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#37950 - 06/25/14 08:51 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Jim Means]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 671
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Jim Means


Here's my attempt at this in Google Earth, red line showing approximate photo line of sight:


That red line passes close to the area that I marked with a red X in the last series of screenshots.

I was unsure if there was a steep chute though looking at a topo map and I'm not familiar enough with the area to know what's there.

Here's another view using your red line and assuming that hard right turn was missed and someone continued walking:

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#37952 - 06/25/14 09:31 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com

Now, my question is, going into the hike and knowing there's a 75% or greater chance that JP will turn around at Trail Camp...

What would the perception be if he descended alone and something happened to him. Would we be accused of abandoning him or being irresponsible?
Under what circumstances should someone descend with him? There are obvious circumstances (vomiting, mountaineer's foot, etc). But what if he says, 'I have a bad headache?' What if we make it to Trailside Meadow and he decides to turn around b/c the 'AMS headache' hits earlier and harder than normal?


You and your partner JP most likely will have talked about where he is going to turn around. If at the time of turn around he says I would like you to go back with me...you go back. If the says go ahead you go ahead. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our decisions.

When I am by myself, I throttle back what I will attempt. If my written at home itinerary says directly to Mt. Whitney and back...I will not do a side trip to Mt. Muir, etc. I limit myself to trails and off trail things I have done before.

Also, knowing I will be without a partner for mutual assistance, there will be no short cutting clothing, gear or food. This makes for a heavier pack.

As for perception, who cares. That is between you and JP, not you and the comment writers at the Los Angeles Times or your local paper. Most them don't know a hiking trail from the I-405.

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#37961 - 06/25/14 12:13 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Don't want to start an argument with ChevyII, because he has done some really nice work on this. But the red x is on the scree slope in the couloir well to the NW and below the rescue site and the sharp right switcher. In this later pic, though, the yellow map pin I think is right on: exactly where this hike probably went wrong, to the NE and above the switcher, and almost on the red line. Now that we have a better idea of the critical point, I wonder if there are experiences of others losing the trail in this section.
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#37966 - 06/25/14 12:42 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: saltydog]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 671
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Don't want to start an argument with ChevyII, because he has done some really nice work on this. But the red x is on the scree slope in the couloir well to the NW and below the rescue site and the sharp right switcher. In this later pic, though, the yellow map pin I think is right on: exactly where this hike probably went wrong, to the NE and above the switcher, and almost on the red line. Now that we have a better idea of the critical point, I wonder if there are experiences of others losing the trail in this section.


No worries, nothing to argue about! I agree with what you've said. If this is the area where things went wrong, it all seems to make more sense to me.

I could be thinking of a different spot, but if you missed that hard right turn (assuming you're headed down), I believe that there is a path in this area, leading out towards a dropoff. I've missed that turn in the past as well as walked out there to take pics around sunrise.
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#37969 - 06/25/14 01:05 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Dave F Offline


Registered: 06/24/14
Posts: 17
Loc: Northern California
"I could be thinking of a different spot, but if you missed that hard right turn (assuming you're headed down), I believe that there is a path in this area, leading out towards a dropoff. I've missed that turn in the past as well as walked out there to take pics around sunrise."

This sped-up youtube video (no commercial for me) shows the area in question - at least in the uphill direction.

Whitney Video

I'm pretty sure the hard-right occurs at roughly 22:20 in the video. It's not easy to see the perspective of a downhill traveler, but at least in the daylight the trail seems reasonably well defined for an uphill traveler. I've seen suggestions here that rocks could be used to better mark the trail. Watching the video makes me realize how difficult it might be to use rocks to "better define" unclear areas that are so rocky to begin with.

I'm a newbie here, so if I didn't link the url properly, the youtube address is:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ivibvFeuFA



Edited by Dave F (06/25/14 01:08 PM)

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#37970 - 06/25/14 01:39 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Dave F]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 671
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: Dave F


Great idea Dave (using the video). I think the area we're talking about is here( 22:53-22:59). At 22:50 you see a large rock. I believe I've passed that rock with it on my right instead of my left when descending.


Here's another GE image. I tried approximate Jim Mean's placement of the red line and my previous placement of the yellow pin. The green line is my track from when I missed the turn in 2012.
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#37973 - 06/25/14 02:18 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Dave F]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Also look at 22:50-55 and you will see another sharp turn with a clear gap in the rock border. I think this is the spot Chevy shows he got off the trail, or the little jiggle just above it.
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#37974 - 06/25/14 02:20 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: saltydog]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 671
Loc: Colton, California
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Also look at 22:50-55 and you will see another sharp turn with a clear gap in the rock border. I think this is the spot Chevy shows he got off the trail, or the little jiggle just above it.

I'm fairly certain that's the spot, behind the boulder at 22:53.
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#37975 - 06/25/14 03:46 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Also look at 22:50-55 and you will see another sharp turn with a clear gap in the rock border. I think this is the spot Chevy shows he got off the trail, or the little jiggle just above it.

