Mt Whitney Webcam
Mt Williamson Webcam
Who's Online Now
0 members (), 64 guests, and 7 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
Lost Whitney hiker
#377 10/28/09 08:21 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 372
D
DUG Offline OP
OP Offline
D
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 372
Four days is a long time to be out there. Has anyone heard anything? I know everyone hopes he tried to exit to the west, but having come that way from Minerial King and Kings Canyon, I know that isn't a piece of cake either..........................................DUG

Re: Lost Whitney hiker
DUG #379 10/28/09 09:10 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 279
Likes: 2
P
Offline
P
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 279
Likes: 2
I have been glued to my PC since the first posting. There has been a lot of information presented on the Whitney board about times, locations and equipment. I hope the info is helpful to the SAR team.

I have approached Whitney from the back side more than 25 times with a couple of trips occurring in early to mid November. I know the trail well enough to stay on it in snow, but having said that there are so many variables in this situation.

My first thought after Mike indicated that he saw Wade around 2pm about 2/3 the way up the switchbacks bothered me. Then today, there was a posting from someone seeing Wade near the crest around 3pm.

Several years ago, my daughter and I were camped at the trans. Between 4pm and 7pm it rained with cloud cover down the back side. Around 7:15 a woman came by and we chatted. I asked her where is she camped thinking she day hiked from the backside. She then proceeded to tell me that she is on her way out to the Portal. I gave her the bad news, but she refused to listen to me and said that she'd continue to the Crabtree ranger station. At the point we talked, it was only an 1 1/2 hours back to the junction. Why would you continue down? Well she did. So it happens.

Plus, if the gentleman continued and ended up in the dark, another reason for heading down the wrong way.

Dug, as I said on the Whitney board, I wish I was up there. I feel so useless sitting here.

paul

Re: Lost Whitney hiker
Paul #381 10/28/09 09:27 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,512
Likes: 103
S
Offline
S
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,512
Likes: 103
It's really tough sitting here watching it all unfold. It has now been three nights since his expected exit.

I'm ...expecting the worst. It sounds like the fellow had a bad case of summit fever -- forget Turnaround Time, full speed ahead.

That junction on the back side is missed SO many times. Paul's experience with the lost hiker is yet another case. Years ago on the wpsmb forum, I recall the case of a guy and his woman friend -- they took hours getting to the summit. The woman seemed to be struggling. But once at the top, she got a burst of energy and took off leaving man in the dust. She got to the junction and blew down the west side. She spent the night off trail near Hitchcock Lakes.

My post in wpsmb is still there where I wrote that Seki should erect a BIG stop sign just below the junction with words for all those lost hikers to see. I am sure it would prevent at least a few SARs. In fact, here it is...     A Search and Rescue Story


Re: Lost Whitney hiker
Steve C #387 10/28/09 11:51 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 660
Rod Offline
Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 660
It doesn't look good for a 73 old day hiker to be out 3 exposed and cold nights in the Sierras.

Steve that is a brilliant idea for the stop sign.

Last edited by Rod; 10/28/09 11:53 AM.
Re: Lost Whitney hiker
Rod #406 10/29/09 04:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 1
Offline
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,251
Likes: 1
A relative has posted on WPSMB that the wife is there in town.


Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII
Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
wagga #407 10/29/09 04:49 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,512
Likes: 103
S
Offline
S
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,512
Likes: 103
Thanks, Wagga. I contacted her, and was able to forward a list of motels and phone numbers to help locate Wade's wife and daughter-in-law.

Last edited by Steve C; 10/30/09 08:43 AM. Reason: subject change
Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
Steve C #422 10/30/09 04:20 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 742
K
Ken Offline
Offline
K
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 742
I'm now having a sense of dread. With better weather, I would think he would be quickly found, as, unless severely injured, he'd be out jumping around and signaling the aircraft that must be passing by where he is.

I am also disheartened by the helicoptor over Whitney, itself.
That means they are looking in couloirs and off-routes, and they would only tend to be doing that if they had exhausted other options.

