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Author Topic: Missing snowboarders last winter???  (Read 48031 times)
Scotsman
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Missing snowboarders last winter???
« on: 06/12/08, 07:57 PM »

I think I've mentioned in some of my previous posts that I am always troubled by the loss of the three snowboarders in December last year in the Crystal BC. I always think about them when I am up there and remember seeing them walking up the steps to the ski area on that fateful day.

I was wondering if anybody knows what is happening regarding finding their bodies now that the snow is melting fast. Is there an organised effort by anybody or any SAR organisation to check the area regularily or what. I am sure the families need closure.


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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #1 on: 06/12/08, 09:13 PM »

Scotman,

If you want to organize some hikes out there, I'm sure quite a few TAY members would be willing to put in a day or two.  I don't know the area, and I've never been to Crystal, but I could give up a day to aid in a search.
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Scotsman
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #2 on: 06/12/08, 09:22 PM »

Scotman,

If you want to organize some hikes out there, I'm sure quite a few TAY members would be willing to put in a day or two.  I don't know the area, and I've never been to Crystal, but I could give up a day to aid in a search.

Thanks for the offer I will consider it an dget back to you but I'm not sure what the appropriate action is or how a situation like this is usually handled.
I don't even know if the families are arranging something so it might not be appropriate to intrude.

 It just doesn't seem right to me to just leave our brothers out there to be found whenever! I was hoping to hear that the authorities or some official organization where making frequent checks but maybe it doesn't work that way.
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #3 on: 06/13/08, 12:24 PM »

Your experience, Scotsman, reminds me of one of my own wierd moments in life:

Some years ago, I was driving down Boulder Canyon in Colorado, don't remember why or where going, but had a reason to kill some time so stopped at Dome Rock at the mouth of the Canyon.  I remember thinking, I'll go walk up to the Dome and do some scrambling around; parked car, looked up and noticed someone soloing Gorilla's Delight, a very insecure, slippery 5.10.  I was jazzed, as I'd never seen anyone solo this route (only remember reading about Jim Erikson, who said he almost died on the thing) - I bent down to grab my shoes and chalk bag from the passenger side, heard something - don't know what- looked back to the Dome and the guy was gone.  Gone!  Did I imagine him?

Moments later a guy came flying down the hillside screaming for 911.  I was not seeing things.  If I had not looked down to grab my stuff, in that instant, I would have seen him fly off.

I was shaken for some time.  Still am a little creeped out.  Weird vibes.  I feel your sense of "incompleteness" - I, at least, know what happened to the guy on the Dome.   

Closure will be good.  Peace.
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jdclimber
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #4 on: 06/13/08, 01:36 PM »

When I was at Crystal about a month ago, I wondered about the same thing.
On one hand I don't think I would like to be the one to find them, from a purely selfish point of view. Sounds like nightmares I don't want to have.
Going out to look for them seems a bit odd, and I am not sure why. I am reminded of the plot of Stand by Me.
With that said, I absolutely hate the idea of the birds finding them before the families.
Count me in if someone wants to put something official together with those who should be doing this, KC SAR? Mountain Rescue? Explorer Scouts? Family of the missing?
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Marcus
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #5 on: 06/13/08, 01:48 PM »

Agreed -- I spoke with SAR and a few other folks, including friends and family, in the few days after, since we were out there that day.  Joedabaker did as well and I think he'd seen them shortly after we did.  I'll see if I have the info for the woman who contacted me.  I'd definitely head down there for some searching if it would help bring closure.
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Scotsman
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #6 on: 06/13/08, 02:25 PM »

Ok let me know what you find out Marcus. If the family is Ok with it , I am prepared to get with you guys and spend a day or two looking for them.
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kneel turner
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #7 on: 06/14/08, 10:55 AM »

Call the Sheriff's office.  I think its the Pierce County Sheriff that has jurisdiction @ Crystal.(?)  Anyways, I'm sure they have a plan.  They may accept help (probably not officially, due to ownership of services, and liability).  It doesn't hurt to ask.  One call (Scotsman) with relayed info to the BC community would be best.  In my experience with public emergency services (I is one), they have a plan, they've done this before, it may take time, but it will be effective and safe, and it will be conducted with compasion and respect for the family.  If there's somethng we (BC community) can do, I'm sure there would be many fine folks who would be willing to lend a hand.  -What a great sport, what great people.
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John Morrow
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #8 on: 06/14/08, 12:04 PM »

Agreed -- I spoke with SAR and a few other folks, including friends and family, in the few days after, since we were out there that day.  Joedabaker did as well and I think he'd seen them shortly after we did.  I'll see if I have the info for the woman who contacted me.  I'd definitely head down there for some searching if it would help bring closure.

