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#37800 - 06/22/14 08:41 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: saltydog]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: saltydog
"So now you are saying that they actually knew where the body was, and were looking at it for 5 days? I mean, they actually looked at it and found the body, or they did not look at it, or did so in a cursory way, and missed the body?"

Seriously? Those are the only possibilities?


The other inference that puzzles me is: "I would never think twice about doing a solo summer ascent of Whitney. The concept that it is an unacceptable risk to experienced hikers seems bizarre to me." Where does THAT come from? I don't see any such concept in anything anyone has written on this forum.



Yes, there are only three possibilities: They saw him, they looked and didn't see him, they didn't look. Tell me another.

I think it was number 2...and I think that was generally the right thing to happen, because they should have been prioritizing finding him where he might be alive, not at the bottom of a chute.

Since you are repeating the "cliff" comment over and over, I must have stated that in error. Let me acknowledge that, so you don't have to keep repeating yourself,taking this even farther off the issue.

But to say that this is a "low probability, obscured area" is crazy. For example on the first day this was announced in this forum, it was posted:

"Late in the day, the pound down the switchers and ledges from the "last foxtail" to Mirror Lake has claimed (and hidden) its victims. That's where I would concentrate this search."

Who would have been so stupid as to advocate that??? Oh, it was YOU. So much for a bizarre, crazy area to search.

SteveC said: "It is easy to lose the trail, especially in the dark in that area."

So stop with the stupid idea business.

As for the concept of very experienced people separating during their day.....that is essentially simultaneous solo hikes. This has come in for a whole lot of criticism on this website. Over on the WPS website, a prominent >100 summit climber stated that he thought it was "abandonment" on the partner's part. Inasmuch as you posted in that thread specifically on the issue, I'd assume that you would know that this issue is in play.

"missed despite a highly competent look directly at this area."

Who is speculating NOW? So if he was the subject of a "highly competent look directly at this area", then there needs to be rethinking of this approach, in what YOU describe as the most likely area, and exactly where he was found...eventually.

You correctly identified where his body was located within about 3 hours of the original post. I think that was sharp thinking, based upon knowledge of the mountain and the information presented.

We'll need to see the report as to whether they rapped the chutes in the area, or just took a more careful look via air.

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#37816 - 06/23/14 08:09 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Ken]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Sigh. Ok, Ken let's wait and see what further info comes out. If you would then like to continue based on what I have actually been saying, without the distortions, lemme know.
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Wherever you go, there you are.
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#37818 - 06/23/14 09:17 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Ken]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Vote...Who cares about a vote of forum members. I did not realize there was an official vote by forum members. Everyone has area on this trail they feel to be dangerous...most believe it to be at the cables and windows based on questions asked at this and other forums, not this area.

The advocacy to protect people based on one experienced person making a mistake in this area. I do not understand. I cited the Michelle Yu walking off the back side of Mt. Baldy. If you are going to do it here...why not everywhere you perceive danger on any of out urbanized trails like the MMWT. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

I don't know if a this place is all that more dangerous than other spots on this trail. We do not know why Mr. Lively ended up at the bottom of that chute, and neither do you. Also, your solution offers not guarantees. It cannot. Just as putting a similar set of boulders on the north side of Mt. Baldy would have saved Ms Yu that December morning a few years ago when visibility was marginal.

I have never had a problem figuring out north/south from west at Lower Trail Crest. And always knew to get to Mt. Whitney from Trail Crest you had to get from 13,600' to 14,505'. That does not include long periods of descent. People will continue to visit Guitar Lake on their way to Mt. Whitney no matter what kind of sign you put up. Most figure it out rapidly and do not end up at Guitar Lake or the seasonal ranger station at Upper Crabtree Meadow.

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#37819 - 06/23/14 09:31 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Bee]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Bee...Did you ever think there is not a solution and there is not be problem?

185 MMWT permits per day, 155 days of quota season...and this does not include those with permits outside the Inyo or day hikers to the Whitney Zone Boundary. Potentially 30,000 people. How many people die here during quota season a year 1 or 2...3 in a bad year?

Personally, I find 38 people with rented crampons on the chute in May to be more dangerous than this area during the summer, like there was one day this year. Yet, not one is advocating having a test of winter skills before can conquer the chute.

People are going to do what they want to do not manner what barriers you put up.

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#37824 - 06/23/14 10:16 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: wbtravis]
Chicagocwright Offline


Registered: 09/05/12
Posts: 172
Loc: Alaska
Side question: Why are the windows considered dangerous?

I think I recall you had to climb up to get a view out of the windows. But they could easily just be walked by with no danger at all. Am I missing something?

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#37826 - 06/23/14 11:04 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: wbtravis]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Vote...Who cares about a vote of forum members. I did not realize there was an official vote by forum members. Everyone has area on this trail they feel to be dangerous...most believe it to be at the cables and windows based on questions asked at this and other forums, not this area.



And yet....when the search began, virtually everyone noted this exact place where he was found. Not the cables, not the windows.

there were pictures of the chutes involved, no pictures of cables or windows.

