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lost hiker -- Found
#50454 06/29/17 01:28 PM
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Edit: He's been found safe!

Our trip organizer to Mt Whitney, Marv Cope, is missing after the one day hike we did yesterday, June 28th. He was last seen in the rocky area on the eastern side of Whitney. He might have been heading down to the valley.

Marv is 6'2'', 62 yo, has blue eyes and greyish hair. Here is a picture of him taken yesterday at the summit. If you have any information about him, please call Bryan Howard from the Inyo County Search and Rescue at 760-937-3234.


Last edited by Steve C; 06/29/17 10:32 PM.
Re: lost hiker
Nico1234 #50455 06/29/17 01:32 PM
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We were three people who went down by mistake on the eastern side of the mountain and got lost in the large field of boulders.
After we lost Marv, we met several groups of people who also got lost by making the same mistake.

Re: lost hiker
Nico1234 #50456 06/29/17 03:03 PM
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Heading down to what valley? Guitar Lake? Crabtree? YOu might want to post on PCT, John Muir Trail and Whitney Facebook Pages: lots more coverage

Last edited by saltydog; 06/29/17 03:08 PM.

Wherever you go, there you are.
SPOTMe!
Re: lost hiker
saltydog #50459 06/29/17 04:00 PM
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Thanks, we'll post it there, too.
We were on the eastern side, I think we could see what I found later is Pinnacle.

Re: lost hiker
Nico1234 #50460 06/29/17 04:59 PM
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After talking to the SAR, I think we were facing somewhat towards the Mountaineering Route. We saw a snow chute below us.

Re: lost hiker
Nico1234 #50461 06/29/17 05:26 PM
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Have posted this on our site(HST), Yosemite Forum, Yosemite News and Info, Summitpost, Supertopo, Mountain Project, Backpacker, Rock Creek Message Board, and Eastern Sierra Forum too.

Re: lost hiker
Maverick #50462 06/29/17 05:57 PM
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Re: lost hiker
Maverick #50465 06/29/17 06:53 PM
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Inyo Co Sheriff's Dept:
Quote:

UPDATE: Missing hiker Marv Cope has been located alive and well near the Arctic Lake drainage area in Sequoia-Kings National Park. A big THANK YOU to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and CHP - Inland Division Air Operations!

Last edited by Maverick; 06/29/17 06:53 PM.
Re: lost hiker
Maverick #50469 06/29/17 09:30 PM
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Yes, he made it to the Guitar Lake area and met the rangers who were looking for him. Thank God, it was a happy ending.

And he is indeed the author of that book.

Re: lost hiker
Nico1234 #50471 06/29/17 10:25 PM
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I really want to hear the story how all of this unfolded!!

Sure glad he is safe.

Re: lost hiker
Steve C #50474 06/29/17 11:27 PM
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After becoming separated from Marv, I and the third hiker started to go back up the mountain. After a few minutes we met several other groups of people who also realized they were lost and followed them. I looked at the gpx trail of my route (I've been getting accustomed to gpx only in the last couple of days) and it seems that we went on a trail that made a big detour farther west before getting back to the trail that leads to Trail Crest.

Marv kept going down by himself and he reached Arctic Lake. He suffered from cold during the night, but he managed to maintain some body heat using the Mylar blanket he had with him. Today, while the search & rescue operation was in progress, he saw a helicopter hovering in the sky. He tried to use his mirror to get their attention, but he was not noticed. He kept walking towards Guitar Lake where a group of hikers directed him to the rangers station. On his way there, he met the rescue team from Sequoia National Park. He was later flown by helicopter to Lone Pine.

I also want to say that all of us were impressed by how professional and well organized the search & rescue teams are. We were also very impressed by how many people in Lone Pine were offering their help, such as by printing the flyers that were distributed at the Portal. Everybody at the Portal was also extremely helpful and were volunteering their time to spread the information about Marv.

Re: lost hiker -- found
Nico1234 #50477 06/30/17 08:20 AM
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Nico, thanks for the reply. I hope you will continue to answer some questions. Your writing could help other hikers on Whitney.

Did your group go up the Main Trail, or up the Mountaineers Route?
Would also like to know... when did the group split apart?

I am having difficulty understanding the N-S-E-W directions. Lone Pine is East of Mt Whitney, so being on the east side means you were descending in the right direction. Arctic Lake is on the north side, Guitar Lake and the ranger station area is west of Mt Whitney.


Re: lost hiker -- found
Steve C #50510 07/01/17 01:44 PM
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Hi, Steve

I was completely wrong about being on the Eastern side, I will explain the whole thing.

We went up the main trail. None of us really had mountaineering experience. Only three of us made it to the crest. The others gave up because of the snow. For me, the snowed area did not feel dangerous, just slow, but for people who never lived in a place that has winter it might seem scary. I had the Hillsound traction devices which are very similar to micro-spikes, an ice axe and gaiters.

None of the people who were in my usual hiking mini-group for training hikes made it to the crest. So I was with two people who were more focused on accomplishing the summit, whereas I am more of the kind who sticks to a team. Most of the time, on the crest, each hiked on his own, since we had different speeds.

