouldn't know they're in trouble to activate the SPOT emergency signal. His son just wrote an account here, confirming that he wasn't that well dressed: http://www.easyreadernews.com/141190/bo ... -for-pops/

That's another thing I've noticed about Fall searches is that many people don't seem that well prepared which is way more important than a satellite gizmo. After about September 20th or so, I'd recommend much heavier cold weather and storm gear. After October 15th, you want to have full winter gear; be religious about checking the long range forecast; and plan your trip such that you have places to bail out quickly if necessary.

Maverick's done a great job with his travel itinerary form and there's some hope he can be the point person for information on SARs to social media. We got pretty good information from backcountry users on the last two about conditions at the time; people who talked to the missing individual or their party; & etc. I'll add that when these things come up, it's not just if you've seen someone who's missing, but information about being in the area and NOT seeing him can also help eliminate terrain.

OK. Happy hiking all!

George

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rlown
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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by rlown » Sun Dec 11, 2016 12:40 pm

A pretty good write-up, George. I'd still reiterate that solo after a certain point in the Fall isn't a really good idea, regardless of the form filled out or not. SAR would be limited on search when the weather turns bad. Electronics don't save you at that point. Agree completely with good planning for appropriate clothing.

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Re: Unofficial Search Discussion Thread

Post by maverick » Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:33 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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