Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

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Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by Dschur » Nov 16 2010 2:04 pm

Hike Arizona urges anyone interested in searching to post or join an event.

If you go out, please track your hike on a GPS and post it for the benefit of future searches. Simply post it upon return. (if you need help ask the webmaster) Hike Arizona will see that it gets linked to a master map. If you have multiple variations in your group, please post all tracks. As more info is posted the map will evolve and the overlaps will be removed.

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Crews looking for missing hiker
By Alexis Bechman

November 16, 2010
Tonto Rim Search and Rescue volunteers and Gila County Sheriff officers are currently searching for an overdue hiker.

The man, whose name has not been released, was last heard from nine days ago and is believed to be hiking near the Mt. Peeley trail or Sheep Mountain, off Forest Road 201, southwest of Payson.

The Gila County Sheriff’s Office first received a call that the man was overdue Monday, Nov. 15 about 9 p.m.

“The hiker has not been heard from since Nov. 7 and frequents the Mazatzal Mountain Wilderness area,” according to a press release from the sheriff’s office.

The missing hiker’s vehicle was located at the Mt. Peeley trailhead.



Six TRSAR volunteers are currently searching the ground. Earlier Tuesday, a Department of Public Safety Ranger helicopter did an aerial search of the area, but found no signs of the man
Dawn
--On the loose to climb a mountain, on the loose where I am free. On the loose to live my life the way I think my life should be...For we only have a moment and a whole world yet to see...I'll be looking for tomorrow on the loose. ---unknown--

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by sundevilstormin » Dec 02 2010 8:55 pm

oldguy wrote:An idea I had to search for Joe is to get high resolution pictures of the whole area. This should not be with a point-and-shoot camera but
rather a good quality SLR with a big sensor. It may take several flights to get optimal light for various areas; I think you would want
minimal shadows. The pictures would be big files so probably would have to be shared on DVDs but they could be shared with dozens
of people and all could zoom in and at least search the areas not covered by brush or trees. This could be a much more thorough search
than that done from an aircraft, even a slow moving helicopter. Perhaps this has already been done with no success.
I ping'ed a pilot photographer acquaintance on the possibility of a photographic overflight with my full-frame 5DM2... I could then stitch the files...

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by easytec » Dec 02 2010 11:06 pm

Did Joe say anything about losing anything recently? I was thinking of hiking the Davey Gowan trail on Sunday because I am thinking that he may have lost something on his Nov. 1st trip and was going back to get it.

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by Grasshopper » Dec 03 2010 6:41 am

@easytec
GPSjoe and I hiked and taped the Davey Gown TR48 on 11/1 and he did not lose anything on our hike, but to my knowledge this trail starting from its FR201 TH down to the Gowan Camp area at Deer Creek TR45 has not been searched since his missing on Mon-11/8.
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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by Sredfield » Dec 03 2010 9:16 am

SuperstitionGuy wrote:If he was coming down after dark he may have crossed the trail without knowing it and continued on down to where he is today[/u]. While searching for a missing Boy Scout on the Terrapin Trail one night in the rain I had one section of the trail that I missed three times and I knew that trail very very well. It can happen to the best of us in adverse conditions. Therefore do we need to search below a trail or trails that we think he may have crossed on the way down from where ever?

Just a thought from an old retired SAR guy.....
Extending that thought by another old retired guy, and admmittedly, maybe grasping at straws but:

I haven't seen the clue from the dogs that alerted run to ground yet. I tried to get the whereabouts confirmed but haven't been successful yet. The easy assumption is that it was on the Mazatazal Divide trail. However, there are no steep drop offs to the left at ~ two miles in as one goes into the mountains on this trail. There are however some drop offs to the left on the Saddle Mtn (AZT) trail, although not as dramatic as on the MDT. And, there are portions of that trail that are little more than a small gully that you walk in, which would easily be missed in the dark if Joe was bailing out off the Sheep Mtn divide route.
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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by cdomin » Dec 03 2010 11:13 am

I have an uneducated question that caused me to do a little research. Would a medium level wind even cause a hiker to approach something one way or another? I pulled the historical data for Payson that day:

http://www.wunderground.com/history/air ... me=Arizona

I was not able to find historical data for a more specific location that is the 17 miles SSW of Payson near the Peeley TH so feel free to locate this detailed level of historical info if you can.

I am imagining that the wind speeds were even more significant on the mountain versus in Payson. I would also guess that the prevailing direction (SSW) would be the same only 17 miles away. The direction was SSE in Mesa that day and nowhere near as high as in Payson so the predominant south flow direction is likely.

As you will see from the link, it was blowing pretty good all day in Payson. From ~10 AM until 4 PM, the speed was around 20 MPH the whole time with gusts from 9 AM to 7 PM at 20 – 33 MPH with noon to 4 PM experiencing 30 MPH ers. That seems like a lot of wind to me then thinking how bad it might have been up top. By 10 PM, it shifted and calmed down to the WNW and went calm overnight. The 9th did not look too bad in Payson staying around 10 MPH all day with sporadic gusts around 16-17 MPH.

