Sad End to This Cautionary Tale, As Folks Start to Head Back Out Into the Wilds, Pls Be Careful

86scotty

Explorer
Sounds like a good idea. Go onto ”very steep ledge” whilst lost.
Reportedly, the guy is Combat Engineer with recent experience enforcing foreign policy.
Sounds like the military failed teaching him common sense.
That's a bit of a stretch even for armchair quarterbacking. If you haven't seen the location or known their intent you have no idea why or how they ended up there. I've been many places where a very steep ledge (not that steep matters) is where you can get a view to get your bearings, get a cell phone signal, where you can get out in the open to be seen by rescuers, where you can catch a breeze, cool off, etc. I'm sure there was an element of the steep ledge being the end of the road as well, in other words, they couldn't go any further so they stopped there to regroup and perhaps wisely decided to stay put.

It's a tragedy we don't know the specifics of. No need to question his common sense if you weren't in his shoes.
 
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Kmrtnsn

Explorer
That's a bit of a stretch even for armchair quarterbacking. If you haven't seen the location or known their intent you have no idea why or how they ended up there. I've been many places where a very steep ledge (not that steep matters) is where you can get a view to get your bearings, get a cell phone signal, where you can get out in the open to be seen by rescuers, where you can catch a breeze, cool off, etc. I'm sure there was an element of the steep ledge being the end of the road as well, in other words, they couldn't go any further so they stopped there to regroup and perhaps wisely decided to stay put.

It's a tragedy we don't know the specifics of. No need to question his common sense if you weren't in his shoes.
Death Valley and the Mojave is where we play. Yes, I know those roads.
 

Kmrtnsn

Explorer
If they started from Gold Valley Rd near Smith Mountain, then they started ~10 miles from Mormon Point... so they traveled ~8 miles. They were headed the right direction and not that far from a paved road where they could have flagged down some help. The "plan" seems very sensible IMO. 3 days of water and a <1 day hike to get help. I would not sit with the car in a remote area and hope someone arrived before I died... I'd take the hike. High temps were 78-92. Maybe an injury? If so then why didn't the woman continue to the paved road? Were they both injured? The terrain looks rough but not that bad. They were mostly following the drainage, so not lots of up and down.

There’s a topo map on the last page showing the topography two miles from their destination. From the West it’s an easy slot canyon hike, from the East it’s a technical climb then a descent into the canyon requiring ropes.

https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/upload/Sidewinder-and-Willow-Canyons.pdf

“The creek can be accessed from the top end via the 12.5 mile Gold Valley Road, a rather rough track branching off the gravel Greenwater Valley Road, though some sections need a 4WD vehicle. The lower end is much easier to reach by walking 2 miles from the main valley drive, and although the canyon has a number of high dryfalls that can only be passed in the downward direction with the aid of ropes, the west end makes for a nice, easy hike of 3 hours or so, through a short but scenic stretch of narrows.”

 
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Kmrtnsn

Explorer
They can't get a helicopter to them?
As I recall, Inyo County Sheriff’s Department does not have an aviation unit. The park areas have typically relied on U.S. Navy aviation support from either NAS Lemoore or China Lake depending on availability. On steep side mountain rescues using a helicopter usually means inserting a team somewhere above the people being rescued. Terrain approaches, winds, etc. can sometimes mean that’s quite a ways distant.
 

BigDawwg

-[Gettin-it Done]-
Ok then,,,,, Sad Tale for sure, and it appears that they pretty much screwed-up by the numbers, from the get-go,,, and driving on a flat tire until you get a 2nd flat, kind of hard to get my head around that one,,,, and as for leaving the vehicle, NOT GOOD, but to possibly try and get a Cell-Phone Signal,,,,,, the only place I use my cell-phone, or count on a cell-phone signal, is between my house and the grocery store,,,, and yea,,,, that's about all you should really count on, where I'm going with this Rant about cell-phones, is that they very seldom work in any Re-Mote, or even Semi-Remote Areas,,,,, as far as I'm concerned, when I leave the house for any type off trip, Hunting, Fishing, Sight-Seeing, Exploring, Camping,,,, etc......
I'm packing my Sat-Phone, I've been using Iridium for Years now, Currently I've got the 9555, extra Batt., multiple Battery charging Methods as well,,,,, again, don't leave home on any type of Expedition with out a Sat-Phone period.
That's my Story and I'm Sticking to it....... :cool:
BD in Alaska
 

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jhmoore

Active member
Hope we get more details from the survivor over time. This is why I travel with my Garmin InReach reporting my position every 10 minutes to an online map which my family has access to. And I carry at least a week's worth of water. And I wouldn't leave my car. All of that said, if I ever get tested in this way, I sure hope to make the right decisions in the moment...
 
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Lovetheworld

Active member
Sad endint. I don't know any of this terrain/area, but the article says they were 22 miles from where they left a paved road.
Apart from staying with your vehicle (which would be good), couldnt you make such a hike? I mean, it is the road you know, because you came that way. Since it is not at peak temperatures yet, wouldn't it be possible to make that hike with the water they were carrying?
Presumably, that hike wouldve been a lot shorter if they stopped at the first flat tire.
If they made it with a pretty standard car, it probably means thd terrain is fine to hike.
 

Ovrlnd Rd

Adventurer
+10 for having an inReach or similar. At this point in my life the Mrs won't let me do single vehicle trips so always have a backup vehicle but if both happen to crap out for some reason the thought is the inReach can get me out of a mess. It helped on a group trip on the ID BDR when we were in need of welding services in a zero cell area on a weekend. I texted my wife with the inReach, she called around until she found one, then texted me back. It wasn't life or death but was certainly more convenient then taking one of the vehicles, driving to cell coverage, then trying to locate the welder ourselves. In the incident reported here it would have saved a life.
 

AbleGuy

A Son of the Purple Sage
Presumably, that hike wouldve been a lot shorter if they stopped at the first flat tire.
The Suby’s have a pretty cheesy small donut spare... it’s very insubstantial. As a Subaru owner, one of my takeaways from this sad case is, if the road you’re driving on fried your good, stronger regular tire, turn around at that point and carefully, slowly, head back out once you put that crummy little spare tire on the rig.
 

AbleGuy

A Son of the Purple Sage
Two flat tires? I would try driving out with two good tires on the front drive wheels. The other rims would get trashed, but you'd still be rolling, right?
the article says they were 22 miles from where they left a paved road...it is the road you know, because you came that way.
Right. This got me wondering too as we should try to learn from others’ mistakes. So, in a case like this, once you got your second flat and were disabled, wouldn’t it have made more sense to turn around and then slowly try to drive back to a better location where help might be available? Sure, as pointed out, you’d certainly trash your flattened tires and shred the rims they were on, and maybe even damage your fenders some, but you would greatly increase your odds of getting rescued.

You would have to be fearful enough about your safety in that kind of situation to make the tough decision to bite the bullet and knowingly do some very expensive and extensive damage to your car.... and unfortunately, one disadvantage of driving an AWD vehicle like the Subaru is that you’d also likely damage your drive train by driving on the shredded tires....but if your lives possibly/probably depend on it, that’s the better choice right?
 
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