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

TNSAR Search 10/13/2019

4th of July Bowl Body Recovery

Submitted by Dirk Schoonmaker

On Sunday evening at 7 pm TNSAR was called out for a possible body recovery at the base of a cliff near Ellis Peak with high angle rope work needed.

Teams responded to Homewood Ski Area lodge to coordinate. A UTV started up to Ellis Peak, carrying the litter, medical gear and technical rescue equipment. The others started up the Noonchester Mine Road in a Jeep and a Tacoma to get as high on Ellis Ridge as they could before starting the hike to the top. Just as the teams reached Ellis Peak and Noonchester Mine, respectively, the coordinates that CHP helicopter H20 had given when they did a reconnaissance about an hour before were given out and it was apparent that the MP was somewhere in the cliffs above 4th of July Bowl, not at Ellis Peak. These cliffs are the ones first reached on the Ellis Peak Trail soon after leaving Barker Pass trailhead. All teams turned around to rendezvous at Barker Pass.

When everyone had regrouped, it was decided that 6 searchers with most of the gear would go to the top of the cliffs and 2 others would work their way across the bottom of the cliffs looking for signs of the MP.

The two teams arrived in the area of the CHP GPS coordinates at the same time at 9:40 pm and shortly thereafter the body was spotted. He was at the bottom of the cliffs and above a steep 300 scree field, after a long fall. The teams from above worked their way around and down to the site with all the necessary gear. Belay stations were set up and the with 4 people guiding and lifting the litter, it was lowered from the belays to the bottom of the scree field, at which point is was moved to the next drop for belay down another 150 to the point where the UTV could access and carry the body out.

Ken White
John Lasagna
Dave Lade

Dustin Phelan
Dirk Schoonmaker
Russ Viehmann
Troy Corliss
Logan Talbott
Jen Callahan
Paul Honeywell
Andrew Oesterreicher
Ryan Decker
Calvin Mitchell
Ray O'Brien
Tony Sabatella

The goal of TNSAR is to conduct fast and safe rescues, and to help educate the public on winter safety. If you would like to help TNSAR in this cause, please use the following PayPal donate link. Thanks!

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