The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

General Palm Springs area.

Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:16 pm

Ed, yes. Lot's of snow that year in early April. The North side of Fuller Ridge would be particularly hard to find a trail on. There have been some reports of footsteps descending steeply down the north side. There's no particular indication that those foot prints were David's, but if they were or if he followed a set not knowing which tracks actually followed the trail, he could wind up in the drainage of the West Fork where he could have gotten into some very John Donovan like trouble if you know what I mean. If he went further east, then he'd get into the East Branch of the West Fork of Snow Creek, and he'll probably never be found. I can't imagine anyone going into something that steep deliberately, but he could have slipped. To me, the West Fork is worth a search. The East Branch? No thank you. :shock:

Zip, yeah, it's nice to be on here again. Eek. I'm pulled in a lot of directions these days. I've got about 15 years until a certain someone will be college graduating age. I need to somehow be relevant in today's fast moving world of technology. I'm staying up late a lot of nights studying. It's not a whole lot of fun, and it takes away from things I'd rather be doing, like hiking (or at least talking about hiking).

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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby RichardK » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:11 am

zippetydude - The common thread in all of these mysterious disappearances is solo hikers. I have not heard of two or more going missing. Of course, it is bound to have happened, but I can't think of any. I don't count Nguyen and Orbeso as they were eventually found and it wasn't a hiking accident. Hiking alone carries an extra risk.

Hikin_Jim - It's great to see your posts. Don't work too hard.
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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby Ed » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:40 am

From what I remember looking down from the Strawberry connector, seems like it will be a challenging trip. Hope it is safe and enjoyable. I think we are all looking forward to your trip report.
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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby Perry » Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:20 pm

Hikin_Jim wrote:I'm curious how much the W Fork has been "cleared." I think Perry went up to check it out?

We looked into the other creek to the west, not a branch of Snow Creek. It's unlikely he would be on the research property at the bottom because the researchers would have seen evidence, and the section right above that is steep enough that it's unlikely he would descend while wearing a frame backpack. Now higher up I believe has not been searched by hikers at all, maybe through aerial photography but I don't know.

I would not want to go bushwhacking through thick brush on the south side of the mountain unless I had snake gaiters. Those black rattlesnakes (southern pacific) have a neurotoxin and I believe go as high as 8,000 or 9,000 feet.
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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby Hikin_Jim » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:59 pm

Ed wrote:From what I remember looking down from the Strawberry connector, seems like it will be a challenging trip. Hope it is safe and enjoyable. I think we are all looking forward to your trip report.

A bit oddly, I got waved off on the Marion Creek descent at the last minute. Apparently someone else volunteered for that one. I was re-directed to the Tahquitz Creek drainage.

Here's my basic search pattern:
https://caltopo.com/m/NJAA

Per the known information, I was looking for something blue (David's backpack).
David_OSullivan_Missing1.jpg


At one point, I thought I really had something, but it turned out to be somewhat less exciting than a backpack.
Blue_Undies.jpg


I did I think a fair job of covering the Willow Creek drainage below Willow Creek Crossing, but there were a lot of places I had to bypass by staying higher on the canyon walls, like these falls.
Willow_Creek_Below_Crossing.jpg


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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby Hikin_Jim » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:37 pm

I did a less good job of examining Tahquitz Creek. If indeed Tahquitz Creek is a good spot to look for David O'Sullivan, then more time needs to be spent there. It's a rough go trying to ascend via the creek bottom, and I could tell I was running out of time (I got back to Humber Park just before dusk), so I bypassed a lot of more difficult sections, like this section just above the confluence with Willow Creek where there was a lot of downed logs and thick vegetation.

Willow_Tahquitz_Confluence1.jpg


Even in places where Tahquitz Creek was dry (well, underground), the going could be quite tough. Here, ferns extended above my head. It was heck to try to push through them. I couldn't see my feet.
Tahquitz_Creek_Ferns1.jpg


I thought I had it all figured out when I found some big logs to walk on...
Tahquitz_Creek_Ferns2.jpg


And that worked pretty good until I walked off the end of the log which had ended, unseen, beneath the ferns. Small ouch there.

But where the ferns were only waist high, they were beautiful and quite navigable.
Tahquitz_Creek_Ferns3.jpg


Water was generally in short supply (at least surface water; no doubt there was plenty of under ground water in the Tahquitz Creek drainage). I was particularly excited when I found this small pool under a willow just down stream from Reid's Meadow since I hadn't seen any water for a while and needed some.
Tahquitz_Creek_Willow_Pool1.jpg


I used my Cnoc Vecto bladder which directly screws into my Sawyer filter. I rather like the arrangement. The large "intake" opening on the Vecto allows me to drape a bandana over it so I can filter out any small bits that might clog the filter.
Willow_Creek_Water_Gathering2.jpg


I left Tahquitz Creek and followed Skunk Cabbage Creek up to Skunk Cabbage Meadow. I was surprised to find water in Skunk Cabbage Creek just up from the confluence with Tahquitz Creek. I had already examined the meadow previously and found not even a trace of water, but there was water just above the confluence.
Skunk_Cabbage_Creek1.jpg


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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby Hikin_Jim » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:46 pm

Speaking of water, there was water just upstream from Willow Creek Crossing, which I expected.
Willow_Creek_Above_Crossing1.jpg


Indeed, there was a nice little runnel about 50 feet upstream.
Willow_Creek_Above_Crossing2.jpg


That little runnel was perfect for filling my bladders and bottles from.
Willow_Creek_Water_Gathering1.jpg


I was a tad surprised to find water in the next major drainage to the east which I had assumed would be dry. Florian tells me this is Lotus Creek.
Water_in_Creek_East_of_Willow1.jpg


There was no water in Four Way Spring (SE of the Four Way junction in the Skunk Cabbage area) which was disappointing. That used to be a very reliable spring.
Four_Way_Spring.jpg


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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby Ed » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:10 am

Thanks for the trip report, HJ.
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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby guest » Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:50 am

Thanks Jim,
This is good info & surprising news. I know parts of the forest dig get some brief down pours this summer, which must have helped with the little springs / creeks you found.

I remember how big the ferns can get over there, it must be the ideal area, south-facing, bottom of a large area of drainage etc. Also good to know that it seems to have recovered well from the Mt. Fire. Now that "the secret place" is open, (I think), hopefully it will get some water (& ice) this winter spring.
Isn't there a main spring in the little Tahquitz Valley somewhere, that thru-hikers can access?

Anyway, watch cross those logs, the dead ones especially, I've learned to not trust them, even though it's inevitable, (if you hike like we do), that we'll need to get over or under them. Any deer back in there?
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