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

TNSAR Search 10/24/2012

Overdue backpacker in Desolation Wilderness

Submitted by Dirk Schoonmaker

At 8 am on Wednesday, Oct 24 TNSAR was called out for an overdue backpacker in Desolation Wilderness. 24-36 inches of snow had fallen over the previous 3 days and the hiker had not returned home.

Sara Carbonari, Doug Read, Jeb Mirczak and Dirk Schoonmaker responded to the Bayview Trailhead with the assignment to search to Granite Lake and Dicks Lake. At about 1 pm the team reached Dicks Lake as intermittent snow squalls continued and low cloud cover kept helos on the ground. From there, the team continued to Fontanallis and Middle Velma Lakes. At Middle Velma a a yellow bag of fresh garbage was found hanging in a tree near the trail and the team decided they had to search downhill from there and so headed towards the Rubicon River at Campers Flat. Doug and Sara decided to head out at that point and eventually got stuck in a bad spot below the Eagle Falls Trail, trying to get up to the Bayview Trail. Jeb and Dirk heard about the situation and decided they would head in that direction instead of going all the way to Campers Flat. Doug and Sara did an excellent job of extricating themselves and the teams met up just as they were reaching the Bayview Trailhead at 11 pm, after covering 14.5 miles but finding nothing.

Thursday morning, Steve Twomey, Geoff Quine, Steve Kehler, Troy Corliss, Paul Honeywell and Tony Bochene met at the team garage to travel to the IC located the The Lake Tahoe Golf course. TNSAR was given the assignment to search around the Rubicon River from Campers Flat. An Army Blackhawk helicopter transported the team to Campers Flat on the Rubicon River. 3 team members headed south on the Rubicon, while 2 headed north. After a few hours of searching, a call was received indicating the victim had been located in fine condition and the two teams met back up at Campers Flat to await a Blackhawk ride out.

The Lost Person, had been camped at Lower Velma Lake when the storm arrived, surprising him but not anyone who had watched the weather reports. He decided he would have a difficult time following the trail back to the Eagle Falls due to the snow and having only running shows as footwear. He stayed put comfortably, moving camp once to avoid the wind. He wrote himself a note essentially saying \don't do anything stupid and don't do anything to get hurt.\ On Thursday mid-morning, he got up and hiked up toward the trail and saw the skin track from the searchers the night before and decided to pack up camp and hike out, as he now had a trail. As he headed back toward the trail with his gear, he saw a helicopter drop off some searchers and fly away. He made quick contact with the searchers and was flown out shortly thereafter.

John Lasagna
Mike Beggs
Marty Schoonmaker
Day 1
Doug Read
Dirk Schoonmaker
Jeb Mirczak
Sara Carbonari

Day 2
Steve Twomey
Troy Corliss
Paul Honeywell
Geoff Quine
Steve Kehler
Tony Bochene
Ray O'Brien

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