If it was bad or very annoying up there, might one choose to try to stay on the lee side of the ridge / mountain etc…? In this case that would be the north side....I think?? Or, if one needed to find shelter due to injury or unplanned overnight trek / bail, would one choose to stay alee if possible? I realize I am assuming a choice was involved and that a search for water was not on etc…, but I’m thinking from the perspective that my route in or out would favor a lee area if possible.

Seems like less than ideal conditions to try to summit a peak that has been elusive in the past for other reasons…noting again that I am uneducated about on mountain thought processes.

I actually think they are looking on the north side today as it is.

I want to thank everyone again for all their support, efforts, and thoughts during this challenging time. I continue to be absolutely amazed at your insights, theories, planning, and unreal amount of hard laborious work trudging through that terrain. Thank you ALL again.

Christian A. Domin (GPSJoe’s son)

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by big_load » Dec 03 2010 11:41 am

cdomin wrote: From ~10 AM until 4 PM, the speed was around 20 MPH the whole time with gusts from 9 AM to 7 PM at 20 – 33 MPH with noon to 4 PM experiencing 30 MPH ers.
I find that degree of wind to range from tolerable to somewhat bothersome, depending on the terrain, my fatigue level, mood, and other factors. Under the right circumstances, I might choose to follow the lee side of a ridge if the footing and route finding were no worse, but that's a big "if". However, for an unplanned overnight, wind protection would be a priority for me.

The details of Joe's preparedness that arose in the last few pages are quite impressive. Good luck and safe travels to all the searchers.

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by Tough_Boots » Dec 03 2010 12:09 pm

Sredfield wrote:I tried to get the whereabouts confirmed but haven't been successful yet.
RedRoxxx spent some time in the described areas, she might have some input or can tell you exactly where she searched. And from my experience, a lot of the Mazatzal trails are pretty close to some major drop offs-- just check out the popular Barnhardt Trail.

Also on another note, I spent some time at REI this morning adding some safety and emergency supplies to my pack since I've been thinking about these types of things like everyone else. It sounds from what SunHiker and Grasshopper have been saying that Joe was extremely well prepared. One of the things I've now added to my pack is a pack of HeatSheets which now seem like something I should have obviously had all along. Did Joe carry these? I know that on his previous bail-out, he hiked all night to keep warm so does that mean he didn't carry emergency cold weather supplies like this or was he just stubborn? They are bright orange on the outside and would also allow someone to be visable from the air even in that terrain. If he did carry something like this, then it seems like we need to look at some areas where most likely a fall could knock someone out and prevent use-- steep rocky stuff.
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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by nonot » Dec 03 2010 1:12 pm

While I don't generally care too much about wind direction, I can tell you one thing in general - ridges are windy, gullys are not. If you are very cold, you start contemplating ideas like getting off an easy ridgeline route into a nasty brushy gully, so that you don't freeze. Generally, the lack of height of more than 6 ft or so and airy substance of manzanita doesn't effectively make them block the wind effectively, although if you hunkered down under a huge one, it would help somewhat.

If there are trees, in many cases getting underneath a solid canopy helps with the winds. There are some decent sized pines on the north side of the mountain...I think.
cdomin wrote:I have an uneducated question that caused me to do a little research. Would a medium level wind even cause a hiker to approach something one way or another? I pulled the historical data for Payson that day:

http://www.wunderground.com/history/air ... me=Arizona

I was not able to find historical data for a more specific location that is the 17 miles SSW of Payson near the Peeley TH so feel free to locate this detailed level of historical info if you can.

I am imagining that the wind speeds were even more significant on the mountain versus in Payson. I would also guess that the prevailing direction (SSW) would be the same only 17 miles away. The direction was SSE in Mesa that day and nowhere near as high as in Payson so the predominant south flow direction is likely.

As you will see from the link, it was blowing pretty good all day in Payson. From ~10 AM until 4 PM, the speed was around 20 MPH the whole time with gusts from 9 AM to 7 PM at 20 – 33 MPH with noon to 4 PM experiencing 30 MPH ers. That seems like a lot of wind to me then thinking how bad it might have been up top. By 10 PM, it shifted and calmed down to the WNW and went calm overnight. The 9th did not look too bad in Payson staying around 10 MPH all day with sporadic gusts around 16-17 MPH.

If it was bad or very annoying up there, might one choose to try to stay on the lee side of the ridge / mountain etc…? In this case that would be the north side....I think?? Or, if one needed to find shelter due to injury or unplanned overnight trek / bail, would one choose to stay alee if possible? I realize I am assuming a choice was involved and that a search for water was not on etc…, but I’m thinking from the perspective that my route in or out would favor a lee area if possible.

