Twoseeking wrote:I was on the Tonto Rim SAR team on Tuesday morning the 16th. We were the first ones to arrive and first to search on the mountain. Maybe some of the info I have will help some of you. When we got on the ridge between Peeley and Sheep Mtn., we saw evidence consisting of broken twigs and branches and disturbed surface. These were slightly aged but appeared to be much fresher than an April hike would have produced. In fact they appeared fresher than the last rainstorm. None of it was clearly identifiable as human versus animal (no partial boot or shoe prints) but it is very rare for animals to produce all of the disturbances we saw. We got as far as Joe's previous endpoint in April, I will call it point A (.35 mile from summit) and two of us continued on to within .23 mile of the summit, my waypoint 009 (33d 59m 20s, 111d 30m 22s). At my waypoint LAST, about 33d 59m 33s, 111d 30m 18s we saw the last of any physical disturbances. From there on, the brush was very thick but we saw no broken twigs, branches or ground disturbances, although we certainly created a lot of our own on our way in and out.
I tend to believe no one had hiked that part of the ridge for a long time. Two days later another of our teams was taken by helicopter to the summit and hiked down to our furthest point and found two sets of footprints, most likely ours from two days before.
At my waypoint 006, 33d 59m 35s, 111d 30m 11s, I saw disturbances heading downhill to the east. Two of us hiked about 100 yards down but could not find evidence of any path toward the summit, which was our assignment to search toward. Now in retrospect and reading the other blogs, I think it is possible that my waypoint 006 could have been a bailout point for Joe. Where I was looking, was one or two ravines west of where SSK44 is suggesting to look. I don't mean to dissuade anyone from following SSK44's advice, but another possible bailout at my waypoint 006 might be worth looking at. Although unlikely, it is possible that Joe might have tried to go along the north flank toward Sheep summit from somewhere in the area of the LAST, but that area is very dangerous with major dropoffs and loose rock. I would discourage anyone other than well equipped rope climbers to venture in there.
I am going to repost this and add comments.
At the time this was posted, I cross referenced these data points against data provided to me via Hank of Joe's previous routes.
A) I believe the SAR search limit point has a typo (20s North vs 30s North)
B) The "Last sign of physical disturbance" point matched up with the extent of Joe's April trip to this area, allowing for relatively minimal GPS discrepancies.
C) The "signs of trail disturbance headed east downhill" is the major point I wish to address
1) At the time this was written, I observed this point lays directly on Joe's April 2010 hike and his December 2009 hike
2) At the time this was written, I was not aware that EAST from this point is uphill
towards 6910 peak
3) At the time this was written, I observed a drainage originating at this location, however it heads mostly SOUTH
If anyone is able to contact "Twoseeking" could he be asked the following:
As his "signs of trail disturbance heading east downhill"
-Did he mean downhill (south)?
-Did he mean east (uphill)?
-Did he think downhill to the right (as you are heading back towards the TH) was east at that point?
-Did he mean something different?
Please note that a southernly descent down this drainage falls between the two routes done by Brian and other searchers. (600 ft to east and 1600 ft to west)