I'm amused that you state that there is no formal vote (I was expressing an observation of what was posted), and then you proceed to post your "formal vote" of the cables and the windows.

NO ONE mentioned those on this SAR.....weren't you paying attention?

Originally Posted By: wbtravis
The advocacy to protect people based on one experienced person making a mistake in this area. I do not understand. I cited the Michelle Yu walking off the back side of Mt. Baldy. If you are going to do it here...why not everywhere you perceive danger on any of out urbanized trails like the MMWT. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot.


No, I think there should be limits. Let's start with trails with 10,000 people a year, to start, where there have been multiple accidents. And lets make them site specific. Your "one size fits all" absurdity of putting rocks everywhere, even when no one considers them the right thing to do, is the kind of "gov't think" that has ruined this country.

Unlike yourself, I have actually talked to the Rangers about Baldy and the north slope. You seem to have forgotten the Russian who is still up there.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

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#37827 - 06/23/14 11:05 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: wbtravis]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Bee...Did you ever think there is not a solution and there is not be problem?

185 MMWT permits per day, 155 days of quota season...and this does not include those with permits outside the Inyo or day hikers to the Whitney Zone Boundary. Potentially 30,000 people. How many people die here during quota season a year 1 or 2...3 in a bad year?

Personally, I find 38 people with rented crampons on the chute in May to be more dangerous than this area during the summer, like there was one day this year. Yet, not one is advocating having a test of winter skills before can conquer the chute.

People are going to do what they want to do not manner what barriers you put up.


Ah, the "they are just collateral damage" argument against doing anything to avoid civilian deaths.

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#37828 - 06/23/14 11:10 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Chicagocwright]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: Chicagocwright
Side question: Why are the windows considered dangerous?

I think I recall you had to climb up to get a view out of the windows. But they could easily just be walked by with no danger at all. Am I missing something?


There are descriptions of the windows that are very frightening to people who have problems with heights or edges....at least in the abstract when they read about them. They visualize getting blown down to Lone Pine.

There are some windows that are right on the trail, and the *thought* of that is just terrifying to people with these concerns.

Of course, the reality is quite different, and most people who actually walk past on the trails say "what was the big deal"??

I got the question so often in my Whitney talks, I finally incorporated a slide to address the issue.

But there is a truth to the danger, and that is that rarely, a person befuddled by medical issues thinks that is the route down, and attempts to go that way (through the window), with tragic results. (Of course, we don't actually know what happened, but there have been situations involving very experienced hikers who ended up at the bottom of one of those chutes. No way they got there accidentally). The trail through the talus is so clear on the backside, and the windows are so obviously not a route, it's hard for me to believe they accidentally make that choice with a clear head.

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#37835 - 06/23/14 02:06 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Ken]
2Old4This Offline


Registered: 05/27/14
Posts: 51
Loc: Northern California
Lol, I'm one of those people with a fear of the Windows. At least there were a few spots where I thought , "gulp, that's a long way down." I like to say I have a fear of falling, not heights. For instance I have no idea what the big deal is about the Cables. I could see the worry there if there were no cables - believe me, that's coming -but with the cables I don't see the big deal. We all have something that bothers us, does that mean all of those fears should be addressed? No, that's part of the challenge in hiking. Without it the accomplishment would be reduced. If the challenge us too much for you, you find something else. I for instance will never climb El Capitan, and I'm fine with that.

Back to the point at hand, I don't see the danger above Lake Helen. You can't prevent people from making poor decisions when tired. Anyone who accidentally walks off that ledge is really out of it, and their mistake was starting out on the hike in the first place, not missing the trail. How can we reasonably prevent that?

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#37843 - 06/23/14 04:26 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: wbtravis]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Bee...Did you ever think there is not a solution and there is not be problem?

185 MMWT permits per day, 155 days of quota season...and this does not include those with permits outside the Inyo or day hikers to the Whitney Zone Boundary. Potentially 30,000 people. How many people die here during quota season a year 1 or 2...3 in a bad year?


I may be obtuse, but what is your message/question in this part of the statement?

"1,2 or 3 (deaths)in a bad year?"

Totally "acceptable" ratio per captita?

As discussed -- at length -- the area in question (above) Mirror Lake seems to give many folks more than the usual amount of trail issues (meaning that I do not advocate signs everywhere). Are these people all stupid? Should they all be considered as disposable?

Call me silly -- or stupid if you like -- but if just one person can be saved with a small sign, I would consider it well worth the effort
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37845 - 06/23/14 05:02 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: saltydog]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Sigh. Ok, Ken let's wait and see what further info comes out. If you would then like to continue based on what I have actually been saying, without the distortions, lemme know.


Salty, I must be hallucinating, but when I see you write:

"Probably on 90% of the MWMT, some form of prudent HYOH-and-meet up would do, but there are sections - and the rock above Mirror is one - where having each others back can make a big difference especially descending late in the day. Windows and ledges on the crest is another such stretch. I hiked the JMT solo last year, and in 221 miles there were two places where I was seriously concerned that the trail was not clear enough: in the jumble on the south side of Muir Pass and above Mirror Lake. Had minor backtracking to do in a bunch of other places, but these two stand out."

