Jim Lyding wrote:A better option to find something that's not on the trail would be the view from a helicopter. I'm not sure if that's already happened...
Yes, SAR had a helicopter in the early days of the search. I have no idea how many chopper search flights were done, but I know Gabriele spent some time up in the air searching. She mentioned to me that it was not an easy task. Not being able to look straight down
you must look at some angle less than 90 degrees, and as that angle gets smaller any open areas surrounded by vegetation (esp. trees) are quickly blocked from view. So unless something like constant vertical hi-res filming (and someone to watch it all very carefully after the fact) and flying back and forth in a narrow grid pattern, over and over as well as from as many angles as possible, one simply could not say the area had been "searched thoroughly."
Jim Lyding wrote:Has any group done a "sweep" search where a group of people walk through an area only a few feet apart?
By superimposing all the search tracks currently posted on HAZ in one view, simply put, no.
While some very small areas (the Peeley summit?) may very well have been covered that way, probably 99.9% of the search area has not.
Jim Lyding wrote:I know firsthand how difficult the terrain is in the area, but that may be the best way to cover a particular area.
As difficult as it might be, you are correct, the most effective search is conducted in sweeps with as many individuals as possible spaced as closely as practical which, in this terrain is nigh on impossible. But as long as we have a number of people still in this, willing to keep on, just because it's against all odds should not stop us from trying.