TNSAR Search 07/12/2003

Boarder at Sierra at Tahoe

After El Dorado County exhausted their available searchers, they contacted Placer County for assistance in searching for 18 year old Ryan Stack, a boarder from the Bay Area. He was last seen in the late afternoon by his buddies as they distanced him in the trees at Sierra at Tahoe's West Bowl. He took one more ride up the West Bowl Express chair lift, and made a wrong turn in the restricted visibility of stormy weather. Evidently he then wandered into Sayles Canyon.

A callout for TNSAR's team went out shortly after 11pm, with a meet time of midnight at The Garage. 6 skiers showed up, Bill Healy with the Comm-Van, Ray and Dave to coax the team's new snowcat out on it's maiden search. Our convoy headed down fresh snow-covered roads to SAT; we reported in at the command post, developed our plan, and off we went. The night was clear, calm, full-moon lit, mildly cold, and although sporting a thin base, fresh snow made for an otherwise delightful nighttime tour.

4 skiers were transported up "Sleighride" in the new snowcat (which performed excellently; AND it's more than nice to ride *inside* a snowcat), 2 skiers approached Sayles Canyon from the Camp Sacramento area. After about 15 minutes of walking up roads from Camp Sacramento leading into Sayles Canyon, Ryan returned shouts of his name, at approximately 3:30am. He was ensconced in an outhouse just beyond some cabins. He was cold and wet but in very good condition. His all-too-typical underlayer of cotton long underwear was replaced with more useful synthetic products.

Ryan was quickly whisked away to the ski area base lodge, checked out by ambulance attendants, then ushered into the command post to relate his story.

Meanwhile, higher up on the mountain, 2 skiers skinned back up to the ridge and skied back into the base lodge. The other 2 chanced upon 2 snow makers on snowmobiles and were brought back out by snowmobiles, saving a long hike.

The TNSAR team packed up, and headed out on a subsequent search--a restaurant that might be open at 5am--"South Shore" has 'em. After "Breakfast at Denny's" all searchers were surely home shortly after 7am.

Start to finish it was a smooth operation for the TNSAR team--capable well-trained skiers/searchers, excellent machinery (team truck and snowcat), equipment and gear, and super support members (communication and callout personnel)--did I leave anyone out?

As an aside...

I for my part must say it's great to have the support of sheriff's deputy Fred Carey, who "paves the way" for the team. His lighthearted but sincere backing smoothes our insertion into a scenario. His respect for and trust in the TNSAR team's ability is evident; he makes ready, and then lets us do our part of the job.

Sheriff Dispatch Comm Van Truck Skiers Snow Cats Snowmobiles
Fred Carey Terri Viehmann
Marilyn Stack
Laura Read
Lisa Swartz
Kelli Twomey
Jackie Thomas
Bill Healy Jim Reinstra
Steve Twomey
Russ Viehmann
Mike Kennett
Peter Sporleder
Ron Driller
Ray O'Brien
Dave Gleske