Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc. Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc.

TNSAR Search 10/22/2012

14 and 40 year old hunters at Hermit Valley

Submitted by Dirk Schoonmaker

At about 11 on Monday Oct 22 TNSAR was dispatched to a search for two hunters, 14 and 40 years old, near Bear Valley on Highway 4. An early winter storm was moving through the area and the hunters had been out over Sunday night already. Three team members and a deputy proceeded to fight chain controls and 6-12\ of snow to get to Bear Valley by 6 PM. Then it was 12 miles up closed HWY 4, over Pacific Grade Summit, to Hermit Valley, where the command post was in the parking lot under two Easy-Up canopies. With 8-12\ of new snow on the ground it was decided that walking in snow boots would be the optimal method of transportation and it turned out to be the case, despite 10-18\ more inches of snow which accumulated during the subsequent 10 hours of searching.

The team were given sections 4, 5, 8 and 9 (4 square miles) to search and were able to cover 11 miles of ground while eliminating the two western sections 5 and 8 as terrain where the hunters might have been, and also making it fairly certain that they had not gotten through to the eastern sections 4 and 9. No sign of the hunters were found. The team drove back to Tahoe.

Unfortunately, the next afternoon, the 14 year old was found deceased and the 40 year old alive, about a mile west of the area TNSAR had been assigned.

John Lasagna
Dirk Schoonmaker
Steve Twomey
Gerald Rockwell

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