Single telemarker lost at Grouse Rock/Ward Creek
TNSAR search 3/3/03

Single telemarker lost at Grouse Rock/ Ward Creek

Chad Oritt left for a solo backcountry ski tour in the Grouse Rock/Twin Peaks area around noon on Monday, March 3rd. The weather was not bad, with gusty winds over the ridges and occasional snow flurries. Evidently during one of these white outs he ended up south of Twin Peaks and dropped into the North fork of Blackwood Canyon. He re- oriented himself and headed back to his vehicle, but was overtaken by darkness.

The Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue Team was paged at 9:30pm. Joe Pace was the coordinator and called to stage at the top of Ward Canyon at 10:15pm. By 10:30pm we had 14 skiers, 4 snowmobiles, and two ICS people.

The snowmobiles had already run the valley up into the bowls below Grouse Rock and Twin Peaks. They reported some tracks that were worth checking. The skiers divided into four teams: One pair to check the reported tracks, one team to traverse below the cliff bands and into the Twin Peaks Bowl, checking for avalanche activity and tracks coming down into the valley. The remaining two teams were to climb the ridge at Grouse Rock and check South to Twin Peaks, and West towards 5-Lakes Creek.

All the teams were into the field by 11:00pm. After climbing for 0.8 miles (480 vertical feet) team 2 made voice contact with Chad at 11:30pm. Chad was given some water, a headlamp and skied back to the command post in about 10 minutes. All other teams recalled, and everyone on the way home by midnight.

This was our first search since January 10th which may explain the excellent turnout.

In addition to the SAR team and Sheriff’s personnel at the Command Post, there were about 8 friends of Chad's, all geared up with snowmobiles and backcountry ski equipment and anxious to help out. These guys appeared to be competent and well equipped, but at 11:00pm, during a search is not the time to be taking on new Search and Rescue members. A note to any of Chad's friends interested in joining the team: Please attend the next team meeting on April 7th, 6:30 pm at the Granlibaken Ski Hut.

Sheriff Dispatch ICS TNSAR truck TNSAR snowmobiles Nordic Team 1 Nordic Team 2 Nordic Team 3
Dan Ingalls Terri Viehman
Marty Schoonmaker
Lisa Swartz
Anne Cahill
Jim Coffey
Jim White
Brian Devore
Ray O’Brien
Russ Viehmann
Jonathan Laine
Paul Honeywell
Bob Wright
Joe Pace
Steve Twomey
Mark Johnson
Glen Poulsen
Peter Sporleder
Peter York
Sara Lagano
Dirk Schoonmaker
John Pang
Mike Kennett