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

General Palm Springs area.

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

Postby Perry » Sun May 27, 2018 10:25 pm

https://mapper.acme.com/?ll=33.88135%2C ... %2Cunnamed

Last Sunday with zip and sh44. Snow Creek Village, B, L, D, J. Down the trail to F. Cross-country to N. Markers are very rough/approximate and do not imply that we went to those exact locations. We did our best to avoid the UC research property which was not marked very well. I don't think he could be on their property because a researcher would have found him. Further up, if he had wanted to descend into the big ravine for water, he likely would have left his heavy backpack on the ridge, and it would have been visible. So I doubt he is in those areas of the big ravine. The bushwhacking is challenging in a few places. If anybody searches other areas nearby, I would recommend long pants, gaiters, and long sleeves. For anything low-elevation, it probably won't be cool enough until Oct or Nov.
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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby RichardK » Mon May 28, 2018 5:42 am

Another solo PCT hiker is missing as well

https://www.facebook.com/pg/SequoiaKing ... e_internal
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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby Ed » Mon May 28, 2018 9:23 am

I wonder what 'near Kearsarge Pass' means. Was he assumed to be hiking out for resupply? If he was seen 'near Kearsarge Pass', there are many better ways of pinning down location and probable direction.

A few months ago, I ran into two Riverside Sheriff volunteers on the Willow Creek trail, who were on a two-day backpack. They said they were looking for the lost Irish PCT hiker. They admitted he was last seen a long ways away, but said that area had been very thoroughly searched.
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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby zippetydude » Mon May 28, 2018 9:01 pm

As Perry, sh44 and I found, it would be quite possible to walk past evidence a mere 5' away without knowing it. That, in and of itself, is daunting. That being said, we followed two very probable routes based upon topography and human decision making, looking for clues. Of course, we found nothing. I think this is indicative only of the vastness of the wilderness, not of human ineptitude. If we try the same route a few more times, with only slight variations in our path, I think we can say that we made a small search on a single route and we eliminated a small percentage of possible finds in our efforts. This sort of search seems to involve a tremendous amount of time and effort before any result can be hoped for by the searchers. Hats off to the resilient and unfazed people who continue day in and day out for years. Tough work. Unflinching focus. You are awesome.

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

Postby cynthia23 » Wed May 30, 2018 8:57 pm

And kudos to you, sh44 and Perry for putting in this effort as well. Every bit of work on this sad story brings closure for the family a little bit closer.
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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:34 am

I'm going to head up this week and try to "clear" another area (which as noted previously is pretty hard to do with any reliability given that something could be 5' away from you, and you'd never see it).

One of the routes that Mr. O'Sullivan might have used, had he decided to bail out and turn back from Fuller Ridge is the Deer Springs Trail, a logical route back to Idyllwild. If he had lost the trail or somehow been unsure of the trails location, he might have gone down the drainage of Marion Creek. I'm going to try to go down Marion Creek from the PCT to Fern Valley. Probably a long shot. Probably a non-fun descent. Has anyone ever descended Marion Creek before?

The stretch from the PCT to the Suicide Rock Trail doesn't look too bad in terms of steepness. The stretch from the Suicide Rock down to Fern Valley may be too steep for me to do. I'll look at what I see when I arrive on site later this week.

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

Postby guest » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:28 pm

Good on you Jim, that's some interesting terrain.
As you know, those drainage's can have poison oak, hopefully they still have plenty of leaves for easy ID.
Enjoy the 1st tinges of fall up there, scott
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Re: The Missing Irish Hiker--Family asks for help ...

Postby Hikin_Jim » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:34 pm

Hi, Scott,

Thank you.

I'm actually pretty good recognizing P.O. in its leafless state. Ask me how I learned what it looks like. :) I'll have to thread my way around any P.O., but there's not much above 5,000' elevation. P.O. typically grows below 5,000' -- although with Global Climate Shift, who knows?

I love to set the O'Sullivan's mind at ease, so I hope I find some clue (or better), but my mind keeps going back to Fuller Ridge. Unless the trail is well tracked, one is more actually more likely to get off track than to stay on the trail. If he got off course on the N side in the snow, where does he go? Well, given the impassable terrain to the east, he either goes through Camp Lackey trying to cut across to the PCT or he goes down the W Fork of Snow Creek. He could also have gone down the ridge immediately east of the W Fork, but even that ridge eventually forces him into the drainage.

Diagrammed map link: https://caltopo.com/m/R680

The light blue arrow drops straight into the W Fork from Fuller Ridge near Castle Rocks. He could have left the ridge sooner than Castle Rocks, but I consider it unlikely that there would be any off course tracks to follow east of Castle Ridge because the terrain is so steep there.

The light green arrow goes through Camp Lackey to the water source near BM 6470. This water source is a known source to PCT through hikers (it's on the Halfmile Map, PCT water report, etc.). This is a possible objective if he were good with maps and good with navigation. I think it would be a little tricky to negotiate this area were one not fairly good with map and compass.

The light brown arrow drops in one drainage east of the drainage leading to Camp Lackey. If David got the wrong drainage which is very easy to do, he'd drop down this drainage thinking he were one drainage to the west. This drainage funnels him into the W Fork.

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

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

Postby zippetydude » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:22 pm

Hi HJ. Good to hear from you here on the San J board.

I am constantly confounded by hikers disappearing in the most unlikely circumstances. I don't know if you've followed any of the JTNP disappearances on this board, but they are mystifying as well.

Regarding the case at hand, this leg of his hike wasn't particularly long, difficult, or tricky as far as finding the trail. In fact, it's about as clear as a trail can get. So I wonder if there were some set of circumstances that combined to form a "perfect storm" of events that led to his getting off the trail, then lost, and then somehow injured or otherwise incapacitated. Your assessment of the probability of finding him on a given outing is no doubt accurate, but I have the impression after following several of these disappearances that most of the seemingly logical or likely places have been checked and rechecked already and have yielded nothing, so it makes sense to start looking somewhere new. Good luck with your trip.

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

Postby Ed » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:41 pm

I assume the trail was covered in snow in April? Best of luck HJ.
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