I am purplexed as to why you are resistant to giving a good look at the Mirror Lake ridge segment.

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#37847 - 06/23/14 05:21 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Ken]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I am even more perplexed as to why you think I am perplexed or resistant. That's what I mean by distortions.

Well that's not strictly true, either. I am not really perplexed, I think I understand the distortions.
_________________________
Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!

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#37849 - 06/23/14 05:31 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Bee]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Bee,

You seem to be stuck on the stupid word...does foolish work better for you?

Do I find one to three death here acceptable?. All things considered, I find it acceptable when you consider who comes to Mt. Whitney. People who rent crampons and ice axe to climb the chute, people who do not train properly, who are unwilling to turn around when an alien is trying to crawl out of their right eye, they have not been able to eat since Trailside Meadow but continue to climb, refuse to carry enough clothing, refuse to carry the 10 essentials, refuse to study a map, refuse to carry enough water for the Trail Camp to Trail Camp round trip and walk into lightning storms to summit. Do I like the fact that people die here? No but the will continue to do so.

Let's see, there are numerous websites, message boards, facebook groups, trip reports galore and then there is the patio cover with all it graphics about what and does go wrong on this mountain...yet people die here every year and will continue die here because few listen when you tell them what is obvious to you and me. The accident remain the same, only the names change.

They put a sign at LeConte Falls in Yosemite...something along the lines of the granite is polished from the river water do not venture out...there were a bunch of people out on the granite to get better pictures...there are others. Mt. Baden-Powell has its danger sign but people go up it every winter, who are clueless and end up with a free helicopter ride.

Another sign will make some feel good but it will accomplish next to nothing. We have signs here...what have they accomplished?

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#37851 - 06/23/14 05:42 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Ken]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Ken

Ah, the "they are just collateral damage" argument against doing anything to avoid civilian deaths.


We don't know why he died...do we? Not a stinking clue but you have a solution. We will put some rocks up and maybe a sign. People will ignore the sign...just as they have ignored all signs on patio cover and they will most likely stand on the rocks to take pictures.

Prove to me how your solution will save anyone.

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#37852 - 06/23/14 05:49 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: wbtravis]
Marle Offline


Registered: 06/19/14
Posts: 7
Loc: Tahoe
I'm sure glad this thread was started away from the thread about John Likely's disappearance.

We don't yet know what exactly happened to him, but he was certainly experienced, fit enough to summit, and had companions who did attempt to look out for him, even though they didn't walk the trails hand-in-hand.

Some of the attitudes posted here are really arrogant and insensitive. Not everyone who gets into trouble is a naive, underprepared newbie.

I think it's only decent to recognize the difficulty of this part of the trail and pose some reasonable solutions to point out this particular hazard.

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#37857 - 06/23/14 06:49 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Marle]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7908
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Some of the attitudes posted here are really arrogant and insensitive. Not everyone who gets into trouble is a naive, underprepared newbie.

like! +1

I think it's only decent to recognize the difficulty of this part of the trail and pose some reasonable solutions to point out this particular hazard.

like! like! +2

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#37859 - 06/23/14 07:01 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: wbtravis]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: wbtravis


Do I find one to three death here acceptable?. All things considered, I find it acceptable when you consider who comes to Mt. Whitney.


Thank you for the clarification.
_________________________
The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#37871 - 06/23/14 11:44 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Bee]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
This picture may be helpful.



Found at The Daily News
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Verum audaces non gerunt indusia alba. - Ipsi dixit MCMLXXII

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#37872 - 06/24/14 12:39 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: wagga]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Picture very helpful. So was the article.

So he fell 50 feet INTO a steep chute. That sounds like he went off into space for 50 feet, off of something and into nothing....sort of like....a cliff.

Wow, now I have to guarantee results. That's a high hurdle.

I don't think a sign is the way to go, but I think a little delineation of trail path would be reasonable. I know I've only spent 12 years building trails on forests, but it seems that this is a common remedy for such situations that I've had to do, what, 100 times? So I think it is likely to work.

In my regular line of work, if I had to wait for certainty to do things, I'd have a lot of blood on my hands.

Guarantee? Sure, I'll give a guarantee. If it doesn't work, you can cut the pay I get for the thousand or so hours of volunteer work I've done on trails, in half.

I'd start with a site assessment, including considerable observation of hikers making their way down. Generally, I'd consider using the techniques discussed in the official Trail Notebook, starting on page 128:

USDA Forest Service Trail Maintenance Notebook

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#37873 - 06/24/14 12:43 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: wagga]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
BTW, I can't help but wonder where this chute is in comparison to the Rockwell "shortcut" in this area. I've never taken it, but I'd guess it was behind the pine tree, and guy with the colored helmet somewhere. Wouldn't want to do that in the dark for the first time.

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