Seems like less than ideal conditions to try to summit a peak that has been elusive in the past for other reasons…noting again that I am uneducated about on mountain thought processes.

I actually think they are looking on the north side today as it is.

I want to thank everyone again for all their support, efforts, and thoughts during this challenging time. I continue to be absolutely amazed at your insights, theories, planning, and unreal amount of hard laborious work trudging through that terrain. Thank you ALL again.

Christian A. Domin (GPSJoe’s son)
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by Jeffshadows » Dec 03 2010 1:40 pm

I get out of wind as quickly as I can, myself; even if it means going off-trail and overland.
AD-AVGVSTA-PER-ANGVSTA

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by Jeffshadows » Dec 03 2010 1:41 pm

BTW - Great work, guys!! : app :
AD-AVGVSTA-PER-ANGVSTA

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by Grasshopper » Dec 03 2010 5:08 pm

jeffmacewen wrote:I get out of wind as quickly as I can, myself; even if it means going off-trail and overland.
big_load wrote: for an unplanned overnight, wind protection would be a priority for me.
cdomin wrote:If it was bad or very annoying up there, might one choose to try to stay on the lee side of the ridge / mountain etc…? In this case that would be the north side....I think?? Or, if one needed to find shelter due to injury or unplanned overnight trek / bail, would one choose to stay alee if possible?
nonot wrote:I can tell you one thing in general - ridges are windy, gullys are not. If you are very cold, you start contemplating ideas like getting off an easy ridgeline route into a nasty brushy gully, so that you don't freeze.
nonot wrote:in many cases getting underneath a solid canopy helps with the winds. There are some decent sized pines on the north side of the mountain...I think. SEE REF PIC that does confirms this--> http://www.hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=168361
cdomin wrote:I actually think they are looking on the north side today as it is.
Christian thanks for the historical weather data from Payson for Mon-11/8. Based on our experienced hiker thoughts above, if wind/cold was a possible factor that may have pushed Joe on 11/8 for another possible bailout attempt to favor the less windy lee side, north side? then our 6 person search efforts today-12/3 via Joe's now well know 11/5 "Last Chance" route will be very justified. We now await later this evenings trip logs and forum comments from all who searched this route today to hopefully be able to gain Sheep Mtn Summit via in from the MDT23 and up to the summit from the NW side.. http://www.hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=168361 (I did not realize until Angela recently posted this pic from her search efforts on Sheep Creek TR, how huge an area and how rugged this west side of Sheep Mountain is and how time consuming it could be to cover it all adequately for search).
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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by BobP » Dec 03 2010 5:37 pm

The approach from the North is longer and there are rocks to navigate...Very steep drop offs. Some game trails at times. Liz stayed lower than Joe and I. I think her trek was the hardest. It was a lot harder than just following the ridgeline.
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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by Vaporman » Dec 03 2010 6:19 pm

Hmm, hopefully Joe didn't try that northern route then... Thanks again for your guys' many efforts! : app :
Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by nonot » Dec 03 2010 7:00 pm

@rljamy, juliachaos, other Friday searchers:
:thanx: :thanx:
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by Thoreau » Dec 03 2010 7:42 pm

Anyone gonna be out there tomorrow? Planning to get back in the game tomorrow morning along with cabel. Should be monitoring radio channel 15 again as well.

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by nonot » Dec 03 2010 8:12 pm

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)
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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by Grasshopper » Dec 03 2010 9:43 pm

@nonot
Steve, maybe if you just copy and paste twoseeking's original post along with your comments and questions into a PM, maybe he can respond directly to your PM. I do believe he is active on this forum thread from time to time.. Thx
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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by sam_hikes » Dec 03 2010 10:40 pm

I went to/by waypoint 006 last Sat on my way to the Sheep Mtn summit and did not see anything usual but then I'm not SAR.

If the SAR team(s) have followup items then wouldn't it be best if SAR person(s) were to re-visit those spots.

Just my 2 cents as a hiker and not a tracker.

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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by nonot » Dec 04 2010 12:39 am

AFAIK SAR is not sending people out there anymore. Also, considering the person logged in, made a post or two and left, I doubt a PM sitting in an inbox that will never be read will do any good. I'll give it a shot, but if someone knows a better way to contact this individual, please let them know of my question.
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Re: Missing hiker in Mazatzals - gpsjoe (Joe Domin)

Post by MtnResq30 » Dec 04 2010 5:49 am

Regarding the possible tracks found by TRSAR on their second day in, keep in mind that Mountain Rescue inserted some teams at the summit of Sheep Mountain on the first day and they worked their way down the most likely egress paths. It is likely that these disturbances were from their movement down the hill.
Also, I have talked with some other people who have hiked Peeley and Sheep Mtn. Although not as popular as some of the other destinations in the Mazatzals, they see traffic almost every weekend.
However, as you all have found, the difference between a few meters is considerable with regards to terrain.
Good luck in your continued efforts

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