I was given to some hope, because he was a seriously experienced guy, and should have survivor skills. I wonder if he had any experience in this area? That is not something that anyone has posted about. The logical place, Crabtree RS, is not the logical place if you don't know where it is, or if it is there. Is he anal about maps? Did he have a GPS? Did he have any hiking buddies that are themselves skilled, with whom he discussed this trip and know his hiking habits?

Just getting more complex.

Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
Ken #425 10/30/09 05:50 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 660
Rod Offline
Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 660
I find myself checking the board every 20 minutes or so hoping for good news although I have been fearing the worse for several days.I find it interesting that there are over 5200 views on the WPSMB on Wade's thread.

Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
Rod #427 10/30/09 06:44 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,261
Bee Offline
Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,261
5200 -- that's all? Whenever we post the three magic words on the Yosemite board: Half Dome--Cables--Rescue, in a matter of hours, there are 1500 views.

I won't elaborate .

B


The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
Rod #428 10/30/09 09:42 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 130
V
Offline
V
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 130
I see that the thread is now up to 5700 views and that Michelle, his daughter now in Lone Pine, has set up a blog. Two other daughters, Kathryn and Julie, are flying in from out of the country. Hopefully we will hear better news tomorrow.

Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
VersatileFred #429 10/30/09 10:41 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 742
K
Ken Offline
Offline
K
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 742
This on the families blog, terrible news, which I don't think they appreciate:
(post from the blog follows)
================================
The big news today is that they found Wade's pack and ice axe. They first spotted it from a helicopter, then were able to get to it on the ground. An initial search inside turned up his wallet with ID. The pack is now at the base on the other side of the mountain, and at the time that I spoke with the SAR team this afternoon, they didn't have an inventory of its contents. They found it at about noon, and were planning a search with dogs, I can't remember if that was started today or will start tomorrow. There are two dog teams.

The pack was clean and in good condition, and looked like it had been set on the ground, did not slide down the mountain.

The pack was found a bit off the switchback trail that goes down the west side of the mountain, so the concentration of the search tomorrow will be on the west side, though they will continue to search the east side in case he went back up and over the ridge.

Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
Ken #431 10/31/09 02:53 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 660
Rod Offline
Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 660
God Bless and Rest in Peace Wade.This is the moment I dreaded. To keep searching the board with a hopeful message of a miracle only to read the most likely senario for a 73 year old man missing for a week in the high Sierras.I keep wondering what we probably will never know is what was his survival after being lost like? How close was he to making it out alive? What possible events and circumstances could have made this come out OK other than not to have attempted it at all?This is such a sad day for the Whitney community.

Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
Rod #432 10/31/09 03:22 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,512
Likes: 103
S
Offline
S
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,512
Likes: 103
Sad to say, this was posted on wpsmb by "SEKI NPS" about 2:30 PM today:

Quote:
For Immediate Release, October 31, 2009
Contact: Adrienne Freeman, 559/565-3131

Missing Man Found Deceased After Multiple Day Search

73-year old Kenneth Wade Brunette was found deceased today at approximately 12:45 pm by searchers. He was found on the eastern slope of the mountain by a search dog team.

The search for Mr. Brunette began on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 after he failed to return from a day hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous United States. Search efforts were complicated by extremely windy, cold conditions during the early part of the week. Approximately 100 people, including dog teams and ground searchers, and four helicopters, participated in the search.

The cause of death is under investigation.

-NPS-


Rest in Peace, Wade Brunette.

Your passing feels like we lost a family member.

Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
Steve C #433 10/31/09 05:27 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 130
V
Offline
V
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 130
Sad news.

So I wonder what the report meant by "east side" when his pack was found on the west side. I guess we will hear more down the road.

Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
Steve C #434 10/31/09 05:28 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 660
Rod Offline
Offline
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 660
Originally Posted By: Steve C

Rest in Peace, Wade Brunette.

Your passing feels like we lost a family member.

It really does feel like we lost one of our own. The connection of Whitney and the drama that unfolded in front of us on the boards with the week long SAR made Wade one of our family.

Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
Rod #436 11/01/09 10:53 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,512
Likes: 103
S
Offline
S
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,512
Likes: 103
Wade's daughter Michelle has been keeping a blog regarding Wade's disappearance, recovery, and now the aftermath. Wade Brunette's life affected many people, and his passing has touched many more.

The blog is here: http://searchforwade.blogspot.com/

Re: Lost Whitney hiker: Wade Brunette
Steve C #508 11/04/09 10:03 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 742
K
Ken Offline
Offline
K
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 742
From a Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks news release:

Quote:
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Body Of Missing Hiker Found After Multi-Day Search

The search for hiker Kenneth "Wade" Brunett, which began on Tuesday, October 27th, after he failed to return from a day hike up Mt. Whitney, came to a conclusion this past Saturday when his body was found by searchers on the mountain's eastern slope.

The search was run jointly on both sides of the Sierra Nevada by the Inyo County Sheriff's Office and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, as the trail originates on the Inyo National Forest but the summit is in the park. Ground searchers and dog teams from Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks and numerous county teams participated in the search effort, along with helicopters from the National Park Service, California Highway Patrol, and the National Guard.

Extremely windy conditions grounded helicopters all day Tuesday and much of Wednesday, and ground searchers were unable to reach the summit due to inclement weather until Thursday. Brunette's pack and ice axe were located on Friday afternoon by the crew of a National Guard helicopter on the western slope of Mt. Whitney, and his body was discovered on the eastern slope on Saturday. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

[Submitted by Adrienne Freeman, Acting Public Affairs Specialist]


Re: Lost Whitney hiker
Steve C #671 11/08/09 07:18 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 595
Offline
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 595
Originally Posted By: Steve C
...That junction on the back side is missed SO many times.


I like your suggestion. A couple of years ago I came to that junction, lost in thought, and headed down (I was on my way to the summit). I'd done Whitney many times, but wasn't paying attention, and since the trail over from Trail Crest pitches down for awhile ... Anyway, it dawned on me when came to the first tentsite on the right (the one with the rock walls for windbreaks) that there weren't any tentsites along the trail.

I don't know that the sign has to be in red. If it were up to me, I'd post one about 50 yards down the trail towards Guitar Lake that says something like "This is NOT the Mt Whitney Trail. If that's your destination, go back uphill to junction and turn left" and make it visible to downhill hikers.

I'm partial to those steel signs with the lettering cut thru (laser?). They seem to last forever, and you never have to worry about the lettering wearing out. You can also give them a whack with a pole or ice axe if they're snowy/rime iced-up without damaging them.

Re: Lost Whitney hiker
KevinR #675 11/08/09 02:19 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,512
Likes: 103
S
Offline
S
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 8,512
Likes: 103
KevinR wrote:
> I like your suggestion...

Well then, I'll re-post my sign suggestion here:

STOP!

Read this!

If you are a Mt. Whitney day-hiker, then
YOU ARE LOST!

This trail does NOT go to Mt. Whitney.
It does NOT go to the Whitney Portal road.
This trail goes deep into the backcountry.

Turn around and go back to the junction
behind you!


Unfortunately, Seki people don't seem very enthusiastic about public suggestions. (You should have heard the response I got with my idea of placing a remote-reporting weather station at the summit hut. ...but I'll save that for another thread.)

Re: Lost Whitney hiker
Steve C #682 11/08/09 11:52 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 215
Offline
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 215
Steve,
Great sign. It's like some in Yosemite like at the top of Yosemite Falls. "Don't go in the water or you will die" They still do. Too much verbiage. It seems if a sigh has more that two words it doesn't get read. I would think three signs. One just on the spur trail to the peak "PEAK"
One just down toward the portal "YOUR CAR"
and one just on the JMT "PACIFIC OCEAN". A bit on the light side perhaps but it amazing how people won't read or heed anything with more than a few letters.


Mike
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

Link Copied to Clipboard
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4
(Release build 20200307)
Responsive Width:

PHP: 7.4.33 Page Time: 0.055s Queries: 55 (0.042s) Memory: 0.6798 MB (Peak: 0.8323 MB) Data Comp: Off Server Time: 2024-05-22 20:22:43 UTC
Valid HTML 5 and Valid CSS