But the three of us were together at the summit and took a few pictures. On the way down, I was initially just following them. I did not have enough confidence in my experience with GPS (but I got better as the day progressed). The other two were convinced we were going the right away, but they did not agree on which way to go. I was more and more convinced that we were not on the same side we came, because the crest looked different and the rocks below looked different. I think this is the part of the crest we were seeing.

Here is my GPS track of that day. (Please ignore the big spike, it was probably a software error, we did not go to Thor Peak.) As you can see, we were too far West. We could see a trail in the distance, but it did not look like the trail we came on. We could see some lakes down below, probably Arctic Lake or Guitar Lake. At some point, I lost track of Marv, but I was still able to go to the third hiker, who was the fastest of us three. After we realized we cannot find Marv anymore, she started to panic and it took me a while to calm her and to convince her to go back up the mountain. We did not need to go very far, because we met two large groups of hikers who were also looking for the trail. They figured out a way to get to the trail which was visible in the distance, we followed them, and after a while that trail merged back into the main trail, which took us back to the Chute.

It would be nice to have some trail signs going from the main trail up to the summit and down back, at least for people who are not familiar with the mountain. I was told there is usually a visible trail there, but parts of it are now covered by snow.

Last edited by Nico1234; 07/01/17 01:46 PM.
Re: lost hiker -- found
Nico1234 #50512 07/01/17 02:02 PM
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Thank you for posting this information and the GPS track. I'm curious to know why you didn't use the GPS to find your way back to the trial?

Last edited by CEric G; 07/01/17 03:44 PM.
Re: lost hiker
Nico1234 #50513 07/01/17 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted By: Nico1234
Yes, he made it to the Guitar Lake area and met the rangers who were looking for him. Thank God, it was a happy ending.

And he is indeed the author of that book.


When did they find him? Did he spent an uplanned night on the mountain?

Re: lost hiker -- found
CEric G #50515 07/01/17 04:18 PM
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I was a bit confused by all the squiggly lines in the GPS app. And I was relying too much on the two other people to know the way and to use their GPSs. I think that now I would be more confident and more comfortable with the gpx, since I used it to navigate back down later in the day.
Another thing is if you go the wrong way too far it becomes quite hard to go back. That area is made up of rocks of various sizes, so instead of walking you are jumping from rock to rock. We were lucky there was trail nearby. The maps I saw at REI only show one trail going to the summit, they don't show all the variants.

Re: lost hiker
Phill the Thrill #50516 07/01/17 04:19 PM
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He spent one cold night on the mountain and he used a Mylar blanket.

Re: lost hiker -- found
Nico1234 #50517 07/01/17 09:17 PM
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It looks to me like on the way up near the summit you took a well traveled short cut to the east of the last snow field. But on the way down you went on the opposite side of that snowfield maybe closer to the regular Main Trail. After circling the snow you found your way back to the trail you came up.

Re: lost hiker -- found
RenoFrank #50520 07/01/17 11:47 PM
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Nico, The Summit Post picture you referenced is exactly what you needed to see on the way down. The high points are the Whitney "needles", and the low spots are the "Windows". If you click on the picture and enlarge it, you can see hikers in the lower left, and also near the first window. That is the trail you came up on, and the same trail you returned on. You were RIGHT ON TRACK! If you don't stop and turn around once in a while, the return trip often looks really different that the climb.

Your GPS track shows sort of a loop on the left side near the top end of your hike. The part to the left is the current trail route. The more direct short-cut on the right is an old trail, but you can't find it in summer unless you know exactly where to look. But right now, it is a snow field there, so you and your group likely followed all the tracks and climbed up to the summit using that route. On your return, you followed the obvious trail, and it took you on the round-about way.

The lakes you saw on the return were the same you could have seen on the way up -- Guitar Lake and Hitchcock Lakes.

The spike in your track is just an anomalous coordinate that gps units often record when you are in a canyon, where it can't pick up enough satellites to get a reliable location.

Again, you were on the trail, you just took a different variation on the way down. It is extremely curious how Marv got so far off course. It is possible that he took a right turn off that little spike on your loop at the top -- If there is snow there, he could have followed tracks from hikers climbing and descending the "easy walk-off" route of the Mountaineers Route. Since there is likely a full snow field all the way down to Arctic lake, he probably could have descended on it safely to that valley. He would then need to circumnavigate around from Arctic Lk. (A man his age died there over a year ago thinking it was a shortcut down to where the Crabtree ranger station is. Marv had snow. The deceased tried it on bare granite.)

Here's a copy of your map:

Re: lost hiker -- found
Steve C #50525 07/02/17 09:39 AM
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I've zoomed in on Nico's route using two different maps within View Ranger, and you can see how far Nico wandered from the trail. First is using Google Physical Map



Second is using Open Cycle Map



You can also verify that these two maps fairly represent the trail by using Google Satellite Map. The trail is visible if zoomed fully in.

No wonder that Nico commented on the boulder field.

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