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Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
tollermom #37709 06/20/14 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted By: tollermom
I am curious as well..if only to make sure I take extra precautions. Already I am telling myself GO LEFT, GO LEFT at the granite slabs when Mirror Lake comes into view!!! People keep telling me the trail is like a freeway, just follow the trail. You can't go wrong. Well, that is evidently not completely correct.


There are some spots above Mirror Lake where you might stop, pause and go OH there's the trail and move back onto it. With all respects, I also would be curious to see where he was found. It is somewhat haunting me that I hiked into and slept at outpost camp that Saturday night, and that after taking a day to summit, I spent that Monday morning fishing Mirror Lake.

Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
Joe the Hiker #37710 06/20/14 04:52 PM
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In the interest of future safety, I have asked Inyo SO if they could identify from the GE photo posted above which chute Mr. Likely was found in. I have not asked for the exact location of the remains, just the chute, to relate it to the trail where the dangerous section might be. I'll be glad to share whatever information they may provide. I think knowing the spot could be a fitting reminder.


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Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
tollermom #37711 06/20/14 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted By: tollermom
I am curious as well..if only to make sure I take extra precautions. Already I am telling myself GO LEFT, GO LEFT at the granite slabs when Mirror Lake comes into view!!! People keep telling me the trail is like a freeway, just follow the trail. You can't go wrong. Well, that is evidently not completely correct.


tollermom, it sounds like you're prepping for your first attempt of Whitney? Don't be overly concerned for your own hike due to this tragedy. We'll likely never know the circumstances that led to John's fall, but the Whitney Trail truly is like a freeway over most of the 11 miles. There are areas where a little extra caution is appropriate, but not that many. I think most of us focused on these slabs because of personal experience in losing the trail for a minute while descending. Much of the trail above timberline is granite that has been reworked into steps, staircases, paths and corridors, and is generally easy to follow if you're paying attention - or following the summer conga line.

However, in this section of the slabs above ML the trail can become faint, and does have a few sharp lefts that can be missed (again, descending - ascent is really not tricky). In daylight, no biggie - you realize you're on a slab that seems to be going nowhere (except progressively steeper downward) and you backtrack a bit till you pick the trail up again. In darkness or other limited visibility conditions, it can become more serious. Hypoxic difficulties can complicate the situation as well. Best advice - don't descend in the dark if you can avoid it. But remember, thousands upon thousands of people of all skill levels safely get up and down this mountain each year. Serious accidents are rare for the volume the trail carries - statistically near zero.

Study a Whitney trail map before your trip, carry the appropriate gear, pay attention to the trail, exercise due caution, and enjoy the experience.

Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
Bulldog34 #37715 06/20/14 06:12 PM
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I just heard back from Inyo SO, and they indicate they will get photo to SAR coordinators to try to pinpoint the critical locations for this SAR, with respect to the trail above Mirror. This could help alleviate the danger of this stretch. Check out the Inyo SO FB page. I'll keep the board posted on anything I learn.


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Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
saltydog #37716 06/20/14 06:41 PM
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I am deeply saddened by the news of Mr. Likely's passing. Although I never met him, I found myself checking this thread every couple of hours. The last two night I actually had trouble falling asleep because I was thinking about him, his family and his fellow hikers.

I have no idea about the politics involved in doing such a thing, but it seems that doing something as simple as lining the trail with rocks in this area would be helpful. Looking at the Google Earth image below, it looks like the area we have been discussing is only a 1/3 to 1/2 mile long.


I realize that the agencies involved are short on funding and man power, but I'm guessing they wouldn't have too much trouble finding volunteers to help. I can think of a half dozen people (including myself) that would be happy to donate some time.

Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
63ChevyII.com #37717 06/20/14 06:53 PM
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Here's another look at the chutes above Mirror Lake.


Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
Bulldog34 #37718 06/20/14 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted By: Bulldog34
Originally Posted By: tollermom
I am curious as well..if only to make sure I take extra precautions. Already I am telling myself GO LEFT, GO LEFT at the granite slabs when Mirror Lake comes into view!!! People keep telling me the trail is like a freeway, just follow the trail. You can't go wrong. Well, that is evidently not completely correct.


tollermom, it sounds like you're prepping for your first attempt of Whitney? Don't be overly concerned for your own hike due to this tragedy.
Study a Whitney trail map before your trip, carry the appropriate gear, pay attention to the trail, exercise due caution, and enjoy the experience.


Yes, I am prepping for a July 18 day hike. Some friends scoff at my preparations but I have read books, read forums, taken notes, talked to past hikers, make a day trip to the portal a couple weeks ago to hike up to Lone Pine lake during daylight hours, even used google earth to 'fly over' the Halfmile maps of the trail. I know this is one mountain to give much respect. The tragedy of Mr Likely punctuated that.

Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
tollermom #37719 06/20/14 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted By: tollermom
Yes, I am prepping for a July 18 day hike. Some friends scoff at my preparations but I have read books, read forums, taken notes, talked to past hikers, make a day trip to the portal a couple weeks ago to hike up to Lone Pine lake during daylight hours, even used google earth to 'fly over' the Halfmile maps of the trail. I know this is one mountain to give much respect. The tragedy of Mr Likely punctuated that.


Glad you're not listening to your friends. Whitney is a serious mountain that is often under-estimated because "you can simply walk to the top", without any scrambling or technical climbing. Every so often, though, a tragedy like John's provides a sobering realization that, yes, there can be very real dangers here, regardless of your skill level. Preparation is the majority of the battle to getting up and down safely. The rest is really just paying attention and using common sense.

Assuming you're conditioned, acclimated, and geared up properly, the biggest challenge you'll likely face in mid-July is weather. Expect anything and everything due to potential monsoon conditions that often come that time of year. Last year we were blown off a summit attempt the third week of July by some of the worst weather I've ever seen outside a hurricane or tornado - torrential rain, snow, hail, graupel, high winds, lightning, rockfall galore - it was mucho ugly. But I've also been up in mid-July when conditions were absolutely perfect and wore only stripped convertibles and a base tee on the summit.

This tragedy, as you said, punctuates a potential danger. Watch for those lefts descending to ML and you'll be fine.

Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
Bulldog34 #37720 06/20/14 08:01 PM
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tollermom,

Take one or two space blankets with you and make sur your fellow hikers have space blankets and headlamps and exta batteries. If you're coming down in the dark and feeling unsure about the trail stop immediately, sit down, wrap your space blanket around you and wait for the sun to come out so you can see where you are going. Gloves and a hat are lightweight and will help you stay warm.


Lynnaroo
Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
lynn-a-roo #37721 06/20/14 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted By: lynn-a-roo
tollermom,

Take one or two space blankets with you .

I have a SOL emergency bivy that packs the size of my fist. It'll be in my daypack along with my down jacket, gloves and beanie.

Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
Bob West #37729 06/21/14 07:51 AM
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I too have been following this story and hoping for a better outcome. So sad. My condolences go out to Mr. Likely's family and friends and pray that God will comfort them during this tragic time.

Re: Missing Whitney Hiker: recovered
tollermom #37732 06/21/14 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted By: tollermom
I have a SOL emergency bivy that packs the size of my fist. It'll be in my daypack along with my down jacket, gloves and beanie.


I don't want to derail this thread, but if you take down, take something to keep it dry:
http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/37400/From_sun_to_snow_in_5_hours#Post37400

As to the ramps, I've come up from the westside and down the east the last few years, so I haven't had the advantage of recollecting my ascent. As a result, I seem to always lose the trail (for a few moments) around the ramps.

Because I can travel moderate x-c, I tend not to get too worried and simply back-track, but in many ways, the ramps have the potential to be the most dangerous part of the trail.

Re: Missing Whitney Hiker
63ChevyII.com #37733 06/21/14 08:49 AM
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Volunteers are always welcome by SAR teams, but with the condition that they receive intensive training with the particular team, and not merely show up during an OP and offer help.