I'd like to be kept informed, and will help as well.  Hopefully we can use this thread as a source of information regarding the organizing of efforts?

John
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Marcus
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #9 on: 06/14/08, 12:29 PM »

I've been in touch with friends and family in the last day or two.  They're starting to do some searching and are in touch with Pierce -- when I get some information I'll post it here and we can organize a group to go down and help out as needed.  I'll let y'all know.
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Randy Beaver
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #10 on: 06/14/08, 02:47 PM »

I was up in the Norse Mtn (?) vicinity a month or so ago witha  friend who is on the Greenwater Fire Dept and he mentioned he/the FD would likely get pulled into any search efforts at such time as they commenced. Saw him yesterday but neglected to ask. I'll give him a call and see what, if anything, he knows....
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loggerdogger
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #11 on: 06/15/08, 12:12 PM »

I am the mother of one of the snowboarders and I am very glad that he had friend like you that are willing to try for us as we can't ourselves.
« Last Edit: 06/15/08, 01:58 PM by loggerdogger » Logged
Scotsman
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #12 on: 06/15/08, 06:19 PM »

Ok, guys and gals and all those who have contributed to this thread , I'm going to call the Pierce county Sheriff's office tomorrow as suggested and I'll report back.

At the moment I am thinking of spending two days next weekend searching assuming weather and snow conditions are safe .We don't want to put anybody at risk.

Assuming we get no problems with the Sheriff's office I am proposing that all who offered to help  meet at Upper Lot C next Saturday morning at 7.00am. Only experienced skiers and boarders please and bring radios.

We should then have a meeting and try and organise ourselves as regards protocol and area of search. Safety is numero uno.
If there are any SAR people willing to help us organise ourselves I would appreciate that help.

If the Sherrif's office has problems with us doing this on a volunteer basis or have other professional searches planned for the near future then I'll report back on this post and cancel.

« Last Edit: 06/15/08, 07:51 PM by Scotsman » Logged

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whoziwhatsit
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #13 on: 06/15/08, 08:59 PM »

Hey everybody...I'm posting on behalf of some of the family and friends. They are grateful that you all are willing to help out and do want to encourage any effort that you can make SAFELY of course.   As we understand it SAR will not be resuming official recovery efforts until mid-July. If it is ok with them to use volunteers, we would like to organize a party this weekend as you suggested. We are hoping to get a blog or somesuch up this week and I will post it here so that everyone who is interested can keep track of what is going on. Once again thank you all for keeping them in mind and offering your help.
« Last Edit: 06/15/08, 09:04 PM by whoziwhatsit » Logged
Scotsman
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #14 on: 06/15/08, 09:43 PM »

If it is ok with them to use volunteers, we would like to organize a party this weekend as you suggest.

Thanks for making contact whoziwahsit. I'm in and as we agreed on the phone, 7.00 am at Upper C lot, unless you post differently.
Scotsman
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jdclimber
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #15 on: 06/15/08, 10:17 PM »

Many logistical issues and things to be done. Kudos to Scotsman for taking this on.
First question: Did any of the victims have any clothes with Recco reflectors? Could most likely be revealed by photos or jackets/pants with model and dates on them (less likely to be sitting around). If so, was a search conducted with the Recco reflectors.
Second question: Does anyone have any information about metal dectors? I know ski areas often have a "ski finders" service. All I have been able to find on the internet is relating to no finding steel. I have found nothing on depth of search. I am confident that all victims have enough metal on them to be found so long as the depth range of the device is fairly great. All things on the internet are related to 8-10" in soil, which of course is a different thing from 10' in snow, although I do not understand the mechanics of it all.
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Scotsman
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #16 on: 06/16/08, 03:24 PM »

I just spoke to a family member who has been searching the area frequently and recently and will be joining us on Sat 21st with another family member. He says it is highly unlikely that the guys had Recco on their garments as Philip who he knows best was the type of guy that did not buy the latest expensive  gear and used older garments. He also feels Kevin and Devlin where similar in having older, but serviceable gear.

He warns that the search area is extensive and that the likelihood of success is slim but still worth doing as the families are very keen to try and find the guys as soon as possible for reasons that are obvious. He welcomes and is grateful for our help.

Reminder, 7.00 am Upper Lot C Saturday June 21st ( I think I said June 20 in some previous posts) I wll only be for one day unless there is a compelling reason to go out on the Sunday as well.
« Last Edit: 06/16/08, 03:43 PM by Scotsman » Logged

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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #17 on: 06/16/08, 03:55 PM »

Thanks for the groundwork Scotsman -- I'm trying to organize work schedules so I can be there Saturday as well.  Perhaps we can arrange some carpooling from up north, if we get enough folks.
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Larry_Trotter
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #18 on: 06/16/08, 09:34 PM »

I don't think I would be able to join the search effort.  However, I put up a topo map of the area in a pdf file.  This map uses UTM coordinates with a 100 meter grid (328 feet).

