Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Southern California and far-away places. Hiking, wildlife, cycling etc.

Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ric Capucho » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:09 am

May be worth getting this excellent trip report to Otherhand so we can keep the coverage all in one place on his website?
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Ric Capucho » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:16 am

The discovery of the tied towel presumably left there as someone's waypoint marker reminded me to ask a question that's been (occasionally) nagging me for years:

Assuming someone knows the exact (or exact enough) find location of the bandana;
Assuming the anecdotes we've heard are true that Bill liked to mark his return trail or waypoint with a dropped bandana;
Assuming that Bill *did* continue up to the top of the slope then turn right to head north-east towards the summit of Quail;

Then... would the bandana have been visible to Bill from up on top of the slope/ridge when returning from Quail summit (or giving up on trying to get there far too late in the game)? Would the bandana as a waypoint marker have functioned as just that? Could Bill have simply continued along the ridge far past the bandana looking downslope in vail for a bandana that simply isn't visible once you're up on top?

Ric
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby adamghost » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:59 am

Fascinating to see the new searches going on. I love it! Great to see people going to places I wondered about but never got around to.

I'm out of the game for now...living in southeast Asia and after all those boulder hops in Joshua Tree, finally broke my ankle just standing on the side of a slippery road in Indonesia. I might get back to the U.S. in the fall and camp out in JT for a few days, if my foot is back into fighting shape by then.

Working on a new blog and going to write up my current thoughts on Bill, doing my best to incorporate the new searches and more rigorous questioning of the ping that I'm seeing here and elsewhere. Great to see people really thinking about this and coming up with new ideas.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby adamghost » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:00 am

Ric Capucho wrote:May be worth getting this excellent trip report to Otherhand so we can keep the coverage all in one place on his website?

Yup, I second that.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby RichardK » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:26 am

Ric Capucho wrote:May be worth getting this excellent trip report to Otherhand so we can keep the coverage all in one place on his website?


And I will add a third yes to that idea.

sh44 - Thank you for your searches. I think that OtherHand will see your post, but he will still need your permission to add it to his website.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby sh44 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:22 am

Ok sounds good, I will try to get in contact with Tom and let him know it is more than fine. Thanks guys!
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby OtherHand » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:47 am

Ric Capucho wrote:Then... would the bandana have been visible to Bill from up on top of the slope/ridge when returning from Quail summit (or giving up on trying to get there far too late in the game)? Would the bandana as a waypoint marker have functioned as just that? Could Bill have simply continued along the ridge far past the bandana looking downslope in vail for a bandana that simply isn't visible once you're up on top?

Ric


The bandanna was found around 33.9975, -116.238447. I say "around" since there were two locations reported, fairly close to each other, and this one seems the most credible.

It's on the SE face of Quail Mountain, just as the terrain starts up from Juniper Flat. There are several approach routes to Quail Mountain in this area, and the location is consistent with one of them. Unfortunately the location doesn't have any aspect of a "decision point". It seems pretty random. It's also an area that wouldn't be especially visible from above, not that it matters because as soon as you start climbing that face of Quail Mountain, all of Juniper Flats is laid out in full view and the end of the hiking route in to the flat is readily visible. Remember, Juniper Flats is mostly bare and flat, so there's no way not to find the route back out and across it.

The bandanna always made the most sense as something accidentally dropped by a hiker. Of course that hiker still could have been Bill.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Perry » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:56 am

Ric Capucho wrote: Could Bill have simply continued along the ridge far past the bandana looking downslope in vail [vain] for a bandana that simply isn't visible once you're up on top?


Interesting theory. Sounds reasonable if he wasn't feeling well due to heat exhaustion or injury. Here's a map with the bandana coordinates marked as B:

https://mapper.acme.com/?ll=34.00216,-116.24115&z=15&t=R&marker0=90.00000%2C32.06018%2C%20UTM%207033%2F6214%20(33.99750%5C%2C%20-116.23845)&marker1=33.99750%2C-116.23845%2C33.99750%5C%2C%20-116.23845&marker2=34.00173%2C-116.24669%2C7.1%20km%20ExNE%20of%20Little%20San%20Bernardino%20Mountains%20CA

I've never done Quail Mountain, but it sounds like, according to this theory, he could have missed the turn at F and continued downhill in another direction, such as south or west.
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby sh44 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:24 pm

I have a question. Sorry if it's already been answered. In the FOIA Narrative from Tom's website on page 5 of the document, it states "While at the Juniper Flats backcountry board parking area, several volunteer search and rescue team members said they saw lights in the saddle of the closest ridge. The ridge was not visible when they pointed it out to me."

Any idea what this light was and where it would be/if this was checked out further?
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Re: Story of missing hiker in Joshua Tree NP

Postby Perry » Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:24 pm

It would be interesting to see a complete map of all the searches. A shaded topo with thin track lines would be the easiest to comprehend I think. Maybe a shaded relief map without the topo lines.
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