TNSAR Search 10/06/2006

Lost trail runner at Twin Peaks

Two trail runners made a plan where one (the victim) would leave his car at Barker Pass and run the PCT to Twin Peaks and the other (his wife and also the reporting party) would leave her car at 64 acres and run the Tahoe Rim Trail to Twin Peaks. They would meet there, and then each descend to the other's car. The last that was heard from the 29 year old victim was when he called the RP from the bottom of Barker Pass road to let her know that the gate was locked and that he would leave the car there and would have to hike 7.5 miles up to where he could get on the PCT/TRT. He was wearing shorts, a Tshirt and light trail running shoes and had a map of the TRT downloaded off the internet.
The RP reported a missing person at about 4:30 in the afternoon when she had not heard from the victim. She had run up the TRT to the snowline, where she had turned back and then run down the west shore to get the car at Barker Pass Road. She left the car other car at 64 acres, figuring that the victim would finish his run despite the snow.
TNSAR was dispatched at about 5:30 pm and met at the bottom of Barker Pass Road. Two helicopters had been in the air for an hour and not seen anything. One team went up the paved Barker Pass Road to Barker Pass, one team went up the dirt Lost Breakfast Hill Road to Parker Pass and one team went up the TRT from Ward Canyon toward the Stanford Rock trail junction. The only team to find anything that was a possible set of footprints on the way up was the Lost Breakfast Hill Road team, but they were hard to follow and not conclusive evidence. The intermittent snowline was at about 7500 but there were areas where snow covered the roads at 6900. When teams reached Barker Pass at about 8:30 they found possible footprints but were unable to follow them. The PCT was clear in spots and under 10 of snow in spots, without knowing its route the victim would not have been able to follow it.
Teams started searching west from Barker Pass along the logging roads and teams started along the PCT towards Twin Peaks without finding more footprints. At about 9:30 a Fallon Naval Air Station helicopter arrived on scene with a crew of 5 and night vision goggles and started searching Blackwood Canyon from the air. At about 11:30 a team reached Twin Peaks and found the peak register with the last entry being 4/30/06. The team from Ward Canyon had found no signs all the way to The Stanford Rock junction and returned.
At about midnight the Fallon helicopter had two crew members report that they saw a person in the woods about half a mile north of the command post, one crew member saying the victim was sitting, one saying lying down, and both reporting no motion. The helicopter dropped glow sticks in that area but could not land and could not repeat the sighting. A team moved into the area but were unable to find anything. This area became the focus of search activities for the remainder of the search.
By 3:00 am all teams except those searching the possible sighting were out of the field. The search resumed in the morning with a CHP helicopter and the Navy helicopter and ground teams again concentrating near the command post. At about noon a call was received at the command post that the victim had reached the ranger station at Hell Hole Reservoir, 10 miles to the west on the far side of Desolation Wilderness, an incredible cross country hike for anyone, much less a person in shorts and running shoes. He had been picked up from shore by a fisherman and ferried across the lake. The Navy helicopter was dispatched to pick him up, tired but unhurt.

Sheriff Dispatch Comm Van Truck Skiers Snow Cats Snowmobiles Other
Sage Barraso
Steve Park
Dave Hunt
Jackie Thomas
Dirk Schoonmaker
Colleen Pace
Dee Dee Driller
Bill Healy
Cathy Chilcote
John Chilcote
Pam Le Francois
Kelley Claire
Russ Viehmann
Mike Kennett
Mark Johnson
Jeff Devries
Peter York
Scott Baumgartner
David Hopp
Rick Schnorr
Lance Frautschi
Ray O'Brien
Mike Le Francois
Ron Driller
Dirk Schoonmaker
Brian DeVore

Scoop Remenih
Jimmy Smith
Eldorado County SAR
Fallon Naval Air Station helicopter
CHP helicopter
Medical helicopter- Careflight or Calstar