I personally find that setting my gps to UTM along with a UTM map helps me navagate.  I can put up different variations if needed.

Might consider collecting data points to plot on the map to document areas searched.

Does anybody have any ideas where search?  My guess is that you would look for terrain traps and slope hazzards.  The whole thing looks like a hazzard to me.

Here is the map:  http://lawrencetrotter.com/RainierPics/CrystalSearch2.pdf
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Scotsman
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #19 on: 06/16/08, 09:36 PM »

Related news article I found on TGR.
http://www.koat.com/news/16623683/detail.html
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #20 on: 06/18/08, 01:27 PM »

The missing snowboarders probably got into trouble on Saturday (Dec 1st). They were last seen heading down from the Bullion Basin saddle into Union Creek. Attached is a map guessing their route. Its a bit of a swag. I've been up and down the skiers-right side of the hill, but not the skiers-left side and it sounds like that might be the more likely route, based on talking with those of you on TAY who saw them last that day.


* UnionCreekTopo.jpg (160.74 KB, 1000x667 - viewed 2407 times.)
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #21 on: 06/18/08, 06:01 PM »

Nice map Dave.
I last saw them dropping into Union, their downtracks right between "Likely and more Likely Route"
Since we had been down in Union the day before we set an uptrack right between the green and orange quadrilaterals. They rode over part of the upper skin track.
After seeing them, we skied one run down the upper zone of the "more likely route" until the terrain hit some steep sections that were a little sketchy for the amount of snow (thin base). One of our party disappeared for some time as he traveled deeper downhill, but met up below the rest of us near the skin track. Travel through that area became more complicated, from the slope angle, gullies, rocks and flagged cedars and vine maple. So we traversed back into the "likely route zone" and connected with the skin track we put in the day before back up to bullion peak.
It is curious why they did not make it to the camp since they were very familiar with the terrain. There can be a number of reasons. The terrain looks different with snow and got off track, mechanical difficulty with gear, someone got hurt and decided to stay put, travel was difficult with big packs and trees laying down,
One scenario I assume is that they got to the bottom had some difficulties, by the time (if) they got it together, The storm set in hard and they decided to get out of the hole. Which by my experiences the day before was really difficult. They may gotten caught in the terrain trying to make a break for it and may have gotten caught in the dark in very difficult terrain trying to retreat. Just a guess???
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Scotsman
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #22 on: 06/19/08, 10:04 AM »

Some planning for Saturday's trip.

We are meeting, 7:00am Upper Lot C at Crystal.
The terrain we are going into is rugged and inherently dangerous so come prepared.
I am bringing the following gear.
1) Full avy gear( Shovel, probe, beacon) and suggest this should be mandatory
2) Boot crampons and ski crampons.
3) Skis, skins and one whippet ski pole.
4) I am bringing a 200ft lightweight climbing rope plus harness, rappel device and my climbing ascenders in case we have to rappel and climb out of a moat, terrain trap or cliff band. I don't think we need more than one or  two sets of this gear.
5) Map and compass ( I don't have GPS)
6) Food, water and spare clothing plus 10 essentials.
7) Radio
8)Cell phone
9)Headlamp with spare batteries.

Bring what you think necessary, I'm just sharing what I am bringing but use your own judgement.
Experienced people only and expect a hard day.

I would appreciate it if all the TAYERs who are coming either reply below that they will be there or PM me. That way I/we can see how big a group it is going to be. I would like that notification by Friday morning latest if possible.

Thanks
Scotty

« Last Edit: 06/19/08, 09:04 PM by Scotsman » Logged

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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #23 on: 06/19/08, 10:52 AM »

I'll be there as well, potentially with another friend in tow.  I'll have everything in your list except a rope, but I'll bring my harness/belay device and gear for anchors, etc.  I don't have a radio.  I'll let you know if I get any other folks to join me.

Anyone know how far up toward Bullion the snow has melted?
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Scotsman
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Re: Missing snowboarders last winter???
« Reply #24 on: 06/19/08, 11:10 AM »

Got an e-mail from a source that wants to remain anonymous.
It reads

" If you guys get back there I believe the highest probability of finding them would be due east of Blue Bell pass, down in the basin probably 100-300 ft from where the slopes level out before dropping into Union Creek ( less than 1/2 mile from the pass). There was a huge climax avalanche that came down form their Point LAst Seen and went straight down to the valley bottom, thru the trees, and banked right ( North). This slide had at least a 3-4 ft crown at the top and 3-4 ft diameter snow boulders at the bottom( Huge freaking slide), Good Luck"

Thanks
Scotty
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