I'm fairly certain that's the spot, behind the boulder at 22:53.


Yep: looks like an invitation to wander. Easy fix.
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#37978 - 06/25/14 04:30 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: saltydog]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1255
Loc: Atlanta
I'm thinking this almost certainly had to be in the dark if it was an off-route accident, but that would put it later in the evening this time of year. I have a hard time imagining a hiker with John's experience just wandering off a snowless trail in daylight and falling down a chute. Of course, possible AMS and exhaustion are two factors that can complicate the equation, but again I keep going back to his experience level. Thirty years hiking. Sixth trip up Whitney. The guy was no noob - he knew what he was doing on a mountain or a trail.

Unless the group got an egregiously late start from Outpost, or a similarly late departure from the summit, I have difficulty digesting a scenario that would have John in this area after nightfall. Assuming you're leaving the summit at, say, 1:00, and moving down at an absolute snail's pace of 1 mph, you'd still be here at around 7:00. It wouldn't begin to dusk until about 8:30, right? Full dark around 9:00? Add in the fact that nobody on the trail that day reported noticing him between TC and OC - and a hiker in trouble usually will draw some attention - and it still mystifies me. I haven't seen a time of day listed in any article for when his group saw him at the cables - that would be a nice fact to have while we're speculating. Which is, of course, what we're doing.

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#37981 - 06/25/14 06:19 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Bulldog34]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Bulldog:

I know: its a tough one, isn't it? I think we could use a lot more information in order to draw real lessons from this.
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#37989 - 06/25/14 08:09 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Bulldog34]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
He was wearing shorts, was alone, and dark was probably falling by the time he hit the area.

I imagine, for myself, being cold, tired and/or exhausted, maybe somewhat dehydrated after a long day, and alone, and possibly feeling rushed (to join friends? to get down before dark? to get warm? just to end the tedium?). I question the kind of decisions I might make, and the actions I might take, in that situation. I hope I'd have a bivvy sack and headlight with me, so that I'd at least have the option of taking a nap, if I needed one. And the clarity of thought to make good decisions viz whether to rest or push on.

I cannot speculate beyond my own weakness, strengths, experience, skills, equipment, and judgment, to extrapolate what occurred with this gentleman. We don't know this gentleman. We do not know what he had in his day pack. We do not know his friends. We just know that this is a very sad story with a tragic end.




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#38013 - 06/26/14 09:45 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Akichow]
wbtravis Offline


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

I always stop at Trailside Meadow on the way down. I take my boots off put my feet in the water, eat and dunk my head. This does wonders. I am refreshed for 2nd half of the trip down.

My position here has been we do not know jack about what happened to Mr. Lively. He could have tripped or slipped, he could have stroked out or had a heart attack...my guess is if the latter is the case, we will not see it in the papers or on the news.

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#38023 - 06/26/14 01:47 PM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: wbtravis]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
I have the same routine. Trailside Meadow is a beautiful place to recharge.

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#38037 - 06/27/14 07:32 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Akichow]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Here's another locator alarm case to banter about from yesterday. A solo hiker hit the Spot button because she was lost for 24hrs while doing what seems to be an off-trail traverse. As usual, the details are sketchy, but it's in the gray area of whether this classifies as a true emergency or not.

I'm taking off for a 100-mile week on the JMT. Yeah! Group of 4, so probably leaving the PLB behind.

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#38038 - 06/27/14 07:37 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7930
Loc: Fresno, CA
Where is Cascade Valley / Silver Peak?

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#38039 - 06/27/14 07:47 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Steve C]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
On one thread, we are telling a hiker, whose experience, skills, equipment, and condition, are completely unknown to us, "sure, go hike Whitney solo -- you're never really solo on Whitney anyway -- go for it, just turn back if you don't feel good." Though solo hikers get into trouble on Whitney all the time.

And on every other thread, we are dissecting, or at least making assumptions about, the decisions and judgment of hikers who run into trouble, again, whose experience, skills, equipment, condition are completely unknown to us.

I think there is a disconnect.

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#38040 - 06/27/14 08:03 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Cascade is the upper reaches of Fish Creek, below Tully Hole and Silver Pass/Divide (not peak). Silver Peak is near Tahoe
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#38041 - 06/27/14 08:14 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: Akichow]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
AKi: that is a little disturbing. The thread on solo hiking might bear some review.


Edited by saltydog (06/27/14 08:15 AM)
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#38042 - 06/27/14 08:24 AM Re: Musings on Searches and Trails [Re: saltydog]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
I don't see the disconnect. One is off route, the other is a hiking trail. Two entirely different disciplines. I would never recommend anyone do a new off trail route solo...heck, I will not even do a new off trail route solo. Are there risks? Yeah, we have had two people walk down to San Antonio Falls off the Ski Hut Trail in SoCal. 2 out of God knows how many thousands. Nothing is without risk...it is how you manage risk

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