I recall having to turn down offers of help from on-the-spot volunteers, even on Whitney operations, because we did not know them or their training in search and rescue.

So, if you and others want to become SAR volunteers, the first step is to approach a local SAR team, applied for membership, and then attend their regular training sessions and meetings.

It can be a major commitment, involving the sacrifice of personal time, including giving up a lot of one's own recreational hiking when SAR duties demand. But the sacrifices are made up for with the satisfaction of helping others and often saving lives.

Last edited by Bob West; 06/21/14 08:50 AM.
Re: Missing Whitney Hiker: recovered
Bob West #37755 06/21/14 09:04 PM
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The family of Mr Likely has posted a thank you to SAR onto the Inyo County Sheriff's Facebook page.
Inyo County Sheriff's Facebook Page

Last edited by tollermom; 06/21/14 09:05 PM.
Re: Missing Whitney Hiker: recovered
tollermom #38072 06/28/14 01:57 AM
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I found a video and pictures posted by Inyo County Sheriffs Office (ICSO)and SAR members.

Here is a video from a Contra Costa SAR (CoCoSAR) member:


There is a curious blue dot on the map at 0:09 in the video. Here's a snagged picture (click for original size):


Here are several pictures posted on the ICSO Facebook page:








Re: Missing Whitney Hiker: recovered
Steve C #38074 06/28/14 07:58 AM
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This is some great material, Steve. Do we have a source who could also provide the exact location of the recovery? The blue dot is almost certainly not it. ICSO said they would look into it, but obviously hasn't provided it yet. It would sure tell us all a lot about the hazards and events behind this accident.

Last edited by saltydog; 06/28/14 08:09 AM.

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Re: Missing Whitney Hiker: recovered
saltydog #38075 06/28/14 08:35 AM
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That big ass tandem rotor is not your average pudknocker traffic helicopter.

Looks like a CH-47 Chinook. It can carry 30-40 people, equipment, dogs, lunch, and more (although maybe not at that altitude). I guess that is what was available at that time.

I can't make out the 309's tail symbol.



Last edited by Harvey Lankford; 06/28/14 08:36 AM.
Re: Missing Whitney Hiker: recovered
Harvey Lankford #38077 06/28/14 08:44 AM
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that chinook flew over my house when they were inbound and on their way to bishop airport for refuel. I believe it was the army national guard out of stockton.

Re: Missing Whitney Hiker: recovered
saltydog #38080 06/28/14 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted By: saltydog
This is some great material, Steve. Do we have a source who could also provide the exact location of the recovery? The blue dot is almost certainly not it. ICSO said they would look into it, but obviously hasn't provided it yet. It would sure tell us all a lot about the hazards and events behind this accident.

Also note the time the friends saw him near the cables: 1845. That was pretty late. Darkness was about an hour or more away.

at 1:08 video text says: A short time later, other hikers encountered Likely further down the trail, and later reported Likely appeared fatigued. @1:17 Continuing with him briefly, they told investigators he refused assistance and the hikers continued down ahead of Likely. @1:24 Their's was the last reported sighting of Mr. Likely.

If you match that blue dot with satellite images (Gmap4 link), you can see there is a pretty rugged chute there. But I agree that Likely would have had to traverse a more gentle drainage and get really high to fall into that chute.

Re: Missing Whitney Hiker: recovered
Cory Freeman #38081 06/28/14 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted By: Cory Freeman
that chinook flew over my house when they were inbound and on their way to bishop airport for refuel. I believe it was the army national guard out of stockton.

"aerial support throughout the last five days: California Highway Patrol H-82 out of Apple Valley, China Lake Naval Air Base out of Ridgecrest, Sequoia-Kings, and Army National Guard out of Stockton, California"

story and another Chinook picture in here Inyo register report



Last edited by Harvey Lankford; 06/28/14 10:23 AM.
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