Friday, October 30, 2009

First update

Here's the text of an e-mail I sent out to family and friends last night.

This is Michelle (Wade’s daughter). For those of you who don’t know, Wade climbed Mt. Whitney near Lone Pine, California on Sunday, and is now missing. I am with Jeanne in Lone Pine now. I got here yesterday, and this afternoon Jeanne and I talked to the people at the Sheriff’s office who are in charge of the search and rescue (SAR). Here’s what we know (I’m writing this from memory and don’t have all the maps in front of me right now)

They haven’t been able to get helicopters up on this side of the mountain because of high winds. Today they were able use a helicopter to get a team up to a ranger cabin on the other side of the mountain a few miles from the summit, which is a huge gain because it’s a 4 day hike to that location from that side. They hiked up a bit from there and didn’t find anything, then had to return to camp and will try again tomorrow.

There are 8 different agencies involved in the SAR effort, and they are coordinating together.

Tomorrow they have 2 dogs that will be helping, using a pair of Wade’s jeans for the scent. I don’t know which team they’re with.

There is a team at a camp on this side a few miles from the summit, preparing to set out tomorrow.

A group of three hikers saw Wade on Sunday near the summit, talked to him and took a picture, which they sent to the SAR team. The picture was very helpful to the SAR because it shows what he was wearing and some of his equipment. They have also interviewed all hikers who had permits to climb in this time period, and are tracking down others who might know anything.

The weather is forecast to be windy again tomorrow (the days have been sunny, the nights cold), but if there is a window of opportunity, they are ready to send up the helicopter. If it’s not safe, the helicopter won’t be able to go.

A little way down from the summit, water is available.

There is a point somewhat near the summit where the trail up this side of the mountain meets the trail up from the other side, and hikers have been known to take a wrong turn there, and that is why the search on the other side is so important.

Most of the people involved in the SAR effort are volunteers, but all are skilled, and they are having to turn away people who want to help but don’t have the necessary skills. We don’t want anyone else to get hurt.

There is a thread on a message board forum that is discussing this:

Most of all we’re really touched by all the effort that’s going into the search, and are praying for his safe return.

I’ll be sending out updates when I know something, but most of the time we’re waiting for news, too. I’ve sent this out to people I’ve found in the e-mail address book (only what I have access to online), but if I’ve missed anyone, please forward it on. Also, Jeanne is having a very hard time talking to people about this on the phone, and would prefer not to receive calls. She hopes you understand.

Thanks to all who are thinking of us.

1 comment:

  1. My thoughts and prayers have been with you continuly since I have first heard about this. Your updates have been a great link to what is happening.I can't imanagine the anguish of each hour that passes. I will continue to hope and prayfor you all...Sue And Brad Ryan